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Quotations A














Marina Abramovic


Your ego can become an obstacle to your work. If you start believing in your greatness, it is the death of your creativity.

Diana Abu-Jaber

If you silence yourself, if you try to be good, if you try to be polite, or toe a party line, you end up paying for that in the long run. You pay for it... with your homeland, or with your soul, or with your artistic vision.

My heritage will always be an element in my work but as I've written, traveled, and lived more, I've found that the questions and the search - for meaning, for "home," for tribe - consume me more than trying to crank out one identity or one homeland.

The daily writing practice is something I used to hear batted around a lot in writing workshops - which is probably why I dropped out of all the writing workshops. I wish I could take credit for innovating a new approach to writing, but the truth is that I've managed to write books despite myself. I'm lazy and ungovernable and undisciplined, but I do have a lot of anxiety about never amounting to anything and ending up as a bag lady.

Every day I try to do some small thing connected to writing. Or I'll station myself at a café and try to hold myself captive with chocolate. I find that writers tend to be dismissive of small amounts of work or time, but they can actually add up. I've written several books in 15 minute increments.


Susan Abulhawa


We're all born with the greatest treasures we'll ever have in life. One of those treasures is your mind, another is your heart.


“Always” is a good word to believe in.

Elizabeth Acevedo

I do believe writing is thinking. Sometimes we can’t untangle what’s happening in our brains, but we get our pen moving and all of a sudden, as we write, we figure it out.

Chinua Achebe


Nobody can teach me who I am. You can describe parts of me, but who I am—and what I need—is something I have to find out myself.


While we do our good works let us not forget that the real solution lies in a world in which charity will have become unnecessary.


One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.


Abigail Adams


We have too many high sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them.


Douglas Adams


There is an art . . . to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.


I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.


John Adams


Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order.

You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket.


Scott Adams


Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.

Stella Adler


Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one. 


Edward Albee 


Good writers define reality; bad ones merely restate it.


Anni Albers


Art is something that makes you breathe with a certain kind of happiness.


Mitch Albom


Death ends a life, not a relationship.


Sandra Alcosser


Poetry calls into question what it means to be human.


Louisa May Alcott


I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.


Alan Alda


Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative place where no one else has ever been.


Elizabeth Alexander


You have to tell your own story simultaneously as you hear and respond to the stories of others.


Lloyd Alexander


Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It's a way of understanding it.


Margaret Walker Alexander


Friends and good manners will carry you where money won't go.


The poetry of a people comes from the deep recesses of the unconscious, the irrational and the collective body of our ancestral memories.


Meena Alexander


The poem is an invention that exists in spite of history… In a time of violence, the task of poetry is in some way to reconcile us to our world and to allow us a measure of tenderness and grace with which to exist… Poetry’s task is to reconcile us to the world—not to accept it at face value or to assent to things that are wrong, but to reconcile one in a larger sense, to return us in love, the province of the imagination, to the scope of our mortal lives.


Sherman Alexie


Poetry = Anger x Imagination

When you read a piece of writing that you admire, send a note of thanks to the author. Be effusive with your praise. Writing is a lonely business. Do your best to make it a little less lonely.

All I owe the world is my art.


Mahershala Ali


Social media has colonized what was once a sacred space occupied by emptiness: the space reserved for thought and creativity.


Dante Alighieri


There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of misery.


Isabel Allende


Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.


We only have what we give.


Write what should not be forgotten.

It’s so important for me, finding the precise word that will create a feeling or describe a situation. I’m very picky about that because it’s the only material we have: words. But they are free. No matter how many syllables they have: free! You can use as many as you want, forever.


Carl Ally


The creative person wants to be a know-it-all. He wants to know about all kinds of things—ancient history, nineteenth century mathematics, current manufacturing techniques, hog futures. Because he never knows when these ideas might come                together to form a new idea. It may happen six minutes later, or six months, or six years. But he has faith that it will happen.


Steve Almond


To look at the work of your peers, and learn how to explain with kindness and precision, the nature of their mistakes is, in fact, how you learn to diagnose your own work.


All readers come to fiction as willing accomplices to your lies. Such is the basic goodwill contract made the moment we pick up a work of fiction.

Julia Alvarez

The writer is always researching, paying attention, learning things about people, about experience. All that comes to bear on what you write.


Maya Angelou


You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unloved, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.


Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently.


There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself.


What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.’ And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, 'Okay. Okay. I’ll come.’


You are alone enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.


Robert Anthony


The opposite of bravery is not cowardice but conformity.




Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.


Accordingly, the poet should prefer probable impossibilities to improbable possibilities.


Wisdom begins with wonder.


Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.


Mary Kay Ash


If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, you’re right.


Arthur Ashe


True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.


Isaac Asimov


Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.


Margaret Atwood


A word after a word after a word is power.


If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.


Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.


Writing poetry is a state of free float.

Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid men will kill them.

There’s something to be said for hunger: at least it lets you know you’re still alive.


W.H. Auden


Poetry might be defined as the clear expression of mixed feelings.


A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.


It would only be necessary for a writer to secure universal popularity if imagination and intelligence were equally distributed among all men.


Evil is unspectacular, and always human, and shares our bed and eats at our table.

Poetry is the only art people haven’t yet learnt to consume like soup.


Alfred Austin


Show me your garden and I shall tell you who you are.

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