John Prine on Humanity

Some humans ain’t human
Some people ain’t kind
You open up their hearts
And here’s what you’ll find
A few frozen pizzas
Some ice cubes with hair
A broken Popsicle
You don’t want to go there
Some humans ain’t human
Though they walk like we do
They live and they breathe
Just to turn the old screw
They screw you when you’re sleeping
They try to screw you blind
Some humans ain’t human
Some people ain’t kind

Tom Sachs on Work

Can you imagine getting paid really, really well to do something that you didn’t love to do? What a horrible curse that would be.

~ Tom Sachs / Louisiana Channel

Charles Bukowski on Art

Some people like what you do, some people hate what you do but most people don’t give a damn.

~ Charles Bukowski

Richard Ford on Sweating

“… but then I think well, you know, my wish as a writer… is to write masterpieces. Why shouldn’t I work that hard? Why should it be simple? … Why shouldn’t it take four years?… Art is heavy lifting… I don’t mind sweating.”

~ Richard Ford / Louisiana Channel

Louise Glück on Originality

“You have to live your life if you’re going to do original work. Your work will come out of an authentic life …”

~ Louise Glück

Frazey Ford on Error

“…You wait for me to fuck up, to find yourself some proof…”

Frazey Ford / Done

Margaret Howell on Work

I hate a job half done. Even if it’s housework, you have to do a thorough job. I don’t have a dishwasher because I prefer to do it myself.

~ Margaret Howell / Guardian, 3rd October 2020

Matthew Gindin on Moderation

I also began to feel the mood that comes from settling into any difficult discipline, a mixture of increased self-confidence, self-respect and a decrease in the kind of anxiety that results from not feeling able to rely on oneself.

~ Matthew Gindin / Tricycle

Tony Fouhse on Ambition

Now I’m retired and my ambitions are waning. I’m content to photograph personal projects, write about photography, walk my dog, garden, read, cook and nap. A most fulfilling retirement, seeking fame and fortune an artifact from my previous life.

~ Tony Fouhse

Jorge Luis Borges on Art

The task of the artist is to transform what is continuously happening to us… into symbols, into music, into something which can last in man’s memory. That is our duty. If we don’t fulfill it, we feel unhappy.

~ Jorge Luis Borges 

Seneca on Penance

“Philosophy calls for simple living, not for doing penance, and the simple way of life need not be a crude one.”

~ Seneca

Seneca on Misfortune

“No man is crushed by misfortune unless he has first been deceived by prosperity”

~ Seneca

Seneca on Anger

“We cease to be so angry once we cease to be so hopeful.”

~ Seneca

Seneca on Injuries

“He who has injured thee was either stronger or weaker than thee. If weaker, spare him; if stronger, spare thyself.”

~ Seneca

Pascal on Morality

“Let us strive to think well. That is the principle of morality.”

~ Blaise Pascal

Margaret Atwood on Power

“It is just fun for a lot of people to demolish other people and it always has been, across the board. People like doing it. If you’re really going to put yourself in the box marked ‘virtuous’, you’ve got to ask yourself whether you’re actually being virtuous, or whether you’re being sadistic. Be aware of how you’re using your power.”

~ Margaret Atwood

Stephen King on Money

The money isn’t very important. The idea is to take care of your family and have enough left over to buy books and go to the movies once a week. As a goal in life, ‘getting rich’ strikes me as fairly ludicrous. The goal is to do what God made you for and not hurt anyone if you can help it.

~ Stephen King / NYT, August 13, 2000

Mister Rogers on People

Mister Rogers, he of the neighborhood, always said that the worst type of human beings were the ones who made you feel “less than.”

~ Maureen Dowd / NYT, August 22, 2020

Edward Gorey on Fate

‘I don’t think anything might have been. What is, is.’

~ Edward Gorey

Mary Wollstonecraft on Evil

“No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.”

~ Mary Wollstonecraft

D.B.C. Pierre on Mistakes

My life is built from second chances; I wouldn’t be speaking to you but for having been forgiven and helped off the floor and back on my feet. I believe that’s the correct way, [but] that’s being thrown out very quickly. You can be shut down from life on the basis of one mistake.

~ D.B.C. Pierre / Guardian

Seneca on Fortune

“That which Fortune has not given, she cannot take away.”

~ Seneca / Letters to Lucilius 59

Viktor Frankl on Success

“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater.” 

~ Viktor Frankl

Elliott Erwitt on Seeing

“Good photography is not about Zone Printing or any other Ansel Adams nonsense. It’s just about seeing. You either see or you don’t see. The rest is academic. Photography is simply a function of noticing things. Nothing more.”

~ Elliott Erwitt / Courtesy of Mark Hobson

Robert Frank on Belief

“You follow your way. I found this to be very important, that you stick to something that you believe in and not make compromises. Whatever you believe in, if you believe in it, it will be okay. You can do it. It doesn’t mean that you will be successful at it, but at least you believed in it to do it,”

~ Robert Frank