I don't travel and tell stories, because that's not the way these days. But I write my books to be read aloud, and I think of myself in that oral tradition.
I'm actually writing history. It isn't what you'd call big history. I don't write about presidents and generals... I write about the man who was ranching, the man who was mining, the man who was opening up the country.
If you write a book about a bygone period that lies east of the Mississippi River, then it's a historical novel. If it's west of the Mississippi, it's a western, a different category. There's no sense to it.
I start with a character and a situation, but I don't know what's going to happen until I write it. Sometimes things happen that surprise me.
I think it's time that we have a women's show about the West. The concentration has been on the men and the Indians.
I think of myself... as a troubadour, a village storyteller, the guy in the shadows of the campfire.
The key to understanding any people is in its art: its writing, painting, sculpture.
We do not at present educate people to think but, rather, to have opinions, and that is something altogether different.
If you're going to be a writer, the first essential is just to write. Do not wait for an idea. Start writing something and the ideas will come. You have to turn the faucet on before the water starts to flow.
One who returns to a place sees it with new eyes. Although the place may not have changed, the viewer inevitably has. For the first time things invisible before become suddenly visible.
This-this was what made life: a moment of quiet, the water falling in the fountain, the girl's voice. . . a moment of captured beauty. Those who are truly wise will never permit such moments to escape.
Love is a moment of stillness that sometimes a word can shatter to pieces. Or love can be a thing that endures, a rich, deep current flowing unending through the years.
There are good men everywhere. I only wish they had louder voices.
Men strive for peace, but it is their enemies that give them strength, and I think if man no longer had enemies, he would have to invent them, for his strength only grows from struggle.
The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast, and you miss all you are traveling for.
I am somebody. I am me. And I don't need anybody to make me somebody.
The saddle is a place for dreaming when there's hours of trail ahead....
Only one who has learned much can fully appreciate his ignorance.
There is nothing more dangerous than a woman with a shotgun. Because you don't know when it's going to go off...and neither does she.
Long ago I learned nothing gets done by just wishing it. You have to do it.
To make democracy work, we must be a nation of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.
One never realizes how much and how little he knows until he starts talking.
Actually, all education is self-education. A teacher is only a guide, to point out the way, and no school, no matter how excellent, can give you education. What you receive is like the outlines in a child's coloring book. You must fill in the colors yourself.
A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner, so if one's life is cold and bare he can blame none but himself. You have a chance to select from pretty elegant furnishings.
When I die, remember that what you knew of me is with you always. What is buried is only the shell of what was. Do not regret the shell, but remember the man. Remember the father.
Victory is won not in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later, win a little more.
There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. Yet that will be the beginning.
Do not let yourself be bothered by the inconsequential. One has only so much time in this world, so devote it to the work and the people most important to you, to those you love and things that matter. One can waste half a lifetime with people one doesn't really like, or doing things when one would be better off somewhere else.
My future is one I must make myself.
Up to a point a person's life is shaped by environment, heredity, and changes in the world about them. Then there comes a time when it lies within their grasp to shape the clay of their life into the sort of thing they wish it to be. Only the weak blame parents, their race, their times, lack of good fortune or the quirks of fate. Everyone has the power to say, "This I am today. That I shall be tomorrow.
I think of myself in the oral tradition-as a troubadour, a village tale-teller, the man in the shadows of the campfire. That's the way I'd like to be remembered-as a storyteller. A good storyteller.
Dogma is invariably wrong, as knowledge is always in a state of transition.
Historical novels are, without question, the best way of teaching history, for they offer the human stories behind the events and leave the reader with a desire to know more.
In the United States we have concentrated tremendous sums of money on the educational plant, seemingly with the idea that the right number of buildings will turn out the right number of graduates. Yet the teachers who actually instruct the future citizens of our country are more often than not miserably paid. If in the future we find ourselves with a lot of fourth-rate citizens, we have only ourselves to blame.
Sometimes we have the dream but we are not ourselves ready for the dream. We have to grow to meet it.
Folks who talk about no violence are always the ones who are first to call a policeman and usually they are sure there is one handy.
Have faith in God but keep your powder dry.
A wise man fights to win, but he is twice a fool who has no plan for possible defeat.
Mountains should not be judged by altitude.
A man can lose sight of everything else when he's bent on revenge, and it ain't worth it.