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100 Top Wallace Stegner Quotes To Learn From

Famous As: Author
Born On: February 18, 1909
Died On: April 13, 1993
Born In: Lake Mills
Founder / Co Founder: Committee for Green Foothills
Died At Age: 84

Wallace Earle Stegner, well-known as the ‘Dean of Western Writers’, was an American historian, environmentalists, novelist and short story writer who encourage the need for preserving the West in younger generation of authors. This world-famous author received Commonwealth Club Gold Medal for ‘All the Little live Things’ (1967), Pulitzer Prize for ‘Angle of Repose’ (1972) and the U.S. National Book Award for The Spectator Bird (1977).It’s unfair to categorize him as merely a ‘western writer’. His works cover both non-fiction and fiction ideas upholding conservation ideals. Books like Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs, The Big Rock Candy Mountain, Living and Writing in the West and Beyond the Hundredth Meridian earned him millions of followers in his life time. A collection of short essays on significant issues earned him the famous National Book Critics Circle nomination. Stegner believed a fiction writer has no other agenda but to tell truth. This ideology inspired several aspiring American writers to seek and present their own version of truth in their writing. Having a flair for reading writing and researching, Stegner wanted to belong to something and he did, to Western environment, history and culture. We have collected his quotes from his most popular works and writings. Here is a collection of best Wallace Earle Stegner quotes!

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Most things break, including hearts. The lessons of life amount not to
wisdom, but to scar tissue and callus.

Most things break, including hearts. The lessons of life amount not to wisdom, but to scar tissue and callus.

Wallace Stegner
Home is a notion that only nations of the homeless fully appreciate and only the uprooted comprehend.

Home is a notion that only nations of the homeless fully appreciate and only the uprooted comprehend.

Wallace Stegner
Wisdom. . .is knowing what you have to accept.

Wisdom. . .is knowing what you have to accept.

Wallace Stegner
It is an easy mistake to think that non-talkers are non-feelers.

It is an easy mistake to think that non-talkers are non-feelers.

Wallace Stegner
It is the beginning of wisdom when you recognize that the best you can do is choose which rules you want to live by, and it's persistent and aggravated imbecility to pretend you can live without any.

It is the beginning of wisdom when you recognize that the best you can do is choose which rules you want to live by, and it's persistent and aggravated imbecility to pretend you can live without any.

Wallace Stegner
The lessons of life amount not to wisdom, but to scar tissue and callus.

The lessons of life amount not to wisdom, but to scar tissue and callus.

Wallace Stegner
He used to tell me, 'Do what you like to do. It'll probably turn out to be what you do best.

He used to tell me, 'Do what you like to do. It'll probably turn out to be what you do best.

Wallace Stegner
There it was, there it is, the place where during the best time of our lives friendship had its home and happiness its headquarters.

There it was, there it is, the place where during the best time of our lives friendship had its home and happiness its headquarters.

Wallace Stegner
She had rooms in her mind that she would not look into.

She had rooms in her mind that she would not look into.

Wallace Stegner
Be proud of every scar on your heart, each one holds a lifetime’s worth of lessons.

Be proud of every scar on your heart, each one holds a lifetime’s worth of lessons.

Wallace Stegner
There is a sense in which we are all each other's consequences.

There is a sense in which we are all each other's consequences.

Wallace Stegner
We write to make sense of it all.

We write to make sense of it all.

Wallace Stegner
Youth hasn't got anything to do with chronological age. It's times of hope and happiness.

Youth hasn't got anything to do with chronological age. It's times of hope and happiness.

Wallace Stegner
You'll do what you think you want to do, or what you think you ought to do. If you're very lucky, luckier than anybody I know, the two will coincide.

You'll do what you think you want to do, or what you think you ought to do. If you're very lucky, luckier than anybody I know, the two will coincide.

Wallace Stegner
Towns are like people. Old ones often have character, the new ones are interchangeable.

Towns are like people. Old ones often have character, the new ones are interchangeable.

Wallace Stegner
I shall be richer all my life for this sorrow

I shall be richer all my life for this sorrow

Wallace Stegner
Our last impression of her as she turned the corner was that smile, flung backward like a handful of flowers.

Our last impression of her as she turned the corner was that smile, flung backward like a handful of flowers.

Wallace Stegner
Do we respond only to people who seem to find us interesting?

Do we respond only to people who seem to find us interesting?

Wallace Stegner
You can't retire to weakness -- you've got to learn to control strength.

You can't retire to weakness -- you've got to learn to control strength.

Wallace Stegner
In a way, it is beautiful to be young and hard up. With the right wife, and I had her, deprivation became a game.

In a way, it is beautiful to be young and hard up. With the right wife, and I had her, deprivation became a game.

Wallace Stegner
A writer is an organism that will go on writing even after its heart has been cut out.

A writer is an organism that will go on writing even after its heart has been cut out.

Wallace Stegner
It is love and friendship, the sanctity and celebration of our relationships, that not only support a good life, but create one. Through friendships, we spark and inspire one another's ambitions.

It is love and friendship, the sanctity and celebration of our relationships, that not only support a good life, but create one. Through friendships, we spark and inspire one another's ambitions.

Wallace Stegner
Wherever you find the greatest good, you will find the greatest evil, because evil loves paradise as much as good.

Wherever you find the greatest good, you will find the greatest evil, because evil loves paradise as much as good.

Wallace Stegner
You married me...but you didn't marry what you could make out of me.

You married me...but you didn't marry what you could make out of me.

Wallace Stegner
It's easier to die than to move ... at least for the Other Side you don't need trunks.

It's easier to die than to move ... at least for the Other Side you don't need trunks.

Wallace Stegner
No life goes past so swiftly as an eventless one, no clock spins like a clock whose days are all alike.

No life goes past so swiftly as an eventless one, no clock spins like a clock whose days are all alike.

Wallace Stegner
Faith can reclaim deserts as well as move mountains.

Faith can reclaim deserts as well as move mountains.

Wallace Stegner
Hope was always out ahead of fact, possibility obscured the outlines of reality.

Hope was always out ahead of fact, possibility obscured the outlines of reality.

Wallace Stegner
We are fossils in the making.

We are fossils in the making.

Wallace Stegner
No one who has studied Western history can cling to the belief that the Nazis invented genocide.

No one who has studied Western history can cling to the belief that the Nazis invented genocide.

Wallace Stegner
This early piece of the morning is mine.

This early piece of the morning is mine.

Wallace Stegner
Nothing is so safe as habit, even when habit is faked.

Nothing is so safe as habit, even when habit is faked.

Wallace Stegner
The perfect weather of Indian Summer lengthened and lingered, warm sunny days were followed by brisk nights with Halloween a presentiment in the air.

The perfect weather of Indian Summer lengthened and lingered, warm sunny days were followed by brisk nights with Halloween a presentiment in the air.

Wallace Stegner
Creation is a knack which is empowered by practice, and like almost any skill, it is lost if you don't practice it.

Creation is a knack which is empowered by practice, and like almost any skill, it is lost if you don't practice it.

Wallace Stegner
I know no way of discounting the doctrine that when you take something you want, and damn the consequences, then you had better be ready to accept whatever consequences ensue.

I know no way of discounting the doctrine that when you take something you want, and damn the consequences, then you had better be ready to accept whatever consequences ensue.

Wallace Stegner
How do I know what I think till I see what I say?

How do I know what I think till I see what I say?

Wallace Stegner
We made plenty of mistakes, but we never tripped anybody to gain an advantage, or took illegal shortcuts when no judge was around. We have all jogged and panted it out the whole way.

We made plenty of mistakes, but we never tripped anybody to gain an advantage, or took illegal shortcuts when no judge was around. We have all jogged and panted it out the whole way.

Wallace Stegner
His clock was set on pioneer time. He met trains that had not yet arrived, he waited on platforms that hadn't yet been built, beside tracks that might never be laid.

His clock was set on pioneer time. He met trains that had not yet arrived, he waited on platforms that hadn't yet been built, beside tracks that might never be laid.

Wallace Stegner
Hard writing makes easy reading.

Hard writing makes easy reading.

Wallace Stegner
It is almost impossible to write fiction about the Mormons, for the reason that Mormon institutions and Mormon society are so peculiar that they call for constant explanation.

It is almost impossible to write fiction about the Mormons, for the reason that Mormon institutions and Mormon society are so peculiar that they call for constant explanation.

Wallace Stegner
Salt is added to dried rose petals with the perfume and spices, when we store them away in covered jars, the summers of our past.

Salt is added to dried rose petals with the perfume and spices, when we store them away in covered jars, the summers of our past.

Wallace Stegner
[I]t is dangerous for a bride to be apologetic about her husband.

[I]t is dangerous for a bride to be apologetic about her husband.

Wallace Stegner
I hope they have found enough pleasure along the way so that they don't want it ended

I hope they have found enough pleasure along the way so that they don't want it ended

Wallace Stegner
Are writers reporters, prophets, crazies, entertainers, preachers, judges, what?

Are writers reporters, prophets, crazies, entertainers, preachers, judges, what?

Wallace Stegner
There is nothing like a doorbell to precipitate the potential into the kinetic.

There is nothing like a doorbell to precipitate the potential into the kinetic.

Wallace Stegner
There is some history that I want not to have happened. I resist the consequences of being Nemesis.

There is some history that I want not to have happened. I resist the consequences of being Nemesis.

Wallace Stegner
Survival, it is called. Often it is accidental, sometimes it is engineered by creatures or forces that we have no conception of, always it is temporary.

Survival, it is called. Often it is accidental, sometimes it is engineered by creatures or forces that we have no conception of, always it is temporary.

Wallace Stegner
Sally has a smile I would accept as my last view on earth,..

Sally has a smile I would accept as my last view on earth,..

Wallace Stegner
It happens that I despise that locution,

It happens that I despise that locution, "having sex," which describes something a good deal more mechanical than making love and a good deal less fun than fucking.

Wallace Stegner
Satisfying natural desires is fine, but natural desires have a way of being both competitive and consequential.

Satisfying natural desires is fine, but natural desires have a way of being both competitive and consequential.

Wallace Stegner
To have so little, and it of so little value, was to be quaintly free.

To have so little, and it of so little value, was to be quaintly free.

Wallace Stegner
We were two of a kind, the only difference being that he was reverential before all the traditional word magic, and I would steal it if I could. He came to the tradition as a pilgrim, I as a pickpocket.

We were two of a kind, the only difference being that he was reverential before all the traditional word magic, and I would steal it if I could. He came to the tradition as a pilgrim, I as a pickpocket.

Wallace Stegner
What if I can't turn my head? I can look in any direction by turning my wheelchair, and I choose to look back. Rodman to the contrary notwithstanding, that is the only direction we can learn from.

What if I can't turn my head? I can look in any direction by turning my wheelchair, and I choose to look back. Rodman to the contrary notwithstanding, that is the only direction we can learn from.

Wallace Stegner
The air is so crisp it gives me a brief, delusive sense of health and youth.
those I don't have but I have learned not to scorn the substitutes: quiet, plenty of time, and a job to spend it on.

The air is so crisp it gives me a brief, delusive sense of health and youth. those I don't have but I have learned not to scorn the substitutes: quiet, plenty of time, and a job to spend it on.

Wallace Stegner
There is no way to step off the tread mill. It is all treadmill.

There is no way to step off the tread mill. It is all treadmill.

Wallace Stegner
Poetry ought to be a by-product of living, and you can't have a by-product unless you've got a product first.

Poetry ought to be a by-product of living, and you can't have a by-product unless you've got a product first.

Wallace Stegner
Buenos dias,

Buenos dias," she said in response to Hernandez's soft greeting. They had a pact to speak only Spanish to each other, with the result that their conversation never got beyond hello and good-bye.

Wallace Stegner
She was so old, she would have had to be dated by carbon 14.

She was so old, she would have had to be dated by carbon 14.

Wallace Stegner
When you marry into a Mormon family you marry tribes and nations.

When you marry into a Mormon family you marry tribes and nations.

Wallace Stegner
...you must have brought something. Books? I never saw you without a green bag of books.

...you must have brought something. Books? I never saw you without a green bag of books.

Wallace Stegner
There is one thing above all others that I despise. It is fingers, especially female fingers, messing around in my guts. My guts, like Victorian marriage, are private.

There is one thing above all others that I despise. It is fingers, especially female fingers, messing around in my guts. My guts, like Victorian marriage, are private.

Wallace Stegner
Youth hasn’t got anything to do with chronological age. It’s times of hope and happiness.

Youth hasn’t got anything to do with chronological age. It’s times of hope and happiness.

Wallace Stegner
Well, there's so much to read, and I'm so far behind.

Well, there's so much to read, and I'm so far behind.

Wallace Stegner
The meeting of writer and reader is an intimate act, and it properly takes place in private.

The meeting of writer and reader is an intimate act, and it properly takes place in private.

Wallace Stegner
Sally has a smile I would accept as my last view of earth, but it has a certain distance about it, it is under control, you can see her head going on working behind it.

Sally has a smile I would accept as my last view of earth, but it has a certain distance about it, it is under control, you can see her head going on working behind it.

Wallace Stegner
He looks into his Dixie cup and looks back up as if surprised at what he found there. The future, maybe.

He looks into his Dixie cup and looks back up as if surprised at what he found there. The future, maybe.

Wallace Stegner
Wisdom is knowing what you can accept.

Wisdom is knowing what you can accept.

Wallace Stegner
After a day and a half or so the traveler will realize that crossing the continent by Interstate he gets to know the country about as well as a cable messenger knows the sea bottom.

After a day and a half or so the traveler will realize that crossing the continent by Interstate he gets to know the country about as well as a cable messenger knows the sea bottom.

Wallace Stegner
If you avoid the killer diseases and keep the degenerative ones under control with sensible diet and exercise and whatever chemotherapy you need to stay in balance, you can live nearly forever.

If you avoid the killer diseases and keep the degenerative ones under control with sensible diet and exercise and whatever chemotherapy you need to stay in balance, you can live nearly forever.

Wallace Stegner
I tell him I am proud of his genius for construction, but he says he has no genius for anything, he just never knows when he is beaten.

I tell him I am proud of his genius for construction, but he says he has no genius for anything, he just never knows when he is beaten.

Wallace Stegner
The clear lesson of New England’s history is that when there are not enough suitable men around to run the world, women are perfectly capable of doing so.

The clear lesson of New England’s history is that when there are not enough suitable men around to run the world, women are perfectly capable of doing so.

Wallace Stegner
He still wore, in the warming barracks, a muskrat cap with earlaps. Under it his eyes were gray as agates, as sudden as an elbow in the solar plexus.

He still wore, in the warming barracks, a muskrat cap with earlaps. Under it his eyes were gray as agates, as sudden as an elbow in the solar plexus.

Wallace Stegner
There is a sense in which we are all each other’s consequences.

There is a sense in which we are all each other’s consequences.

Wallace Stegner
As moonlight unto sunlight is that desert sage to other greens.

As moonlight unto sunlight is that desert sage to other greens.

Wallace Stegner
Anyone who reads, even one from the remote Southwest at the far end of an attenuated tradition, is to some extent a citizen of the world, and I had been a hungry reader all my life.

Anyone who reads, even one from the remote Southwest at the far end of an attenuated tradition, is to some extent a citizen of the world, and I had been a hungry reader all my life.

Wallace Stegner
What little strength he had left flowed out of him and was soaked up; his bones and veins and skin held nothing but tiredness and pain.

What little strength he had left flowed out of him and was soaked up; his bones and veins and skin held nothing but tiredness and pain.

Wallace Stegner
National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.

National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.

Wallace Stegner
Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed.

Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed.

Wallace Stegner
It is not queer, and both desolating and comforting, how, with all associations broken, one forms new ones, as a broken bone thickens in healing.

It is not queer, and both desolating and comforting, how, with all associations broken, one forms new ones, as a broken bone thickens in healing.

Wallace Stegner
This place is like the back entrance to a black cow.

This place is like the back entrance to a black cow.

Wallace Stegner
We’re all tougher than we think we are. We’re fixed so that almost anything heals.

We’re all tougher than we think we are. We’re fixed so that almost anything heals.

Wallace Stegner
Children from a big family have the benefit of a certain amount of neglect.

Children from a big family have the benefit of a certain amount of neglect.

Wallace Stegner
When we’re young, we take so casually every sacrifice offered by the old.

When we’re young, we take so casually every sacrifice offered by the old.

Wallace Stegner
Habit is my true, my wedded wife.

Habit is my true, my wedded wife.

Wallace Stegner
She was still developing her sundial theory of art, which would count no hours but the sunny ones.

She was still developing her sundial theory of art, which would count no hours but the sunny ones.

Wallace Stegner
Mexico was an interlude of magic between a chapter of defeats and an unturned page.

Mexico was an interlude of magic between a chapter of defeats and an unturned page.

Wallace Stegner
A poet is somebody who has written a poem.

A poet is somebody who has written a poem.

Wallace Stegner
Their humor is underdog humor, a put-down of what is more powerful than they.

Their humor is underdog humor, a put-down of what is more powerful than they.

Wallace Stegner
Maybe we were the Diggers of literature.

Maybe we were the Diggers of literature.

Wallace Stegner
If you wanted something, you planned for it, worked for it, and made it happen.

If you wanted something, you planned for it, worked for it, and made it happen.

Wallace Stegner
Intellectual hare

Intellectual hare

Wallace Stegner
In my experience, the world's happiest man is a young professor building bookcases.

In my experience, the world's happiest man is a young professor building bookcases.

Wallace Stegner
For lack of a keystone, the false arch may be as much as one can expect in this life. Only the very lucky discover the keystone.

For lack of a keystone, the false arch may be as much as one can expect in this life. Only the very lucky discover the keystone.

Wallace Stegner
Poems ought to reflect the work the poet does, and his relationships with other people, and family, and institutions, and organization.

Poems ought to reflect the work the poet does, and his relationships with other people, and family, and institutions, and organization.

Wallace Stegner
A poem isn't selfish. It speaks to people.

A poem isn't selfish. It speaks to people.

Wallace Stegner
For history is a pontoon bridge. Every man walks and works at its building end, and has come as far as he has over the pontoons laid by others he may never have heard of.

For history is a pontoon bridge. Every man walks and works at its building end, and has come as far as he has over the pontoons laid by others he may never have heard of.

Wallace Stegner
When you’re nailing a custard pie to the wall, and it starts to wilt, it doesn’t do any good to hammer in more nails.” Now

When you’re nailing a custard pie to the wall, and it starts to wilt, it doesn’t do any good to hammer in more nails.” Now

Wallace Stegner
Where do I belong in this country? Where is home?

Where do I belong in this country? Where is home?

Wallace Stegner
He says that when asked if he feels like an old man he replies that he does not, he feels like a young man

He says that when asked if he feels like an old man he replies that he does not, he feels like a young man

Wallace Stegner