So difficult it is to show the various meanings and imperfections of words when we have nothing else but words to do it with.
-John Locke, philosopher (1632-1704)

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.
-H.L. Mencken, writer, editor, and critic (1880-1956) [The American Language]

Writing is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as the headlights, but you make the whole trip that way.
-E.L. Doctorow, writer (1931- )

There are some things so serious you have to laugh at them.
-Niels Henrik David Bohr (1885-1962), Danish chemist, physicist

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 do.
-Galileo Galilei, physicist and astronomer (1564-1642)

Words are chameleons, which reflect the colour of their environment.
-Learned Hand, jurist (1872-1961)

Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome, c'mon in...
-Madeleine Kahn as Lily Von Shtupp
in Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles

The reverse side also has a reverse side.
-Japanese proverb

The only gift is giving to the poor; / All else is exchange.
-Thiruvalluvar, poet (c. 30 BCE)

Easy reading is damned hard writing.
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, writer (1804-1864)

Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we're not. In either case, the idea is quite staggering.
-Arthur C Clarke, science fiction writer (1917- )

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.
-Maya Angelou, poet (1928- )

Why should I fear death? If I am, death is not. If death is, I am not. Why
should I fear that which cannot exist when I do?

-Epicurus, philosopher (c.341-270 BCE)

If the gods listened to the prayers of men, all humankind would quickly
perish since they constantly pray for many evils to befall one another.

-Epicurus, philosopher (c. 341-270 BCE)

A committee is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled.
-Barnett Cocks

Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment.
-R. Buckminster Fuller, engineer, designer, and architect (1895-1983)

The poet judges not as a judge judges but as the sun falling around a
helpless thing.

-Walt Whitman, poet (1819-92)

The instinct of a man is to pursue everything that flies from him, and to
fly from all that pursue him.

-Voltaire, philosopher (1694-1778)

There are 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 broad daylight.
-Vaclav Havel, writer, Czech Republic president (1936- )

I have suffered from being misunderstood, but I would have suffered a hell of a lot more if I had been understood.
-Clarence Darrow, lawyer and author (1857-1938)

Nothing fixes a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it.
-Michel de Montaigne, essayist (1533-1592)

What you are thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and philosopher (1803-1882)

The decent 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.
-Maurice Maeterlinck, poet, dramatist, and Nobel laureate (1862-1949)

Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company.
-George Gordon Byron, poet (1788-1824)

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.
-Anais Nin, writer (1903-1977)

Art is a house that tries to be haunted.
-Emily Dickinson, poet (1830-1886)

Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else.
-Gloria Steinem

Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.
-Eleanor Roosevelt, diplomat, author, and lecturer (1884-1962)

Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.
-Henry David Thoreau

Do not write merely to be understood, write so that you cannot possibly be misunderstood.
-Robert Louis Stevenson

No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft.
-HG Wells

An author's 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.
-Arthur Plotnick, novelist, reporter, reviewer, and editor.

The difference between the right word and the nearly right word is the same as that between lightning and the lightning bug.
-Mark Twain

I am sorry for the length of my letter, but I had not the time to write a short one.
-Blaise Pascal

When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing.
-Enrique Jardial Poncela

If everyone 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.
-John O'Hayre

When I say writing, O, believe me, it is rewriting that I have chiefly in mind.
-Robert Louis Stevenson

Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia.
-Charles Schultz

There are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up a pen to write.
-William Makepeace Thackeray, novelist(1811-1863)

"You'd better be prepared for the jump into hyperspace. It's unpleasantly like being drunk."
"What's so unpleasant about being drunk?"
"You ask a glass of water."
-Exchange between Ford and Arthur, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.
-Some wisdom from The Book, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

...Man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much... the wheel, New York, wars, and so on, whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely the dolphins believed themselves to be more intelligent than man for precisely the same reasons.
-More wisdom from The Book. see above.

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.
There is another theory which states that this has already happened.


Paranoids are not paranoids (Proverb 5) because they're paranoid, but because they keep putting themselves, fucking idiots, deliberately into paranoid situations.
-One of the few things I took away from Gravity's Rainbow before I jus simply quit reading it, Thomas Pynchon

Doctor how can you diagnose someone with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and then act like I had some choice about barging in here right now?
As Good As It Gets

I object, 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.
-Fielding Mellish, Woody Allan's Bananas

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.
-Gabby Johnson, Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles

No Trespassing - 4 / 17ths of a Haiku.
-Richard Brautigan's Trout Fishing in America

The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.
-Mark Twain

By doing just a little every day, I can gradually let the task completely overwhelm me.
-Ashleigh Brilliant

The last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first.
-Blaise Pascal

You can't have everything... where would you put it?
-Steven Wright

When anyone says "theoretically," they really mean "not really."
-David Parnas

I never let my schooling get in the way of my education.
-Mark Twain

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.
-Oliver Wendell Holmes, opinion, Towne v. Eisner, January 7, 1918

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.
-Charles Kuralt, Dateline America, 1979

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 vocabulary.
-James D. Nicoll

No man means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous.
-Henry Brooks Adams "The Education of Henry Adams"

For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.
-Catherine Drinker Bowen

Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.
-Rudyard Kipling

Moses dragged us through the desert to the one place in the Middle East where there is no oil.
-Golda Meir

I think every woman is entitled to a middle husband she can forget.
-Adela Rogers St. John

Pursuit and seduction are the essence of sexuality. It's part of the sizzle.
-Camille Paglia

Do not blame God for having created the tiger, but thank him for not having given it wings.
-Indian Proverb

He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.
-Chinese proverb

If you believe everything you read, better not read.
-Japanese proverb

Praise the young and they will blossom
-Irish Proverb

The church is near but the road is icy; the bar is far away but I'll walk carefully.
-Russian proverb

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.
-Mark Twain, Letter to D. W. Bowser, 3/20/1880

Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been.
-Mark Twain, Following the Equator

Even Noah got no salary for the first six months--partly on account of the weather and partly because he was learning navigation.
-Mark Twain, Eruption

Experience 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.
-Mark Twain, Is Shakespeare Dead

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.
-Mark Twain's Notebook, 1902-1903

It is no use to keep private information which you can't show off.
-Mark Twain, "An Author's Soldiering," 1887

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 paragraph.
-Mark Twain, Letter to Emeline Beach, 2/10/1868

The covers of this book are too far apart.
-Ambrose Bierce

I wrote a few children's books... Not on purpose.
-Steven Wright

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..."
-Steven Wright

When I was a little kid we had a sand box. It was a quicksand box. I was an only child... eventually.
-Steven Wright

Women might be able to fake orgasms, but men can fake whole relationships.
-Sharon Stone

Women need a reason to have sex.... Men just need a place.
-Billy Crystal

On the one hand, we'll never experience childbirth. On the other hand, we can open all our own jars.
-Bruce Willis

I put instant coffee in a microwave oven and almost went back in time.
-Steven Wright

How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterwards.
-Spanish Proverb

A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems.
-P. Erdos

We're going to turn this team around 360 degrees.
-Jason Kidd

Christ died for our sins. Dare we make his martyrdom meaningless by not committing them?
-Jules Feiffer

Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps.
-Emo Phillips

Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then.
-Katharine Hepburn [ed. note: a palm reader once looked an my hand and was moved to share this quote with me...]

Beware of any enterprise that requires new clothing.
-Henry David Thoreau

When I got to the top of Everest, I was tired.
-Aracelli Segarra

Let us endeavour to live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.
-Mark Twain

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
-Thomas Edison

Of course 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.
-Hermann Goering, Adolf Hitler's Deputy Chief and Luftwaffe Commander, {at the Nuremberg trials, 1946}

You think 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.
-James Baldwin, writer (1924-1987)

I hate mankind, for I think myself one of the best of them, and I know
how bad I am.

-Samuel Johnson

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired
signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not
fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

-Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. general and 34th president (1890-1969)

It is not only true that the language we use puts words in our mouths; it also puts notions in our heads.
-Wendell Johnson

In all of us, even in good men, there is a lawless wild-beast nature, which peers out in sleep.
-Socrates, philosopher (469?-399 BCE)

There are 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.
-Richard Feynman, physicist, Nobel laureate (1918-1988)

Works of imagination should be written in very plain language; the more purely imaginative they are the more necessary it is to be plain.
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge, poet and philosopher (1772-1834)

The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.
-Chinese Proverb

Danger and delight grow on one stalk.
-English Proverb

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.
-John Muir, naturalist, explorer, and writer (1838-1914)

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 after death.
-Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.
-Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.
-Albert Einstein

God doesn't play dice.
-Albert Einstein

Imagination is more important than knowledge.
-Albert Einstein

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.
-Albert Einstein

Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.
-Paulo Freire, educator (1921-1997)

Him that I love, I wish to be free -- even from me.
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh, writer (1906-2001)

An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.
-Spanish proverb

His mother 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.
-Lois McMaster Bujold, writer (1949- )

Please subdue 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.
-Kalidasa, dramatist (c. 4th century)

God, to me, it seems, is a verb, not a noun, proper or improper.
-R. Buckminster Fuller, engineer, designer, and architect (1895-1983)

You become writer by writing. It is a yoga.
-R.K. Narayan, novelist (1906-2001)