Although I often agree with Don Gale's columns, I take issue with his opinion about writers using others' quotes in their own speeches and writing (Aug. 2). In fact, Gale's opening paragraph states that although most writers and speakers use them, he avoids them, though he's written millions of words.

This revelation seems to be just the opposite of the conclusions I've drawn as I have involved myself in a study of the late LDS Church President David O. McKay's wide use of quotations in his talks. In fact, it is often these quotations that I remember from my youth. That is not to say I do not remember his personal messages and example, but the quotations are often the catalysts that stir my memory of certain subjects that were dear to him.

At first I wondered if President McKay's wide use of quotations might be a show-off tactic because they alerted the listener to how well-read he was. But I have concluded that his use of quotations shows a great humility. Surely someone as intelligent as he could have come up with similar good quotes of his own — and he often did — but it seemed that, like Emily Dickinson, he " ... lift(ed) his hat when he (saw things well-said) sitting prince-like among their peers on the page."

President McKay often quoted the 13th Article of Faith. Using Gale's logic, should we assume that because he did not use the other 12 Articles (and some of them he did not quote at all) he had not read and was not familiar with the whole text?

And what if he did not read all the works of J. E. McCulloch and yet quoted what became a mantra for the church: "No success in life can compensate for failure in the home"? Does that lessen in any way the powerful message of that idea?

It would be interesting and informative to know what prompted Gale's article on this subject. I agree that "technology makes it easy to overuse, abuse and misuse words of others." But, as a person who collects quotations in notebooks, as did President McKay, I do so because I like to find a line or paragraph that is well thought out, said succinctly and better than I might be able to say it myself. Henry David Thoreau said, "We meet for three meals, three times a day and give one another a taste of our musty cheese." That is why it is refreshing to read thoughtful phrases and ideas of great minds that are not heard in the ordinary speech we share with our co-workers and peers.

By starting off with one of those little bricks Gale mentions — or adding it among our own thoughts and ideas — it seems to me we can build our own architectures with words well-said and enjoy the best of both worlds.


Marilyn Bushman-Carlton, local poet and author, lives in Draper.