How Maria Popova starts a blog post.

Posted on Sep 14, 2018

I noticed something about Brain Picking’s blog posts that made me investigate. It was the curious way Maria chose to start her post. By splitting a quote in two and referencing the writer in the middle. > “The most regretful people on earth,” Mary Oliver wrote in her beautiful reflection on the central commitment of the creative life, “are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.” - Walt Witman on Creativity

It’s a great way to kick of some writing as it creates an “open loop” where you want to know the answer to the end of the quote. I wondered if she does this all the time as I recognised the style, and sure enough I found a post from a few days before with the same style.

“Everything can be taken from a man,” Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl wrote in his timeless treatise on the human search for meaning, “but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” - Toni Morrison on the Deepest Meaning of Freedom

However, it is not the only way she kicks of a post.

The pioneering naturalist John Muir held the poetic conviction that when we look closely at any aspect of our world, “the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.” - Japanese Artist Ryota Kajita’s Otherworldly Photographs of Ice Formation in Alaska

Here she starts with the description and places the quote in full. The key difference, it’s a shorter quote.

Regardless Maria certainly seems to like her quotes to kick off her posts.