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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Quotations on Other Subjects

The English instinctively admire any man who has no talent and is modest about it. James Agate

Sons branch out, but one woman leads to another. Margaret Atwood

You don’t get ulcers from what you eat. You get them from what’s eating you. Vicki Baum

It’s not whether you really cry. It’s whether the audience thinks you are crying. Ingrid Bergman

Of all odd crazes, the craze to be forever reading new books is one of the oddest. Augustine Birrell

Although every man believes that his decisions and resolutions involve the most multifarious factors, in reality they are a mere oscillation between flight and longing. Herman Broch

I have fought my way severely through the savage hospitality of this country (Scotland), the object of all hosts being to send every guest drunk to bed if they can. Robert Burns

War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption and the Ice Capades. If this is the best God can do, I’m not impressed. Results like this do not belong in the resume of a Supreme Being. This is the kind of shit you’d expect from an office temp with a bad attitude. George Carlin

She had a body to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window. Raymond Chandler

To possess another language is to possess another soul. Charles V

If we are forced, at every hour, to watch or listen to horrible events, this constant stream of ghastly impressions will deprive even the most delicate among us of all respect for humanity. Cicero

Sometimes, in life, we see great souls emerge from strange surrounds. The son of a butcher becomes a Cardinal. The tenth son of a poor rector becomes a great Admiral. I know this seems strange, but imagine, my dear fellow, that one of these great and terrible souls appeared in petticoats, with the body and instincts of a woman. She would have no outlet. She must live with all the restrictions of her sex. What sort of woman would that be? Warwick Collins, The Rationalist

First and last, people are sent to jail because they are poor. Sometimes, as I say, you may not need money at the particular time, but you wish to have thrifty forehanded habits, and do not always wait until you are in absolute want. Some of you people are perhaps plying the trade, the profession, which is called burglary. No man in his right senses will go into a strange house in the dead of night and prowl around with a dark lantern through unfamiliar rooms and take chances of his life if he has plenty of the good things of the world in his own home. You would not take any such chances as that. If a man had clothes in his clothes-press and beefsteak in his pantry, and money in the bank, he would not navigate around nights in houses where he knows nothing about the premises whatever. It always requires experience and education for this profession, and people who fit themselves for it are no more to blame than I am for being a lawyer. A man would not hold up another man on the street if he had plenty of money in his own pocket. He might do it if he had one dollar or two dollars, but he wouldn’t if he had as much money as Mr. Rockefeller has. Mr. Rockefeller has a great deal better hold-up game than that.
Clarence Darrow’s 1902 address to inmates of the Chicago jail

Women never have young minds. They were born three thousand years old. Shelagh Delaney

Education is an ornament for the prosperous, a refuge for the unfortunate. Democritus

There ain’t no rules around here! We’re trying to accomplish something! Thomas Edison

Wisdom is not the product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it. Albert Einstein

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the universe. Albert Einstein

We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking as we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

Few women, I fear, have had such reason as I have to think the long sad years of youth were worth living for the sake of middle age. George Eliot

If you would know what nobody knows, read what everybody reads, just one year afterwards. Ralph Waldo Emerson

The past is never dead. It isn’t even past.
William Faulkner

Perhaps they were right putting love into books… perhaps it could not live anywhere else. William Faulkner

All family life is organised around the most damaged person. Freud

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. Gandhi

I’ve come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom… As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous… In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or de-humanized. Haim Ginott

Stress is basically a disconnection from the earth, a forgetting of the breath. Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important. Just lie down. Natalie Goldberg

It is better to copulate than never. Robert Heinlein

Sin lies only in hurting others unnecessarily. All other ‘sins’ are invented nonsense. Robert A. Heinlein

If I don’t have friends, then I ain’t nothing.
Billie Holiday

You can be up to your boobies in white satin, with gardenias in your hair and no sugar cane for miles, but you’ll still be working the plantation. Billie Holiday

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.
Soren Kierkegaard

Nearly all people in England are of the superior sort, superiority being an English ailment. D. H. Lawrence

This was life, that two people, no matter how carefully chosen, could not be everything to each other. Doris Lessing

The safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings. C.S. Lewis

Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one. journalist A.J. Liebling

The pleasure of all reading is doubled when one lives with another who shares the same books. Katherine Mansfield

Death and Taxes and childbirth? There’s never any convenient time for any of them. Margaret Mitchell in Gone With The Wind

Fashion is the science of appearances, and it inspires one with the desire to seem rather than to be. Michel de Montaigne

I will return to Paris tomorrow evening. Don’t wash. Napoleon in a letter to Josephine

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who did not hear the music. Nietzche

In a way winter is the real spring, the time when the inner things happen, the resurge of nature. Edna O’Brien

The vote means nothing to women. We should be armed. Edna O’Brien

Little things console us because little things afflict us. Blaise Pascal

Marriage is a long dull meal with pudding as the first course. JB Priestley

I am sad, sad as a circus-lioness, sad as an eagle without wings, sad as a violin with only one string and one that is broken, sad as a woman who is growing old. Jean Rhys

One must first overcome the inner Schweinehund. Manfred von Richthofen

To be happy with a man you must understand him a lot and love him a little. To be happy with a woman you must love her a lot and not try to understand her at all. Helen Rowland

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence. Bertrand Russell

One is never finished with the family. It’s like smallpox – it catches you in childhood and marks you for life. Jean Paul Sartre

People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading. Logan Pearsall Smith

Gain a modest reputation for being unreliable and you will never be asked to do a thing. Paul Theroux

The English are mentioned in the Bible: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Mark Twain

We seek the teeth to match our wounds. Kenneth Tynan

It is not the teacher before you that manifests what you perceive as an awakening, but the awakening within you that manifests what you perceive as a teacher. CG Walters

Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons. Thomas Watson, the chairman of IBM in 1943

The perfect man? A poet on a motorcycle. You know, the kind who lives on the edge, the free spirit. But he’s also gotta have the soul of a poet and a brilliant mind. So, you know, good luck. Lucinda Williams

The body is like an elaborate metaphor. One may be able to taste and not swallow, like the anorexic, or to swallow and not integrate, like the bulimic or obese. Marion Woodman

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. W.B. Yeats

In America, money takes the place of God. Anzia Yezierska