Well Said

“I know that the earth absorbs perfume and urine with the same indifference.” Zora Neale Hurston

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man. –George Bernard Shaw

Love the art in yourself, not yourself in the art. –Konstantin Stanislavsky

I try to leave out the parts that people skip. –Elmore Leonard

News is something somebody doesn’t want printed; all else is advertising. –William Randolph Hearst

Out of clutter, find Simplicity. From discord, find Harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies Opportunity. –Albert Einstein

A man of genius is privileged only as far as he is genius. His dullness is as insupportable as any other dullness. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I feel that I am a citizen of the American dream and that the revolutionary struggle of which I am a part is a struggle against the American nightmare. –Eldridge Cleaver

Every significant invention must be startling, unexpected, and must come into a world that is not prepared for it. If the world were prepared for it, it would not be much of an invention. –Edwin Land

We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done. –Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I’d like to have money. And I’d like to be a good writer. These two can come together, and I hope they will, but if that’s too adorable, I’d rather have money. –Dorothy Parker

Give me the luxuries of life and I will willingly do without the necessities. – Frank Lloyd Wright

By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day. –Robert Frost

The promise of business is to increase the general well-being of humankind through service, a creative invention and ethical philosophy. –Paul Hawken

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. –Aristotle

Think, Anya, your grandfather, your great-grandfather, and all your ancestors were serf-owners, they owned living souls; and now, doesn’t something human look at you from every cherry in the orchard, every leaf and every stalk? Don’t you hear voices . . . ? – Anton Chekkov

The answer is never the answer. What’s really interesting is the mystery. If you seek the mystery instead of the answer, you’ll always be seeking. I’ve never seen anybody really find the answer — they think they have, so they stop thinking. But the job is to seek mystery, evoke mystery, plant a garden in which strange plants grow and mysteries bloom. The need for mystery is greater than the need for an answer. –Ken Kesey

Words dazzle and deceive because they are mimed by the face. But black words on a white page are the soul laid bare. – Guy de Maupassant

The Web, in my view, has its own crisp idiom — a fusion of the verbal with the visual. –Camille Paglia

Be careful what you pretend to be because you are what you pretend to be. –Kurt Vonnegut

One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. – Harry G. Frankfurt

‘Tis the time’s plague, when madmen lead the blind. – William Shakespeare

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. – Hunter S. Thompson

When a thing is current, it creates currency. – Marshall McLuhan

Some are building monuments, others, jotting down notes. – Bob Dylan

I could do my imitation of an important novelist entering Elaine’s, but why? There’s no bigger trip than self-importance — to blind you, to decrease the energy of your art. – Jim Harrison

A line will take us hours maybe;
Yet if it does not seem a moment’s thought,
Our stitching and unstitching has been naught. – W.B. Yeats

There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die. – W.H. Auden

Take the initiative. Go to work, and above all co-operate and don’t hold back on one another or try to gain at the expense of another. Any success in such lopsidedness will be increasingly short-lived. These are the synergetic rules that evolution is employing and trying to make clear to us. They are not man-made laws. They are the infinitely accommodative laws of the intellectual integrity governing universe. – R. Buckminster Fuller

All of writing is a huge lake. There are great rivers that feed the lake, like Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, and there are trickles, like Jean Rhys…. I don’t matter. The lake matters. You must keep feeding the lake. – Jean Rhys

My wants are simple. I have no desire to latch onto a monster symbol of fate and prove my manhood in a titantic piscine war. But sometimes I do like a couple of cooperative fish of frying size. – John Steinbeck

Man is kind enough when he’s not excited by religion, but once the holy holies have got a grip on him he’s capable of almost anything. It doesn’t matter if he’s a Christian, Hindu, Jew, or Muslim. If he’s made up his mind that you need reforming, he will do it with anything handy–an ax, eight hundred years of witch burning or, if necessary, he’ll blow you up. – Mark Twain

…a democracy conceived in the military servitude of the masses, in their economic enslavement, and nurtured in their tears and blood, is not a democracy at all. It is despotism–the cumulative result of a chain of abuses which, according to that dangerous document, The Declaration of Independence, the people have a right to overthrow… –Emma Goldman

God knows we are the most materialistic of all modern civilizations on earth today. We are looking too much down along our own noses and so we don’t see very far into the future. But we’ve soon got to realize that this materialism we’re championing, living upon, and calling success is not bona fide. It can’t last and it won’t result in the happiness or growth of the soul of the human being. It’s temporal beyond all words, menial in culture beyond anything the world has yet seen. –Frank Lloyd Wright

I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence. – Frederick Douglass

America continues to remain the enigma it has always been – a curiously insular people, administered by a pathologically meddlesome, promiscuous government. – Arundhati Roy

You can always rely on America to do the right thing. Once it has exhausted the alternatives. – Winston Churchill

Americans are the best entertained and least informed people on earth. –Bobby Kennedy Jr.

Nationalism is an infantile disease. – Albert Einstein

Without love in the dream it will never come true. – Robert Hunter

I believe in God, only I spell it Nature. – Frank Lloyd Wright

Every flower got a right to be bloomin’. – Michael Franti

I want my funk uncut. – George Clinton

Coffee is for closers. – David Mamet

Don’ read your press, weigh it. – Andy Warhol

My advice to all young people who wish to become poets is: do something easy, like learning how to blow up the world — unless you’re not only willing, but glad, to feel and work and fight till you die. Does this sound dismal? It isn’t. It’s the most wonderful life on earth. – e.e. cummings

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket… – Charles Bukowski

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Awesome list of quotes — and I love it that they’re important enough to you that they own a place upon your nav bar! That shows priorities, Mr. David Burn. One of my favorite starting points for my own writing is often quotes like you’ve listed, so thank you for taking the time to collect and share them.


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