The end of wisdom is to dream high enough not to lose the dream in the seeking of it.
When ideas come, I write them; when they don’t come, I don’t.
Maybe the only thing worse than having to give gratitude constantly is having to accept it.
People need trouble—a little frustration to sharpen the spirit on, toughen it. Artists do; I don’t mean you need to live in a rat hole or gutter, but you have to learn fortitude, endurance. Only vegetables are happy.
Topics: Difficulty, Trouble
All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection. So I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible.
Topics: Dreams, Perfection, Failure, Failures, Possibilities, Mistakes
The writer’s only responsibility is to his art. He will be completely ruthless if he is a good one. He has a dream. Everything goes by the board: honor, pride, decency, security, happiness, all, to get the book written. If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the “Ode on a Grecian Urn” is worth any number of old ladies.
Topics: Writers, Writing, Authors & Writing
The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life. Since man is mortal, the only immortality possible for him is to leave something behind him that is immortal since it will always move. This is the artist’s way of scribbling “Kilroy was here” on the wall of the final and irrevocable oblivion through which he must someday pass.
No one is without Christianity, if we agree on what we mean by that word. It is every individual’s individual code of behavior by means of which he makes himself a better human being than his nature wants to be, if he followed his nature only. Whatever its symbol—cross or crescent or whatever—that symbol is man’s reminder of his duty inside the human race.
Topics: Christians, Christianity
It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking.
Topics: Mankind, Man
You should approach Joyce’s Ulysses as the illiterate Baptist preacher approaches the Old Testament: with faith.
If we Americans are to survive it will have to be because we choose and elect and defend to be first of all Americans; to present to the world one homogeneous and unbroken front, whether of white Americans or black ones or purple or blue or green. If we in America have reached that point in our desperate culture when we must murder children, no matter for what reason or what color, we don’t deserve to survive, and probably won t.
The great weight of the ship may indeed prevent her from acquiring her greatest velocity; but when she has attained it, she will advance by her own intrinsic motion, without gaining any new degree of velocity, or lessening what she has acquired.
The sacred lamp of day
Now dipt in western clouds his parting day.
I have found that the greatest help in meeting any problem with decency and self-respect and whatever courage is demanded, is to know where you yourself stand. That is, to have in words what you believe and are acting from.
A writer needs three things: experience, observation, and imagination—any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.
Topics: Art, Writers, Authors & Writing
A mule will labor ten years willingly and patiently for you, for the privilege of kicking you once.
Be scared. You cant help that. But don’t be afraid. Aint nothing in the woods going to hurt you unless you corner it, or it smells that you are afraid. A bear or a deer, too, has got to be scared of a coward the same as a brave man has got to be.
I believe that man will not merely endure; he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among the creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of kindness and compassion.
Topics: Kindness, Optimism
Time is a fluid condition which has no existence except in the momentary avatars of individual people.
Topics: Time Management
Through the fence, between the curling flower spaces, I could see them hitting. They were coming toward where the flag was and I went along the fence. Luster was hunting in the grass by the flower tree.
Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.
Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all.
A writer is congenitally unable to tell the truth and that is why we call what he writes fiction.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Saul Bellow Canadian-born American Novelist
- Philip Roth American Novelist, Short-story Writer
- Bernard Malamud American Novelist
- John Steinbeck American Novelist
- Toni Morrison American Novelist
- Katherine Anne Porter American Writer
- Joyce Carol Oates American Novelist
- William Styron American Novelist
- Pearl S. Buck American Novelist
- Nelson Algren American Novelist