The creative artist seems to be almost the only kind of man that you could never meet on neutral ground. You can only meet him as an artist. He sees nothing objectively because his own ego is always in the foreground of every picture.
The streets were dark with something more than night.
Show me a man or woman who cannot stand mysteries and I will show you a fool, a clever fool - perhaps - but a fool just the same.
Police business is a hell of a problem. It's a good deal like politics. It asks for the highest type of men, and there's nothing in it to attract the highest type of men.
If you're not tough it's hard to survive in this world; and if you're not kind then you don't deserve to survive.
The test of a writer is whether you want to read him again years after he should by the rules be dated.
The challenge of screenwriting is to say much in little and then take half of that little out and still preserve an effect of leisure and natural movement
When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand.
There is no trap so deadly as the trap you set for yourself.
There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.
There is no bad whiskey. There are only some whiskeys that aren't as good as others.
The minute you try to talk business with him he takes the attitude that he is a gentleman and a scholar, and the moment you try to approach him on the level of his moral integrity he starts to talk business.
He looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food.
A writer who is afraid to overreach himself is as useless as a general who is afraid to be wrong.
She lowered her lashes until they almost cuddled her cheeks and slowly raised them again, like a theatre curtain. I was to get to know that trick. That was supposed to make me roll over on my back with all four paws in the air.
A good story cannot be devised; it has to be distilled.
The girl gave him a look which ought to have stuck at least four inches out of his back.
Throw up into your typewriter every morning. Clean up every noon.
Dead men are heavier than broken hearts.
It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window.
I hung up. It was a good start, but it didn't go far enough. I ought to have locked the door and hidden under the desk.
I'm an occasional drinker, the kind of guy who goes out for a beer and wakes up in Singapore with a full beard.
It seemed like a nice neighborhood to have bad habits in.
To say goodbye is to die a little.
I regard psychiatry as fifty percent bunk, thirty percent fraud, ten percent parrot talk, and the remaining ten percent just a fancy lingo for the common sense we have had for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years, if we ever had the guts to read.
The best way to find out if you have any friends is to go broke. The ones that hang on longest are your friends. I don't mean the ones that hang on forever. There aren't any of those.
Writers who get written about become self-conscious. They develop a regrettable habit of looking at themselves through the eyes of other people. They are no longer alone, they have an investment in critical praise, and they think they must protect it. This leads to a diffusion of effort. The writer watches himself as he works. He grows more subtle and he pays for it by loss of organic dash.
The faster I write the better my output. If I'm going slow, I'm in trouble. It means I'm pushing the words instead of being pulled by them.
Love interest nearly always weakens a mystery because it introduces a type of suspense that is antagonistic to the detective's struggle to solve a problem.
The streets were dark with something more then night.
I think a man ought to get drunk at least twice a year just on principle, so he won't let himself get snotty about it.
Two very simple rules: A. You don't have to write. B. You can't do anything else The rest comes of itself.
As honest as you can expect a man to be in a world where its going out of style.
The keynote of American civilization is a sort of warm-hearted vulgarity. The Americans have none of the irony of the English, none of their cool poise, none of their manner. But they do have friendliness. Where an Englishman would give you his card, an American would very likely give you his shirt.
I merely say that all reading for pleasure is escape, whether it be Greek, mathematics, astronomy, Benedetto Croce, or The Diary of the Forgotten Man. To say otherwise is to be an intellectual snob, and a juvenile at the art of living.
He snorted and hit me in the solar plexus. I bent over and took hold of the room with both hands and spun it. When I had it nicely spinning I gave it a full swing and hit myself on the back of the head with the floor.
The growth of populations has in no way increased the amount [of art], it has merely increasedthe adeptness with which substitutes can be produced and packaged.
There are two kinds of truth; The truth that lights the way and the truth that warms the heart. The fist of these is science and the second is art.
It was a cool day and very clear. You could see a long way-but not as far as Velma had gone.
Technique alone is never enough. You have to have passion. Technique alone is just an embroidered potholder.