Jim Harrison on Writers

Writers, I think, are sometimes productive to the extent that they remain sort of childlike about certain things. They stay operative for that reason.

~ Conversations with Jim Harrison

Viktor Frankl on Decisions

“…in the final analysis, it becomes clear that the sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision, and not the result of camp influences alone.”

~ Viktor Frankl / Psychology Today

John Waters on Wealth

I’m rich! I don’t mean money-wise. I mean that I have figured out how to never be around assholes at any time in my personal and professional life. That’s rich.

~ John Waters

John le Carré on Social Media

“People are shown so many treats, and urged as to what to buy and what to wear and where to travel to, all of which pumps up a spurious notion of the perfect life.”

~ John le Carré / Guardian

Donald Hall on Foolishness

“When I was nineteen,
I told a thirty-
year-old man what a
fool I had been when
I was seventeen.
‘We were always,’ he
said glancing down, ‘a
fool two years ago.”

~ Donald Hall

Kurt Vonnegut on Life

In Hamlet, Shakespeare tells us, we don’t know enough about life to know what the good news is and the bad news is…

~ Kurt Vonnegut / YouTube

Alan Jacobs on Iniquity

Thus St. Paul speaks of “the mystery of iniquity”—what in our more prosaic and insensible times we tend to call “the problem of evil.” In Paul’s view, to call iniquity a “problem” is to trivialize it beyond recognition. For one who believes not only in God but in the goodness and graciousness of God, iniquity is the profoundest of mysteries. One scarcely dares to speak of it at all, and nothing is more desperately to be avoided, on this subject, than glibness.

~ Alan Jacobs / The Point Magazine

Brendan Behan on Kindness

“I respect kindness in human beings first of all, and kindness to animals. I don’t respect the law…”

~ Brendan Behan / Courtesy Austin Kleon

Laurie Anderson on Art

The world may end. You’re right. But that’s not a reason to be scared. None of us know what will happen. Don’t spend time worrying about it. Make the most beautiful thing you can. Try to do that every day. That’s it. You know? What are you working for, posterity? We don’t know if there is any posterity.

~ Laurie Anderson

Naguib Mahfouz on Home

Home is not where you are born; home is where all your attempts to escape cease.

~ Naguib Mahfouz

Suzanne Brøgger on Adversity

I welcome adversity and indifference. Of course, it’s stupid if someone has chosen to disregard you because of something you’ve written but that’s their problem.

Suzanne Brøgger / Louisiana Channel

Alec Soth on Art

“Waste more time.”

~ Alec Soth / LBM Newsletter, November 27th 2020

Jim Harrison on Salvation

For my purposes, I believe what Kierkegaard said, that you have to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before you can get on with anyone else’s program.

~ Jim Harrison / Paris Review

Jim Harrison on Greed

They don’t know what happened to the hundred civilizations represented by the American Indian. That’s shocking. I’m dealing with that in this book. To me, the Indians are our curse on the house of Atreus. They’re our doom. The way we killed them is also what’s killing us now. Greed. Greed. It’s totally an Old Testament notion but absolutely true. Greed is killing the soul-life of the nation. You can see it all around you. It’s destroying what’s left of our physical beauty, it’s polluting the country, it’s making us more Germanic and warlike and stupid.

~ Jim Harrison / Paris Review

Jim Harrison on Technique

Finally, what Wallace Stevens said, which I love and which is hard to explain to younger writers, is that technique is the proof of your seriousness.

~ Jim Harrison / Paris Review

Harvey Fierstein on Persisting

Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.

~ Harvey Fierstein