Courtesy of Thomas Russell Wingate

Desiderius Erasmus

No one respects a talent that is concealed.

J.C. Watts

If you are explaining, you are losing.

John Archibald Wheeler

If you haven’t found something strange during the day, it hasn’t been much of a day.

Federico Fellini

All art is autobiographical. The pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.

Money is everywhere but so is poetry. What we lack are the poets.

John Keegan

It’s commonly said that people who’ve been ill in childhood and who’ve had an upset education never really regret that they do. It means that you don’t look at the world in the way that other people do, and if you were inclined to be a writer, that’s a help.

Gong Li

People keep pushing me to be the center of attention… I would prefer to be on the sidelines, because that’s where you see more.

Jack London

Affluence is influence.

If cash comes with fame, come fame; if cash comes without fame, come cash.

Life is not a matter of holding good cards but sometimes playing a poor hand well.

The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.

Paddy Chayefsky

Artists don’t talk about art. Artists talk about work. If I have anything to say to young writers, it’s to stop thinking of writing as art. Think of it as work.

Truman Capote

I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pen.

Francis Ford Coppola

Usually, the stuff that’s your best idea or work is going to be attacked the most.

Manhattan restaurateur

No restaurant failed because of the people they turned away. But many have closed because of whom they let in.

Joseph Brodsky

Every individual ought to know at least one poet from cover to cover: if not as guide through the world, then as a yardstick for the language.

Gail Collins

I think it’s hard to be great without the ability to concentrate. The more distractions we’ve built into our culture, the harder it is to develop thinkers and planners. And over the past fifty years, our span of attention has collapsed to that of a hyperactive gnat.

Anton Chekhov

A writer is not a confectioner, a cosmetics dealer, or an entertainer.

Scott Adams

Decisions are made by people who have time, not people who have talent.

Agatha Christie

It is always the same: women bedeck themselves with jewels and furs, and men with wit and quotations.

Those whose approval you seek the most give you the least.

Hermione Gingold

Fighting is essentially a masculine idea; a woman’s weapon is her tongue.

Rod Serling

There is nothing in the dark that isn’t there when the lights are on.

Marilyn Vos Savant

If your head tells you one thing, and your heart tells you another, before you do anything, you should first decide whether you have a better head or a better heart.

Ansel Adams

A photograph is usually looked at—seldom looked into.

There are no rules for good photographs; there are only good photographers.

Mortimer J. Adler

In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but how many can get through to you.

The telephone book is full of facts, but it doesn’t contain a single idea.

Paul Wolfowitz

Surprise happens so often that it is surprising that we’re still surprised by it.

William Faulkner

Unless you’re ashamed of yourself now and then, you’re not honest.

Thomas J. Peters

The best leaders… almost without exception, and at every level, are master users of stories and symbols.

C.S. Forester

A man who writes for a living does not have to go anywhere in particular, and he could rarely afford to if he wanted to.

Novel writing wrecks homes.

Sidney Poitier

I decided in my life I would do nothing that did not reflect positively on my father’s life.

François Mauriac

Tell me what you read and I’ll tell you who you are is true enough, but I’d know you better if you told me what you reread.

Steven R. Covey

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

Robert Burns

For spite of your fine theoretic positions
Mankind is a science defies definitions.

Esther Dyson

I think copyright is moral, proper. I think an author has the right to control the disposition of his or her works—I actually believe that the financial issue is less important than the integrity of the work, the attribution, that kind of stuff.

Sinclair Lewis

He who has seen one cathedral ten times has seen something; he who has seen ten cathedrals once has seen but little; and he who has spent half an hour in each of a hundred cathedrals has seen nothing at all.

Thomas Babington Macaulay

I would rather be poor in a cottage full of books than a king without the desire to read.

Nothing except the mint can make money without advertising.

Perhaps no person can be a poet, or even enjoy poetry, without a certain unsoundness of mind.

Laurence J. Peter

Fortune knocks but once, but misfortune has more patience.

The best intelligence test is what we do with our leisure.

Pierre Corneille

The manner of giving is worth more than the gift.

Morgan Freeman

I gravitate toward gravitas.

Chuck Yeager

You do what you can for as long as you can, and when you finally can’t, you do the next best thing. You back up but you don’t give up.

Mickey Spillane

Nobody reads a mystery to get to the middle. They read it to get to the end. If it’s a letdown, they won’t buy any more. The first page sells that book. The last page sells your next book.

Rebecca West

Writing has nothing to do with communication between person and person, only with communication between different parts of a person’s mind.

I wonder if we are all wrong about each other, if we are just composing unwritten novels about the people we meet?

Nobody likes having salt rubbed into their wounds, even if it is the salt of the earth.

There is no logical reason why the camel of good art should pass through the needle of mob intelligence.

Tennessee Williams

Success is blocked by concentrating on it and planning for it… Success is shy—it won’t come out while you’re watching.

W.H. Auden

Some writers confuse authenticity, which they ought always to aim at, with originality, which they should not bother about.

Orson Welles

A good artist should be isolated. If he isn’t isolated, something is wrong.

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Providing a writer isn’t put off by conventions—and some are—attending them can be a nice break from the necessary isolation of writing.

Robert Penn Warren

Poets, we know, are terribly sensitive people, and in my observation one of the things they are most sensitive about is money.


Today a peacock, tomorrow a feather duster.

We are either doing something or we are not; “talking about” is a subset of “not.”

To stay young requires unceasing cultivation of the ability to unlearn old falsehood.

To the blind, everything is sudden.

MAD Magazine


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