Time is a fluid condition which has no existence except in the momentary avatars of individual people.
Topics: Time Management
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: Writing, Writers, Authors & Writing
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
The artist is of no importance. Only what he creates is important, since there is nothing new to be said. Shakespeare, Balzac, Homer have all written about the same things, and if they had lived one thousand or two thousand years longer, the publishers wouldn’t have needed anyone since.
Topics: Literature, Books, Art
One of the saddest things is that the only thing that a man can do for eight hours a day, day after day, is work. You can’t eat eight hours a day nor drink for eight hours a day nor make love for eight hours—all you can do for eight hours is work. Which is the reason why man makes himself and everybody else so miserable and unhappy.
When ideas come, I write them; when they don’t come, I don’t.
A man’s moral conscience is the curse he had to accept from the gods in order to gain from them the right to dream.
A gentleman can live through anything.
A mule will labor ten years willingly and patiently for you, for the privilege of kicking you once.
Maybe it was because like not only finds like; it can’t even escape from being found by its like. Even when it’s just like in one thing, because even them two with the same like was different.
I learned little save that most of the deeds, good and bad both, incurring opprobrium or plaudits or reward either, within the scope of man’s abilities, had already been performed and were to be learned about only from books.
There is something about jumping a horse over a fence, something that makes you feel good. Perhaps it’s the risk, the gamble. In any event it’s a thing I need.
To live anywhere in the world today and be against equality because of race or color is like living in Alaska and being against snow.
People between 20 and 40 are not sympathetic. The child has the capacity to do but it can’t know. It only knows when it is no longer able to do-after 40. Between 20 and 40 the will of the child to do gets stronger, more dangerous, but it has not yet begun to know yet. Since his capacity to do is forced into channels of evil through environment and pressures, man is strong before he is moral. The world’s anguish is caused by people between 20 and 40.
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.
Do not talk about disgrace from a thing being known, when the disgrace is, that the thing should exist.
Facts and truth really don’t have much to do with each other.
If I were reincarnated, I’d want to come back a buzzard. Nothing hates him or envies him or wants him or needs him. He is never bothered or in danger, and he can eat anything.
When my horse is running good, I don’t stop to give him sugar.
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.
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.
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, Mistakes, Possibilities
Fear is the most damnable, damaging thing to human personality in the whole world.
I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work—a life’s work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. So this award is only mine in trust. It will not be difficult to find a dedication for the money part of it commensurate with the purpose and significance of its origin. But I would like to do the same with the acclaim too, by using this moment as a pinnacle from which I might be listened to by the young men and women already dedicated to the same anguish and travail, among whom is already that one who will some day stand here where I am standing.
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.
A writer is congenitally unable to tell the truth and that is why we call what he writes fiction.
The last sound on the worthless earth will be two human beings trying to launch a homemade spaceship and already quarreling about where they are going next.
Topics: Quarrels, Fighting, Fight
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: Trouble, Difficulty
The salvation of the world is in man’s suffering.
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
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