No one respects a talent that is concealed.
If you are explaining, you are losing.
If you haven’t found something strange during the day, it hasn’t been much of a day.
All art is autobiographical. The pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.
Money is everywhere but so is poetry. What we lack are the poets.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pen.
Usually, the stuff that’s your best idea or work is going to be attacked the most.
No restaurant failed because of the people they turned away. But many have closed because of whom they let in.
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.
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.
A writer is not a confectioner, a cosmetics dealer, or an entertainer.
Decisions are made by people who have time, not people who have talent.
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.
Fighting is essentially a masculine idea; a woman’s weapon is her tongue.
There is nothing in the dark that isn’t there when the lights are on.
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.
A photograph is usually looked at—seldom looked into.
There are no rules for good photographs; there are only good photographers.
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.
Surprise happens so often that it is surprising that we’re still surprised by it.
Unless you’re ashamed of yourself now and then, you’re not honest.
The best leaders… almost without exception, and at every level, are master users of stories and symbols.
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.
I decided in my life I would do nothing that did not reflect positively on my father’s life.
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.
The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.
For spite of your fine theoretic positions
Mankind is a science defies definitions.
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.
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.
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.
Fortune knocks but once, but misfortune has more patience.
The best intelligence test is what we do with our leisure.
The manner of giving is worth more than the gift.
I gravitate toward gravitas.
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.
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.
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.
Success is blocked by concentrating on it and planning for it… Success is shy—it won’t come out while you’re watching.
Some writers confuse authenticity, which they ought always to aim at, with originality, which they should not bother about.
A good artist should be isolated. If he isn’t isolated, something is wrong.
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.
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.
T H I M K