it is to show the various meanings and imperfections of words when we
have nothing else but words to do it with.
A living language
is like a man suffering incessantly from small haemorrhages, and what
it needs above all else is constant transactions of new blood from other
tongues. The day the gates go up, that day it begins to die.
like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as the headlights,
but you make the whole trip that way.
some things so serious you have to laugh at them.
The sun, with
all those planets revolving around it and dependent upon it, can still
ripen a bunch of grapes as it if had nothing else in the universe to
chameleons, which reflect the colour of their environment.
bienvenue, welcome, c'mon in...
side also has a reverse side.
The only gift
is giving to the poor; / All else is exchange.
is damned hard writing.
I think we're alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we're not.
In either case, the idea is quite staggering.
We allow our
ignorance to prevail upon us and make us think we can survive alone,
alone in patches, alone in groups, alone in races, even alone in genders.
I fear death? If I am, death is not. If death is, I am not. Why
If the gods
listened to the prayers of men, all humankind would quickly
is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled.
trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us.
We are not the only experiment.
The poet judges
not as a judge judges but as the sun falling around a
of a man is to pursue everything that flies from him, and to
times when we must sink to the bottom of our misery to understand truth,
just as we must descend to the bottom of a well to see the stars in
I have suffered
from being misunderstood, but I would have suffered a hell of a lot
more if I had been understood.
a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it.
What you are
thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary.
moderation of today will be the least of human things tomorrow. At the
time of the Spanish Inquisition, the opinion of good sense and of the
good medium was certainly that people ought not to burn too large a
number of heretics; extreme and unreasonable opinion obviously demanded
that they should burn none at all.
is the only device for combining solitude with good company.
And the day
came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful
than the risk it took to blossom.
Art is a house
that tries to be haunted.
the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something
make you feel inferior without your permission.
Not that the
story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.
Do not write
merely to be understood, write so that you cannot possibly be misunderstood.
in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft.
greatest fear is to appear, as a result of revision, less than brilliant.
The good editor convinces authors that without revision their genius
will be obscured.
between the right word and the nearly right word is the same as that
between lightning and the lightning bug.
I am sorry
for the length of my letter, but I had not the time to write a short
can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing.
who wrote would put himself in his reader's shoes, at least for a time,
then we'd all write a little better and walk a little easier. Becoming
the reader is the essence of becoming a writer.
When I say
writing, O, believe me, it is rewriting that I have chiefly in mind.
about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia.
a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he
takes up a pen to write.
better be prepared for the jump into hyperspace. It's unpleasantly like
is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account
be allowed to do the job.
There is a
theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe
is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced
by something even more bizarrely inexplicable.
are not paranoids (Proverb 5) because they're paranoid, but because
they keep putting themselves, fucking idiots, deliberately into paranoid
can you diagnose someone with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and then
act like I had some choice about barging in here right now?
your honor! This trial is a travesty. It's a travesty of a mockery of
a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham.
I wash born
here, an I wash raished here, and dad gum it, I am gonna die here, an
no sidewindin bushwackin, hornswaglin, cracker croaker is gonna rouin
me bishen cutter.
- 4 / 17ths of a Haiku.
race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.
By doing just
a little every day, I can gradually let the task completely overwhelm
The last thing
one knows in constructing a work is what to put first.
have everything... where would you put it?
says "theoretically," they really mean "not really."
I never let
my schooling get in the way of my education.
A word is
not a crystal, transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living
thought, and may vary greatly in color and content according to the
circumstances and the time in which it is used.
It was cold
out there, bitter, biting, cutting, piercing, hyperborean, marmoreal
cold, and there were all these Minnesotans running around outdoors,
happy as lambs in the spring.
We don't just
borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down
alleyways to beat them unconscious and riffle their pockets for new
No man means
all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery
and thought is viscous.
For your born
writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon
the right word.
of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.
us through the desert to the one place in the Middle East where there
is no oil.
I think every
woman is entitled to a middle husband she can forget.
seduction are the essence of sexuality. It's part of the sizzle.
Do not blame
God for having created the tiger, but thank him for not having given
He who asks
is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.
If you believe
everything you read, better not read.
young and they will blossom
is near but the road is icy; the bar is far away but I'll walk carefully.
I notice that
you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That
is the way to write English--it is the modern way and the best way.
Stick to it; don't let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When
you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don't mean utterly, but kill
most of them--then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they
are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An
adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon
a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice.
merely indicate where the smiles have been.
got no salary for the first six months--partly on account of the weather
and partly because he was learning navigation.
is an author's most valuable asset; experience is the thing that puts
the muscle and the breath and the warm blood into the book he writes.
The time to
begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction.
By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is
that you really want to say.
It is no use
to keep private information which you can't show off.
To get the
right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the
diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single
sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself...Anybody
can have ideas--the difficulty is to express them without squandering
a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering
I wrote a
few children's books... Not on purpose.
I was going
70 miles an hour and got stopped by a cop who said, "Do you know
the speed limit is 55 miles per hour?" "Yes, officer, but
I wasn't going to be out that long..."
When I was
a little kid we had a sand box. It was a quicksand box. I was an only
be able to fake orgasms, but men can fake whole relationships.
a reason to have sex.... Men just need a place.
On the one
hand, we'll never experience childbirth. On the other hand, we can open
all our own jars.
I put instant
coffee in a microwave oven and almost went back in time.
it is to do nothing, and then rest afterwards.
is a device for turning coffee into theorems.
to turn this team around 360 degrees.
for our sins. Dare we make his martyrdom meaningless by not committing
it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps.
I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should
live next door and just visit now and then.
any enterprise that requires new clothing.
When I got
to the top of Everest, I was tired.
Let us endeavour
to live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.
is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks
the people don't want war ...that is understood. But, after all, it
is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always
a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a
fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.
Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of
the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are
being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and
exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.
your pains and heartbreaks are unprecedented in the history of the world,
but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that
tormented me were the very things that connected me with all the people
who were alive, or who have ever been alive.
I hate mankind,
for I think myself one of the best of them, and I know
that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired
It is not
only true that the language we use puts words in our mouths; it also
puts notions in our heads.
In all of
us, even in good men, there is a lawless wild-beast nature, which peers
out in sleep.
10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it's only
a hundred billion. It's less than the national deficit! We used to call
them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers.
Works of imagination
should be written in very plain language; the more purely imaginative
they are the more necessary it is to be plain.
The gem cannot
be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.
delight grow on one stalk.
When one tugs
at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the
A man's ethical
behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social
ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor
way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward
simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.
Only two things
are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about
I know not
with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will
be fought with sticks and stones.
is more important than knowledge.
He who joyfully
marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He
has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord
would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away
with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country
stance, how violently I hate all this, how despicable an ignorable war
is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action!
It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but
an act of murder.
hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to
side with the powerful, not to be neutral.
Him that I
love, I wish to be free -- even from me.
An ounce of
mother is worth a pound of clergy.
had often said, When you choose an action, you choose the consequences
of that action. She had emphasized the corollary of this axiom even
more vehemently: when you desired a consequence you had damned well
better take the action that would create it.
the anguish of your soul. Nobody is destined only to happiness or to
pain. The wheel of life takes one up and down by turn.
God, to me,
it seems, is a verb, not a noun, proper or improper.
writer by writing. It is a yoga.