You may even become so attached to the place as to find one day that your whole life has been transformed and that what you once regarded as sordid, squalid, miserable, has now become charming, tender, beautiful.
– Henry Miller, Quiet Days in Clichy
Yes, that’s what I’m afraid of. Going about with something in my mind all my life that never changes. I find it so difficult to change.
– , Night and Day
One has a moral obligation to take responsibility for one’s actions, and that includes one’s words and silences, yes, one’s silences, because silences rise to heaven too, and God hears them, and only God understands and judges them, so one must be very careful with one’s silences.
– , By Night in Chile
Even without fascism, I was dishonest. Even without fascism, I censored myself. I refused to let myself write about what really moved me … Even without fascism, honesty was damned hard to come by. Even without fascism, I had pasted imaginary oak-tag patches over certain areas of my life and steadfastly refused to look at them.
– , Fear of Flying
When you were called, did you answer or did you not? Perhaps softly and in a whisper?
– , Fear and Trembling
Utopia is not a kind of place but a kind of time, those all too brief moments when one would not wish to be anywhere else. Is there an instinct, a very ancient instinct, for breathing in unison? The ultimate utopia, that.
– Susan Sontag, In America
To be sensual, I think, is to respect and rejoice in the force of life, of life itself, and to be present in all that one does, from the effort of loving to the breaking of bread.
— James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
To write in plain, vigorous language one has to think fearlessly, and if one thinks fearlessly one cannot be politically orthodox.
– George Orwell, The Prevention of Literature
… and that sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forget the words.
– William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying
We were ruinous together, she thinks. But how else can we live, these days, except in the midst of ruin?
– Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin
I do not love men: I love what devours them.
– André Gide, Prometheus Illbound
The word ‘happiness’ does indeed have meaning, doesn’t it? I shall go out in search of it.
– Mariama Bâ, So Long a Letter
… life’s the tyrant; oh but not the bully.
– Virginia Woolf, An Unwritten Novel
In one creative thought a thousand forgotten nights of love revive and lend it grandeur and height.
– Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life? We are determined to be starved before we are hungry.
– Henry David Thoreau, Walden
No better love than love with no object,
no more satisfying work than work with no purpose.
– Rumi, Quatrains
May you be wrapped in tenderness, you my brother, as if in a cloak.
– The Koran
Loving is no delusion; it is an artistic creation.
– Frank Andrews, The Art and Practice of Loving
It is very hard to prevail where you are not, in the deepest and most intimate and forgiving of ways, loved.
– Joyce Carol Oates, Mudwoman
It does not matter if it is a failure. Failures are to be desired as long as they are complete, stretched to their limits.
– Derek Jarman, Manifesto (1964)
The sourball of every revolution: after the revolution who’s going to pick up the garbage on Monday morning?
– Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Maintenance Art Manifesto (1969)
There is something at the bottom of every new human thought … which can never be communicated to others, even if one were to write volumes about it and were explaining one’s idea for thirty-five years; there’s something left which cannot be induced to emerge from your brain, and remains with you forever; and with it you will die, without communicating to anyone perhaps the most important of your ideas.
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Idiot
… the essence of living now, fully, not blocking off to what goes on, is conflict. … People stay sane by blocking off, by limiting themselves.
– Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook
There is no glory in being French. There is only one glory : in being alive.
– Jean Giono, Jean le bleu
Resist the anxious wish to fix the instantaneous, to kill that which is living.
– Jean Tinguely, For Static (1959)
She was pleasant and direct, even warm, but there was a privacy about her, a reluctance to bare herself completely to the world.
– Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
Beauty, no doubt, does not make revolutions. But a day will come when revolutions will have need of beauty.
– Albert Camus, The Rebel
It’s odd what you have courage for and what you don’t.
– Joyce Johnson, Minor Characters: A Beat Memoir
… freedom which on this earth can only be bought by a thousand of the hardest sacrifices, must be enjoyed unrestrictedly in its fullness, without any kind of pragmatic calculation, as long as it lasts…
– André Breton, Nadja
I am dépaysée in extrovert life – I lose my soul, my dreams. I would like to lie at the bottom of the sea, live there au fond des choses, toujours au fond.
– Anaïs Nin, diary (1932-1934)
The important thing is not which books, which experiences, a man is to have, but what he puts into them of his own.
– Henry Miller, The Books In My Life
We are surely doomed to hover continually upon the brink of eternity, without taking a final plunge into the abyss.
– Edgar Allan Poe, Ms. Found In a Bottle
By now I should have learned to fear the calm more than the storm.
– Carolyn Cassady, Off the Road
Passion can make drama out of inert stone.
— Le Corbusier, Towards an Architecture (1923)