You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.
People can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned.
I think that New York is not the cultural centre of America, but the business and administrative centre of American culture.
Alternatives, and particularly desirable alternatives, grow only on imaginary trees.
A man is only as good as what he loves.
The truth is, we've not really developed a fiction that can accommodate the full tumult, the zaniness and crazed quality of modern experience.
There is today an extraordinary interest with the data of modern experience per se. Our absorption in our contemporary historical state is very high right now. It's not altogether unlike a similar situation in seventeenth century Holland, where wealthy merchants wanted their portraits done with all their blemishes included. It is the height of egotism, in a sense, to think even one's blemishes are of significance. So today Americans seem to want their writers to reveal all their weaknesses, their meannesses, to celebrate their very confusions. And they want it in the most direct possible way - they want it served up neat, as it were, without the filtering and generalizing power of fiction.
All a writer has to do to get a woman is to say he's a writer. It's an aphrodisiac.
Our society, like decadent Rome, has turned into an amusement society, with writers chief among the court jesters - not so much above the clatter as part of it.
It's usually the selfish people who are loved the most. They do what you deny yourself, and you love them for it. You give them your heart.
Unexpected intrusions of beauty. This is what life is.
I wonder whether there will ever be enough tranquility under modern circumstances to allow our contemporary Wordsworth to recollect anything. I feel that art has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos. A stillness that characterizes prayer, too, and the eye of the storm. I think that art has something to do with an arrest of attention in the midst of distraction.
The old continued to have one resurgence of foolishness after another, until the organism gave out altogether.
Live or die, but don't poison everything.
With one long breath, caught and held in his chest, he fought his sadness over his solitary life. Don't cry, you idiot! Live or die, but don't poison everything...
Associate with the noblest people you can find; read the best books; live with the mighty; but learn to be happy alone.
There is no limit to the amount of intelligence invested in ignorance when the need for illusion runs deep.
For instance? Well, for instance, what it means to be a man. In a city. In a century. In transition. In a mass. Transformed by science. Under organized power. Subject to tremendous controls. In a condition caused by mechanization. After the late failure of radical hopes. In a society that was no community and devalued the person. Owing to the multiplied power of numbers which made the self negligible. Which spent military billions against foreign enemies but would not pay for order at home. Which permitted savagery and barbarism in its own great cities. At the same time, the pressure of human millions who have discovered what concerted efforts and thoughts can do. As megatons of water shape organisms on the ocean floor. As tides polish stones. As winds hollow cliffs. The beautiful supermachinery opening a new life for innumerable mankind. Would you deny them the right to exist? Would you ask them to labor and go hungry while you yourself enjoyed old-fashioned Values? You—you yourself are a child of this mass and a brother to all the rest. or else an ingrate, dilettante, idiot. There, Herzog, thought Herzog, since you ask for the instance, is the way it runs.
If you could arrange to avoid that routine job-world, you were an intellectual or an artist. Too restless, tremorous, agitated, too mad to sit at a desk eight hours a day, you needed an institution - a higher institution.
When we ask for advice, we are usually looking for an accomplice.