So why do I write, torturing myself to put it down? Because in spite of myself I've learned some things. Without the possibility of action, all knowledge comes to one labeled "file and forget," and I can neither file nor forget. Nor will certain ideas forget me; they keep filing away at my lethargy, my complacency. Why should I be the one to dream this nightmare?
You start Saul, and end up Paul,' my grandfather had often said. 'When you're a youngun, you Saul, but let life whup your head a bit and you starts to trying to be Paul - though you still Sauls around on the side.
Eclecticism is the word. Like a jazz musician who creates his own style out of the styles around him, I play by ear.
If the word has the potency to revive and make us free, it has also the power to bind, imprison and destroy.
I do not know if all cops are poets, but I know that all cops carry guns with triggers.
Perhaps to lose a sense of where you are implies the danger of losing a sense of who you are.
Power, for the writer....lies in his ability to reveal if only a little bit more about the complexity of humanity.
I am not ashamed of my grandparents for having been slaves. I am only ashamed of myself for having at one time being ashamed.
What and how much had I lost by trying to do only what was expected of me instead of what I myself had wished to do?
At best Americans give but a limited attention to history. Too much happens too rapidly, and before we can evaluate it, or exhaust its meaning or pleasure, there is something new to concern us. Ours is the tempo of the motion picture, not that of the still camera, and we waste experience as we wasted the forest.
When I discover who I am, I'll be free.
Light confirms my reality, gives birth to my form...without light I am not only invisible but formless as well; and to be unaware of one's form is to live a death...the truth is the light and light is the truth.
Education is all a matter of building bridges.
If you can show me how I can cling to that which is real to me, while teaching me a way into the larger society, then and only then will I drop my defenses and hostility, and I will sing your praises and help you to make the desert bear fruit.
Power doesn't have to show off. Power is confident, self-assuring, self-starting and self-stopping, self-warming and self-justifying. When you have it, you know it.
Life is to be lived, not controlled, and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat.
Who knows but that, on the lower frequencies, I speak for you?
I suspect that all the agony that goes into writing is borne precisely because the writer longs for acceptance-but it must be acceptance on his own terms.
the world is just as concrete, ornery, vile, and sublimely wonderful as before, only now I better understand my relation to it and it to me.
I feel the need to reaffirm all of it, the whole unhappy territory and all the things loved and unloveable in it, for it is all part of me.
I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.
Perhaps everyone loved someone; I didn't now, I couldn't give much thought to love; in order to travel far you had to be detached, and I had the long road back to the campus before me.
And I knew that it was better to live out one's absurdity than to die for that of others.
Life is as the sea, art a ship in which man conquers life's crushing formlessness, reducing it to a course, a series of swells, tides and wind currents inscribed on a chart.
And while the ice was melting to form a flood in which I threatened to drown I awoke one afternoon to find that my first northern winter had set.
Every serious novel is, beyond its immediate thematic preoccupations, a discussion of the craft, a conquest of the form, a conflict with its difficulties and a pursuit of its felicities and beauty.
It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: That I am nobody but myself.
The blues is an impulse to keep the painful details and episodes of a brutal experience alive in one's aching consciousness, to finger its jagged grain, and to transcend it, not by the consolation of philosophy but by squeezing from it a near-tragic, near-comic lyricism. As a form, the blues is an autobiographical chronicle of personal catastrophe expressed lyrically.
The world is a possibility if only you'll discover it.
The blues is an art of ambiguity, an assertion of the irrepressibly human over all circumstances, whether created by others or by one's own human failing.
Had the price of looking been blindness, I would have looked.
We look too much to museums. The sun coming up in the morning is enough.
Good fiction is made of that which is real, and reality is difficult to come by.
There must be possible a fiction which, leaving sociology and case histories to the scientists, can arrive at the truth about the human condition, here and now, with all the bright magic of the fairy tale.
I am one of the most irresponsible beings that ever lived. Irresponsibility is part of my invisibility; any way you face it, it is a denial. But to whom can I be responsible, and why should I be, when you refuse to see me?
I remember that I'm invisible and walk softly so as not awake the sleeping ones. Sometimes it is best not to awaken them; there are few things in the world as dangerous as sleepwalkers.
Without involvement, there is no commitment. Mark it down, asterisk it, circle it, underline it." Stephen Covey "It takes a deep commitment to change and an even deeper commitment to grow.
The end is in the beginning and lies far ahead.
I blundered into writing.
We don't all dig Shakespeare uniformly, or even 'Little Red Riding Hood.' The understanding of art depends finally upon one's willingness to extend one's humanity and one's knowledge of human life.