Nassim Nicholas Taleb
If you want to annoy a poet, explain his poetry.
It's a luxury being a writer, because all you ever think about is life.
If you can't change your fate, change your attitude.
Chance is the first step you take; luck is what comes afterward.
We dream to give ourselves hope. To stop dreaming—well, that’s like saying you can never change your fate.
Who knows where inspiration comes from. Perhaps it arises from desperation. Perhaps it comes from the flukes of the universe, the kindness of the muses.
Writing is an extreme privilege but it's also a gift. It's a gift to yourself and it's a gift of giving a story to someone.
I am like a falling star who has finally found her place next to another in a lovely constellation, where we will sparkle in the heavens forever.
It's both rebellion and conformity that attack you with success.
I was intelligent enough to make up my own mind. I not only had freedom of choice, I had freedom of expression.
Sir David Tang
You are what you give; not what you are given.
Were it not for shadows, there would be no beauty.
The older we get the more we seem to think that everything was better in the past.
The quality that we call beauty . . . must always grow from the realities of life.
I think the tradition of the Navajo tradition is very strong because that's what I am. In the way that I think, in the way that I talk, it's already there, it's already properly Navajo just by itself. So when I write that's the way it is, because poetry is an oral kind of expression and you can't really separate yourself, the voice that you are, from what you write.
The past determines what our present is or our future will be. I don't think there is really a separation of the three.
It makes your life complete to have something to believe in.
Poetry is everywhere; it just needs editing.
I always feel myself being thrust back into loneliness when someone tells me it's cold on a hot day. It isn't good to talk so much about the weather — weather is a highly personal matter, and communication on the subject inevitably fails.
It is strange how often a heart must be broken before the years can make it wise.
You will recognize your own path when you come upon it because you will suddenly have all the energy and imagination you will ever need.
I make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes.
No one worth possessing can quite be possessed.
Life is but thought.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Words, like nature, half reveal and half conceal the soul within.
Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.
Creativity is an act of defiance.
Reading, conversation, environment, culture, heroes, mentors, nature—all are lottery tickets for creativity. Scratch away at them and you’ll find out how big a prize you’ve won.
Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.
If you only do what you know and do it very, very well, chances are that you won’t fail. You’ll just stagnate, and your work will get less and less interesting, and that’s failure by erosion.
Remember this when you’re struggling for a big idea. You’re much better off scratching for a small one.
Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable. Everything feeds into my creativity. But without proper preparation, I cannot see it, retain it, and use it.
Too much planning implies you’ve got it all under control. That’s boring, unrealistic, and dangerous.
When you’re in a rut, you have to question everything except your ability to get out of it.
Our ability to grow is directly proportional to an ability to entertain the uncomfortable.
You can only generate ideas when you put pencil to paper, brush to canvas... when you actually do something physical.
Art is an investigation.
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
Stories, like food, lose their flavor if cooked in a hurry.
We can appreciate each other's languages. And the question of being uncomfortable about our languages would go away.
Poetry is what in a poem makes you laugh, cry, prickle, be silent, makes your toe nails twinkle, makes you want to do this or that or nothing, makes you know that you are alone in the unknown world, that your bliss and suffering is forever shared and forever all your own.
Hunter S. Thompson
Not a wasted word. This has been a main point to my literary thinking all my life.
Getting bored is not allowed.
Henry David Thoreau
How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.
I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.
I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.
The question is not what you look at, but what you see.
You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.
Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
The world is but a canvas to the imagination.
Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience.
Things do not change. We change
Jealousy is, I think, the worst of all faults because it makes a victim of both parties.
The default assumption tends to be that it is politically important to designate everyone as beautiful, that it is a meaningful project to make sure that everyone can become, and feel, increasingly beautiful. We have hardly tried to imagine what it might look like if our culture could do the opposite—de-escalate the situation, make beauty matter less.
Writing is either a way to shed my self-delusions or a way to develop them. A well-practiced, conclusive narrative is usually a dubious one.
Has anyone ever written a great novel about a woman who is happy in her marriage? Of course, most protagonists are unhappy. But heroes are mostly unhappy for existential reasons; heroines suffer for social reasons, because of male power, because of men.
The internet reminds us on a daily basis that it is not at all rewarding to become aware of problems that you have no reasonable hope of solving.
A woman is unruly if anyone has incorrectly decided that she’s too much of something, and if she, in turn, has chosen to believe that she’s just fine.
Art is the uniting of the subjective with the objective, of nature with reason, of the unconscious with the conscious, and therefore art is the highest means of knowledge.
If only the spectators or auditors are infected by the feelings which the author has felt, it is art.
By words one transmits thoughts to another, by means of art, one transmits feelings.
In order to correctly define art, it is necessary, first of all, to cease to consider it as a means to pleasure and consider it as one of the conditions of human life . . . Reflecting on it in this way, we cannot fail to observe that art is one of the means of effective communication between people.
The best stories don’t come from “good vs. evil” but “good vs. good.”
Talk about it only enough to do it. Dream about it only enough to feel it. Think about it only enough to understand it. Contemplate it only enough to be it.
People mistake their limitations for high standards.
We learn the rope of life by untying its knots.
Acceptance of prevailing standards often means we have no standards of our own.
The realization of ignorance is the first act of knowing.
Men are apt to idolize or fear that which they cannot understand, especially if it be a woman.
Thank everyone who calls out your faults, your anger, your impatience, your egotism; do this consciously, voluntarily.
It takes a well-spent lifetime, and perhaps more, to crystalize in us that for which we exist.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Everywhere and always ugliness has its beautiful aspects; it is thrilling to discover them where nobody else has noticed them.
Good dialogue illuminates what people are not saying.
Our story remains unwritten. It rests within the culture, which is inseparable from the land. To know this is to know our history. To write this is to write of the land and the people who are born from her.
I think there is a poem out there for everyone, to be an entrance into the poetry and a relationship with it.
The act of making poetry is an act of hope.
My own journey in becoming a poet began with memory—with the need to record and hold on to what was being lost. One of my earliest poems, ‘Give and Take,’ was about my Aunt Sugar, how I was losing her to her memory loss.
The experience of poetry could bring my mother back to me. Poetry offers a different kind of solace—here on earth.
Harry S. Truman
The only thing new in the world is the history you do not know.
It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.
Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.
The wave always returns, and always returns as a different wave.
Wings are freedom only when they are wide open in flight. On one's back they are a heavy weight.
There are books so alive that you're always afraid that while you weren't reading, the book has gone and changed, has shifted like a river; while you went on living, it went on living too, and like a river moved on and moved away.
An amazing observation: it is precisely for feelings that one needs time, not for thought . . . Feelings, obviously, are more demanding than thought.
At every moment, we always have a choice, even if it feels as if we don’t. Sometimes that choice may simply be to think a more positive thought.
If you are unhappy with anything...whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you’ll find that when you’re free, your true creativity, your true self, comes out.
I believe that if you'll just stand up and go, life will open up for you.
The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.
Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very;' your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.
The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.
The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious. And why shouldn't it be? —it is the same the angels breathe.
You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.
Most writers regard the truth as their most valuable possession, and therefore are most economical in its use.
Zen is said to be a ‘mind-to-mind transmission.’ The best poems are exactly that: they leap from one mind to another without stopping to explain exactly how they did it. Poetry cannot be paraphrased because it can’t be apprehended by a purely literal mind. I think this is why so many people are afraid of it, or think they dislike it. In our culture, out of necessity, we’re used to living in a mostly-literal mind, and poetry demands that we enter it with another kind of mind.
I want to live other lives. I’ve never quite believed that one chance is all I get. Writing is my way of making other chances.
People always call it luck when you've acted more sensibly than they have.
If I waited till I felt like writing, I'd never write at all.
None of my own experiences ever finds its way into my work. However, the stages of my life—motherhood, middle age, etc.—often influence my subject matter.
The one ironclad rule is that I have to try. I have to walk into my writing room and pick up my pen every weekday morning.
I would advise any beginning writer to write the first drafts as if no one else will ever read them—without a thought about publication -and only in the last draft to consider how the work will look from the outside.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
It may be that our cosmic curiosity is a genetically-encoded force that we illuminate when we look up and wonder.
The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize that in life they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation. For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday, and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.
New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.
When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.