Self pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.
When I was a child I truly loved: Unthinking love as calm and deep As the North Sea. But I have lived, And now I do not sleep.
They watch on, evil, incredibly stupid, enjoying my destruction. 'Poor Grendel's had an accident,' I whisper. 'So may you all.
We read five words on the first page of a really good novel and we begin to forget that we are reading printed words on a page; we begin to see images.
People will tell you that writing is too difficult, that it's impossible to get your work published, that you might as well hang yourself. Meanwhile, they'll keep writing and you'll have hanged yourself.
As a rule of thumb I say, if Socrates, Jesus and Tolstoy wouldn't do it, don't.
I couldn't go on, too conscious all at once of my whispering, my eternal posturing, always transforming the world with words--changing nothing.
The primary subject of fiction is and has always been human emotion, values, and beliefs.
There is no limit to desire but desire's needs.
Nothing can be more limiting to the imagination than only writing about what you know
Find a pile of gold and sit on it.
Talking, talking. Spinning a web of words, pale walls of dreams, between myself and all I see.
One must be just a little crazy to write a great novel. One must be capable of allowing the darkest, most ancient and shrewd parts of one’s being to take over the work from time to time.
So childhood too feels good at first, before one happens to notice the terrible sameness, age after age.
Fiction does not spring into the world fully grown, like Athena. It is the process of writing and rewriting that makes a fiction original, if not profound.
I cannot believe such monstrous energy of grief can lead to nothing!
The world is all pointless accident... I exist, nothing else.
It would be, for me, mere pointless pleasure, an illusion of order for this one frail, foolish, flicker-flash in the long dull fall of eternity.
Art, of course, is a way of thinking, a way of mining reality.
Our noblest hopes grow teeth and pursue us like tigers.
All to often, on the long road up, young leaders become servants of what is rather than shapers of what might be.
Mastery is not something that strikes in an instant, like a thunderbolt, but a gathering power that moves steadily through time, like weather.
I know what's in your mind. I know everything. That's what makes me so sick and old and tired.
Stars, spattered out through lifeless night from end to end, like jewels scattered in a dead king's grave, tease, torment my wits toward meaningful patterns that do not exist.
There is some realm where feelings become birds and dark sky, and spirit is more solid than stone.
Poor Grendel's had an accident. So may you all.
All order, I've come to understand, is theoretical, unreal — a harmless, sensible, smiling mask men slide between the two great, dark realities, the self and the world — two snake pits.
What art ought to do is tell stories which are moment-by-moment wonderful, which are true to human experience, and which in no way explain human experience.
Standing on an open hill, I imagine muffled footsteps overhead.
But dragons, my boy, have a whole different kind of mind.
The chief offense in bad fiction: we sense that characters are being manipulated, forced to do things they would not really do.
He had glimpsed a glorious ideal, had struggled toward it and seized it and come to understand it, and was disappointed. One could sympathize.
Bad art is always basically creepy; that is its first and most obvious identifying sign
Fate often enough will spare a man if his courage holds.
It's not easy to kill a mountain goat. He thinks with his spine.
I should have cracked his skull mid song and sent his blood spraying out wet through the mead hall like a shocking change of key.
One has to be just a little crazy to write a great novel
[the writer] must copy, with his finite mind, the process of the infinite 'I AM.
I have eaten several priests. They sit on the stomach like duck eggs.
The best way in the world for breaking up a writer's block is to write a lot.
My advice to you, my violent friend, is to seek out gold and sit on it.
It is the nature of stupid people to hide their perplexity and attack what they cannot grasp.
He could forget all these people, just like that, become fond again of strangers and leave them too.
Not everyone is capable of writing junk fiction: It requires an authentic junk mind.
What true materialist would settle for a MacDonald's hamburger?
In the final analysis, real suspense comes with moral dilemma and the courage to make and act upon choices. False suspense comes from the accidental and meaningless occurrence of one damned thing after another.
Mickelsson looked at her, surprised to discover that she was stupid.
He was saner than anyone --had fallen out of the world of illusion: love, interesting work, hope for the future.
Most creative-writing teachers have had the experience of occasionally helping to produce, by accident, a pornographer.
The writer is more servant than master of his story.
Where religious values might be relative, intellectual values fleeting, moral values ambiguous, and aesthetic values dependent upon an observer, the existence of any thing is infinite.
That is their happiness: they see all life without observing it. They’re buried in it like crabs in mud. Except men, of course. I am not in a mood, just yet, to talk of men.
Yes! Clumly had thought. There it was. Whatever it meant, spiritualistic trash for old ladies or the roaring secret of life and death, for a minute there Clumly had believed he wanted to know.
Heidegger’s parlamblings on ‘Nothing’ and ‘Not’ and ‘the Nothing that Nothings’ were the last supposedly respectable gasp of classical philosophy.
Only very odd people don’t realize that truth-telling is always a relative value.
We move through a course on Dostoevsky or Poe as we move through a mildly good cocktail party...Art...is less like a cocktail party thank a tank of shark.
In the town, children go down on their backs in the drifted snow and move their arms and, when they rise, leave behind them impressions, mysterious and ominous, of winged creatures.