Butterfly Mummies, Long Ago Love Affairs and Four-Leaf Clovers

Listen to Jim’s podcast:

http://redclaydiary.com/mp3/butterflymummieslongagolove.mp3

or read his story below:

Butterfly Mummies, Long Ago Love Affairs and Four-Leaf Clovers

A lone customer sits huddled in the shadow of the old post office in the Museum of Fond Memories. She peers intensely at the open letter in her hands, a letter dated in pen and ink, “August, 1909.”

The carefully structured letter recounts, in several pages, a day in the life of the long-gone author, a narrative intended for the eyes and heart of the reader, who is simply named James. It’s a love note.

Earlier, the customer finds a postcard dated 1899, with “Wish you were here!” cheerfully signed by Alice, who is visiting St. Louis.  One small notebook reveals a four-leaf clover, pressed there in 1933. A butterfly wisps its way through the air and onto the floor. It is perfectly preserved inside a pamphlet on Manners, dated 1889. A 1952 telegram in the letter box announces with regret the death of a family member, an old dance card lists the signatures of men who once whirled the light fantastic with a seventeen-year-old girl, an envelope yields its contents–one silky bookmark with tassel, a tattered photograph from 1922 forever freezes in place the smiling faces of two young swim-suited moms at the beach with kids amok.

The customer, now lost in time, is in her third hour of trolling the generations. She is beginning to feel hunger, she knows there is much else to do outside this old bookstore, but she is reluctant to leave, now that these foundlings are begging to be adopted and nurtured.

She adds the love letter to her small affordable stack of paper ephemera, stands up to stretch, folds the metal chair and leans it in its place, then walks dreamily to the counter where the elderly proprietor awaits.

Her smile is sad and jubilant. “I love these things. I wish I could buy them all!”

The shopkeeper glows. “I’m so glad you appreciate these lives, and I’m even more glad that you plan to adopt them and keep them safe”

It is an idiosyncrasy of the owner that he views the contents of his shop as orphans awaiting the protection of adoptive parents. He is grateful that at least this one customer “gets” it.

The woman pays for her selections and clutches package and purse to her chest as she slowly heads for the front door. As she moves, she tenderly touches and examines other old memories, a frayed book, a newspaper clipping, an ancient valentine…and eventually exits the shop.

The proprietor walks over to the metal post office boxes, straightens up their corner a bit, moves a couple of potential obstructions, and thus prepares the area for a new customer.

He wonders what the next dreamer will be like

 

© Jim Reed 2016 A.D.

jim@jimreedbooks.com

http://www.jimreedbooks.com

http://www.jimreedbooks.com/podcast

Twitter and Facebook

W WORDS FROM THE LIBRARY OF THOUGHT

“All I need is a nice bed and a private jet.”

–Jim Gaffigan

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“The curse of youth is that they think they have time.”
–Jim Reed
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“The role of fiction is to rehearse one’s life.”
–Lois Lowry
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“Of all the Duddies I know, I am the Fuddiest.”

–Jim Reed

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“Life is 100% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.”

– Dennis P. Kimbro

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“Make laughs, not points.”

–Argus Hamilton

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“Far be it from me (it is not really my place) to do battle with someone who holds the power of daily ticketry.”

–Jim Reed

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From an editorial Teddy Roosevelt wrote for the “Kansas City Star” during World War I, May 7, 1918

“The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.”

–Teddy Roosevelt

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“If a man does away with his traditional way of living and throws away his good customs, he had better first make certain that he has something of value to replace them.”

–Basuto proverb

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“Even the worst of us is the best mankind has got–for something.”

–Jonathan Gash

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“We are all the world’s greatest. The only question for each of us is the world’s greatest what.–Jonathan Gash

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“Carbonation is the greatest invention since gravy.”

–Harlan Sanders

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“The camera is an instrument to teach people how to see without a camera.” –Dorothea Lange

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“I can’t go on. I’ll go on.”

–Samuel Beckett

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“I am a frantic multitasker…I do many things poorly, all at once.”

–Ayelet Waldman

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“The longer I live the more I see that I am never wrong about anything.”

–George Bernard Shaw

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“The past is always more pleasant because it isn’t here.”

–Jack Valenti

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“Old age lacks the heavy banquet, the loaded table, and the oft-filled cup. Therefore it also lacks drunkenness, indigestion, and a loss of sleep.”

–Cicero

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“We grow old of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover too late that the only things we never regret are our mistakes.”

–Oscar Wilde

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“Other people were young once, just like you…they broke their hearts over things that now seem trivial. But they were their own hearts, and they had the right to meddle with them in their own way.”

 

–F. Scott Fitzgerald

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“We cannot insure success, but we can deserve it.”

–John Adams

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I can resist everything except temptation.”

–Oscar Wilde

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“My favorite animal is steak.”

–Fran Lebowitz

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“You can fool too many people, too much of the time.”

― James Thurber

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“People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.”

–Harper Lee

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“Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.”

–Leonard Cohen

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“I think there should be laughs in everything. Sometimes, it’s a slammed door, a pie in the face or just a recognition of our frailties.”

–Alan Rickman

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“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.”

–Willy Wonka

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“A play is fiction–and fiction is fact distorted into truth.”

–Edward Albee

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“I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.”

–Umberto Eco

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“Any good idea can be twisted into a bad one by the snarkies of society.”

–Jim Reed

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“Our fellow travelers are watching us, so we must set inspiring standards of behavior. If we fail to do this, what good are we?”

 

–Jim Reed

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“Living a kindly life is difficult. Difficult is the only way anything good ever gets done.”

 

–Jim Reed

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“I cannot keep my hands off books or my mind off the beauty of words and stories.”

 

–Jim Reed

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“Don’t deny the enemy’s existence, just show the ethos that the enemy does not matter, has no effect, exerts zero control…over your innate ability to chuckle.”

 

–Jim Reed

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“The present does not have much heft, since it is either immediately in the past or immediately about to happen.”

 

–Jim Reed

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“We can’t interrupt books; we can only interrupt ourselves while reading them.”

–Will Schwalbe

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“Books demand that we briefly put aside our own beliefs and prejudices and listen to someone else’s.”

–Will Schwalbe

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“The world today does not understand, in man or woman, the need to be alone.”

–Anne Morrow Lindbergh

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“O what fun it is to write.”

–Jim Reed

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“The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.”

–Warren Bennis

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“The Dachaus, the Belsens, the Buchenwalds, the Auschwitzes—all of them. They must remain standing because they are a monument to a moment in time when some men decided to turn the Earth into a graveyard. Into it they shoveled all of their reason, their logic, their knowledge, but worst of all, their conscience. And the moment we forget this, the moment we cease to be haunted by its remembrance, then we become the gravediggers.”

–Rod Serling

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“We are here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is.”

–Mark Vonnegut

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“My job as a reporter is not to know what I think.”

–Gwen Ifill

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“The highest rung of what’s possible is far beyond the world you can see.”

–Trevor Noah

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“The universe is made up of protons, neutrons, electrons and morons.”

–Argus Hamilton

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“Never check an interesting fact.”

–Howard Hughes

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“Rage is a form of dishonesty because it precludes the reflection that leads to truth.”

–Roger Cohen

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“Failure is a badge of honor. It means you risked failure.”

–Sarah Silverman

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“I’d like to be a medium fish in an insignificant pond. Wait! Isn’t that what I  am?”

–Jim Reed

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“Aging is an extraordinary process whereby you become the person you always should have been.”

–David Bowie

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“There is only now.”

–George Balanchine

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“What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow: this is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.”

–Hillel

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“Nothing can be better for us unless it is better for all.”

— Jean-Paul Sartre

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“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

–Steve Martin

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“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

–Jack London

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“If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple of payments.”

–Steven Wright

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“There is only now.”

–George Balanchine

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“Everywhere I have sought rest and found it not except sitting apart in a nook with a little book.”

–Thomas Kempis

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“Even massive empires begin with just a pair of hands.”

–Jeremy Sorese

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“What a sense of superiority it gives one to escape reading a book which everyone else is reading.”

–Alice James

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“I’m not going anywhere. I’ve already been where I’m going.”

–Jim Reed

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“We daydreamers are guilty of wistful thinking.”

–Jim Reed

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“Our future is shaped by our past…so be very careful what you do in your past.”

–Ziggy

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“When laughing children chase after fireflies, they are not pursuing beetles but catching wonder.”

–David George Haskell

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“Live one day at a time. If you try to live seven days at a time, the week will be over before you know it.”

–Sally Brown

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“The best grace is the consciousness that we have earned our dinner.”

–John Ruskin

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“Cheer up. Life isn’t everything.”

–Mike Nichols

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“See, that’s the thing that really sucks about death–no forwarding address.”

–Carol Leifer

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“Never put your baby’s length on a birth announcement. It’s a baby, not a marlin.”

–Carol Leifer

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“Every time you hear yourself making some blanket statement like, “I’m very insecure…I need a lot of attention and reassurance,” I’d suggest that you add these three words, “up until now.”  Every time you do that, you’re making a break with the past.  You’re giving yourself permission to change.”

–Anita Goldstein

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“Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction.”

–Harry Truman

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“I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time.”

–E. B. White

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“There are two kinds of light—the glow that illumines and the glare that obscures.”

–James Thurber

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“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy to a friend.”

–Martin Luther King, Jr.

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“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

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–William Arthur Ward

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“A place that ever was lived in is like a fire that never goes out.”

–Eudora Welty

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“A man will go out with a woman if she’s really different from other women…the difference being she’ll go out with him.”

–Alfred E. Neuman

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“The suburbs are where they cut down all the trees and then name the streets after them.”

–Alfred E. Neuman

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“The only thing in the world worth a damn is the strange, touching, pathetic, awesome nobility of the individual human spirit.”

–John D. MacDonald

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“The early bird who gets the worm works for somebody who comes in late and owns the worm farm.”

–Travis McGee (John D. MacDonald)

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“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”

–Voltaire

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“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

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“At seventy-seven it is time to be earnest.”

–Samuel Johnson

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“Every noble activity makes room for itself.”

–Emerson

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“Beware of the fury of a patient man.”

–Dryden

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“Ah! If you only knew the peace there is in an accepted sorrow.”

–Mme. Guion

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“If you have lived a day, you have seen everything.”

–Montaigne

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“Either men journey to the stars, there to take fresh root–or they perish to no apparent purpose, a mere incident in time’s eternity.”

–James Strong

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“Freedom of choice consists in always being able to choose otherwise, no matter what one has chosen earlier.”

–Mortimer Adler

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“Poets are born–not paid.”

–Lord Dewar

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“I hate scarce smiles; I love laughing.”

–William Blake

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“Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind.”

–Samuel Ullman

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“Americans love to drink coffee all day because it keeps them awake until it’s time to get drunk.”

–Argus Hamilton

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“Write it in your heart that every day is the best day of the year.”

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

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“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”

–Mark Twain

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“It is only possible to live happily-ever-after on a day-to-day basis.”

–Margaret Bonnano

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“Religion will not endure when it endows God with whiskers.”

–Walter Karig

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“The following preface to this book should be skipped entirely. It is boring, full of irrelevant details and allusions to persons and places (most of them perished) nobody ever heard of,  and having nothing to do with this story.”

–Walter Karig

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“All grown-ups were once children, but only a few of them remember it.”

–Antoine de Saint Exupery

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“It takes a long time to grow young”

–Pablo Picasso

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“All kids need is a little help, a little hope, and somebody who believes in them”

–Magic Johnson

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“Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it’s tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.”

–Antoine de Saint Exupery

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“What if you examined a work of art as carefully as you read a book? What if you glanced through the pages of a book as quickly as you viewed a work of art?”

–Jim Reed

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“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

–Roald Dahl

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CHRIS FARLEY UNWITTINGLY CHANGES MY LIFE FOREVER

By Sarah Silverman

My stint at Saturday Night Live was quick and painful…But it was a singular experience I wouldn’t trade. And there was at least one moment that continues to have a positive effect on my mental health on a daily basis.   Chris Farley and I had gotten to rehearsal early. We sat side by side, legs dangling off the edge of the main stage of the studio. “Can you believe this?” he asked. “Can you believe we’re sitting on the same stage that John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd were on? PERFORMING on the same stage they PERFORMED on?” He teemed with all the excitement and thrill and wonder that I should have had as a first-year SNL-er. So far from jaded—something he never seemed to become—Chris was downright awestruck, even three years into his tenure at SNL, in the thick of becoming a comedy legend.   I was taken aback by Chris’s ability to be so earnest and joyful. Me, I’d been too gripped by fear to feel anything else. This quiet, coincidental moment with Chris made me realize, “I’d better feel this NOW,” and it remains a kind of mantra for me. This was surely not a defining moment for Chris—he was most likely passing the time, filling in an awkward encounter with a newbie with some friendly words, but it meant the world to me and has made the rest of my life a better place. And it’s because of him that I now sit on the set of my own TV show between takes and yell, “You guys!! Can you believe this?? We’re making a real TV show!! This is going to be on TELEVISION!” They laugh at me, but I mean it. It’s a joy.

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“What is a great novel, really, but a world entire into which the reader sinks, to emerge, hours later, blinking, into a real life that seems somehow less real than what is on the page?”

–Anna Quindlen

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We are Love

We are One We are how we treat each other when the day is done. We are Peace We are War We are how we treat each other and Nothing More.”

–Alternate Routes

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“Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say.”

–Andy Stanley

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Guys, “we (women) think it’s wonderful when you surprise us with a surprise we have already planned for you to surprise us with.”

–Ellie Kemper

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“I can’t take a well-tanned person seriously.”

–Cleveland Amory

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“I’m an idealist: I don’t know where I’m going but I’m on my way.”

–Carl Sandburg

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“It’s not that I’m afraid to die. It’s just that I don’t want to be there when it happens.”

–Woody Allen

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“I found people looked better when they laughed.”

 –Mort Sahl

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“Laryngitis is God’s gift to people who know everything.”

–Argus Hamilton

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“My philosophy is that anything worth doing is too hard.”

–Scott Adams

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“Writing forces me to ignore the obvious and concentrate on the important.”

–Jim Reed

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“You’re in pretty good shape for the shape you are in.”

–Dr. Seuss

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“I still climb Mount Everest just as often as I used to.”

–Dr. Seuss

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“Dealing in subjects that are over your head keeps you from having to duck.”

–Jim Reed

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“Some people persist in telling me all manner of things on a don’t-need-to-know basis.”

–Jim Reed

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“People are tougher than they appear, and far more frail than they act.”

–Jim Reed

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“Most of what happens in our lives takes place in our absence.”

–Salman Rushdie

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“Many very fine writers are intimidated when they have to write the way people really talk. Actually it’s quite easy. Simply lower your IQ by fifty and start typing!”

–Steve Martin

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“As things get worse, poetry gets better, because it becomes more necessary.”

–Eileen Myles

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“A million candles have burned themselves out. Still I read on.”

–Edgar Allan Poe

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“A woman who is looking for a husband has never had one.”

–Lillian Vernon

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“All life is six-to-five against, just enough to keep you interested.”

–Damon Runyon and Peter Maas

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“I’d kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.”

–Steven Wright

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“As we grow older and realize more clearly the limitations of human happiness, we come to see that the only real and abiding pleasure in life is to give pleasure to other people.”

–P.G. Wodehouse

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“Maybe creating itself is all the fun the universe gets.”

–Don Marquis

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“Everyone has talent; what is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.”

–Erica Jong

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“Every solution of a problem is a new problem.”

–Goethe

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“We can never know completely what we do not love.”

–Aldous Huxley

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“To be ignorant of one’s ignorance is the malady of ignorance.”

–A. Bronson Alcott

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“A  house that does not have one worn, comfy chair in it is soulless.”

–May Sarton

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“On the whole, human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time.”

–George Orwell

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“Faith which does not doubt is a dead faith.”

–Miguel de Unamuno

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“Facts do not cease to exist just because they are ignored.”

–Aldous Huxley

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“One man’s folly is another man’s wife.”

–Helen Rowland

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“You don’t have to suffer to be a poet. Adolescence is enough suffering for anyone.” –John Ciardi

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“To achieve great things we must live as if we were never going to die.”

–Marquis de Vauvenargues

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“I’m against picketing, but I don’t know how to show it.” –Mitch Hedberg

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“You know there is a problem with the education system when you realize that out of the three R’s, only one begins with an R.”

–Dennis Miller

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“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

–Martin Luther King Jr.

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“The two most powerful days in your life are the day you are born and the day you discover why.”

 

–Boniface Mwangi

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“Sleeping is like being dead without the commitment.”

 

–Karen Quan

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“A real friend is one who will tell you of your faults and follies in prosperity, and assist you with his hand and heart in adversity.”

–Horace Smith

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“Friendship is one soul in two bodies.”

–Pythagoras

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“Friendship consists in  forgetting what one gives, and remembering what one receives.”

–Dumas fils

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“The magic of words is that they outlive you. They persevere even if you don’t.”

–Jim Reed

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“Do the right thing right now. Hug your family, lend a hand to someone in pain, stay out of other people’s belief systems and dogmas, look to your immediate circumstances for peace and kindness.”

–Jim Reed

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“Thus through half-belief, we are often doomed to repeat that very past we should have learned from.”

–Ray Bradbury

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“A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight.”

–Robertson Davies

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“I’m for anything that gets you through the night, be it prayer, tranquilizers, or a bottle of Jack Daniel’s.”

–Frank Sinatra

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“I’m too old to grow up.”

–Amos Halftrack

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“Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do. Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.”

–Mark Twain

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“Real historical understanding is not achieved by the subordination of the past to the present, but rather by our making the past our present and attempting to see life with the eyes of another century than our own.”

–Herbert Butterfield

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“I’ve always been terrified of getting used to something that is actually killing

me—a relationship or a job. But in those cases, you can count on a friend to say something. The Internet is different, because all my friends are in the same relationship.”

–Miranda July

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*

 

“Life is something that happens when you can’t get to sleep.”

–Fran Lebowitz

*

*

*

*

 

“Tonight’s forecast: Dark. Continued dark tonight turning to partly light in the morning.”

–George Carlin

*

*

*

*

 

“Most people do not consider dawn to be an attractive experience–unless they are still up.”

–Ellen Goodman

*

*

*

*

 

“People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.”

–Thomas Merton

*

*

*

*

 

“What good is happiness if you can’t buy money with it?”

–Dean Martin

*

*

*

*

 

“Freedom of the press…is freedom to print such of the proprietor’s prejudices as the advertisers don’t object to.”

–Hannen Swaffer

*

*

*

*

 

“The beginning and end of all literary activity is the reproduction of the world that surrounds me by means of the world that is in me.”

–Goethe

*

*

*

*

 

“Blessed are the cracked; for it is they who let in the light.”

–Groucho Marx *

*

*

*

*

 

“Which comes first, the fried chicken or the fried egg?”

–Davey Williams

*

*

*

*

 

“You should never do too much of one thing. You have to leave people saying, ‘If she had done even more it would have been better.’ Let them suffer!” -

–Sophia Loren

*

*

*

*

 

“If you’re going to pursue something, you should start where you might be the luckiest…you can call it character, you can call it perseverance, but if you want to get lucky, stay at it.”

–Tom Selleck

*

*

*

*

 

“Deceased Veterans didn’t die for me, they just died instead of me.”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

 

“Happiness? That’s nothing more than health and a poor memory.”

–Albert Schweitzer

*

*

*

*

 

“Any event, once it has occurred, can be made to appear inevitable by a competent historian.”

–Lee Simonson

*

*

*

*

 

“Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.”

–Will Rogers

*

*

*

*

 

“When we remember that we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.”

–Mark Twain

*

*

*

*

 

“I prefer the errors of enthusiasm to the indifference of wisdom.”

–Anatole France

*

*

*

*

 

“When I am dead, I hope it may be said: ‘His sins were scarlet, but his books were read.”

–Hilaire Belloc

*

*

*

*

 

“When you put down the good things you ought to have done, and leave out the bad things you did do—well, that’s memoirs.”

–Will Rogers

*

*

*

*

 

“It has been said that writing comes more easily if you have something to say.”

–Sholem Asch

*

*

*

*

 

“The writers shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it.”

–Anais Nin

*

*

*

*

 

“It takes a long time to become young.”

–Pablo Picasso

*

*

*

*

 

“Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly. Kiss slowly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile.”

–Mark Twain

*

*

*

*

 

“Get a pet for your children. It teaches them to love something. This is much easier than teaching them to love each other.”

–Phyllis Diller

*

*

*

*

 

“Keep your nose clean so you can smell a phony.”

–Bob & Ray

*

*

*

*

 

“Things never were ‘the way they used to be.’ Things never will be ‘the way it’s going to be someday.’ Things are always just the way they are for the time being. And the time being is always in motion.”

 

–Alexander Evangeli Xenopouloudakis

*

*

*

*

“I have noticed that nothing I never said ever did me any harm.”

 

–Calvin Coolidge

*

*

*

*

“Pain is deeper than all thought, laughter is higher than all pain.”

 

–Elbert Hubbard

*

*

*

*

“If you’re a bird, be an early bird–but if you’re a worm, sleep late.”

 

–Shel Silverstein

*

*

*

*

“To the question whether I am a pessimist or an optimist, I answer that my knowledge is pessimistic, but my willing and hoping are optimistic.”

 

–Albert Schweitzer

*

*

*

*

“Generally speaking the question of who’s crazy and who’s not crazy is decided by the person with the key.”

 

–Argus Hamilton

*

*

*

*

“You (humans) are at your very best when things are worst.”

 

–Starman

*

*

*

*

“For the soundest of evolutionary reasons man appears at his best when times are worst.”

 

–Robert Ardrey

*

*

*

*

“There ain’t no answer.

There ain’t going to be any answer.

There never has been an answer.

That’s the answer.”

 

–Gertrude Stein

*

*

*

*

“You have to learn to get up from the table when love is no longer being served.”

 

–Nina Simone

*

*

*

*

“If you know how to read, you have it in your power to magnify yourself, to multiply the ways in which you exist, to make your life full, significant and interesting.”

 

–Aldous Huxley

*

*

*

*

*

“My definition of an intellectual is someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture without thinking of the Lone Ranger.”

–Billy Connolly

 

“Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering – because you can’t take it in all at once.”

–Audrey Hepburn

*

*

*

*

“In war the result is never final. The defeated state often considers the outcome merely as a transitory evil, for which a remedy may still be found.”

–Carl von Clausewitz

*

*

*

“I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea.”

–Dylan Thomas

*

*

*

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”

–Jorge Luis Borges

*

*

*

*

“Just purchased the Large Hadron Collider. Support says I should talk to the adminstrator; the administrator says I should call support.”

–Steve Martin

*

*

*

*

“Look for a lovely thing and you will find it, It is not far—It never will be far.”

–Sara Teasdale

*

*

*

*

“Ordinary life does not interest me. I seek only the high moments. I am in accord with the surrealists, searching for the marvelous.”

–Anais Nin

*

*

*

“I am aware of being in a beautiful prison, from which I can only escape by writing.”

–Anais Nin

*

*

*

“I really love the stage…Why, if I had to work for nothing, I’d quit tomorrow.”

–Bob Hope

*

*

*

“The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you.”

–B. B. King

*

*

*

*

*

“Would a barrel of monkeys be fun or just uncomfortable for the monkeys?”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

“Do trifles only come in meres?”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

“Ever needed to have your hackles lowered?”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

“Have leaping fish been told to go jump in the air?”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

“If you see water spots on a glass that’s half full, are you being pessimistic?”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

“If you don’t know why there’s no sun up in the sky, have you considered it might be nighttime?”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

“On a cloudy day you can see not quite forever.”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

“Does Freddy Kruger own a nail clipper? Would he associate with the likes of Edward Scissorhands? Or Captain Hook?”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

“If a dream is a wish your heart makes, does a nightmare count, too?”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

“I don’t believe in astrology; I’m a Sagittarius, and we’re skeptical.”

–Arthur C. Clarke

*

*

*

“The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.”

–Benjamin E. Mays

*

*

*

“The greatest obstacle to discovering the shape of the earth, the continents and the ocean was not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge.”

–Daniel J. Boorstin

*

*

*

“All growth is a leap in the dark.”

–Henry Miller

*

*

*

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it’s the journey that matters, in the end.”

–Ursula K. Le Guin

*

*

*

“In real life, I assure you, there is no such thing as algebra.”

–Fran Lebowitz

*

*

*

“The basis of all good human behavior is kindness.”

–Eleanor Roosevelt

*

*

*

“A man is not dead while his name is still spoken.”

—Terry Pratchett

*

*

*

*

 

“The world will be here, with or without us, until the sun dies, 5 billion years hence. At that point, the sun’s atmosphere will have expanded to engulf the entire orbits of Mercury, Venus, and Earth, which will have become charred embers spiraling, one by one, to the crucible that is the sun’s core. Have a nice day.”

—Neil deGrasse Tyson

*

*

*

*

 

“A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved.”

—Leonard Nimoy

*

*

*

*

 

“If I read the self-same poem 1000 times, what? If I saw a passing smile one time and one time only–enough for one lifetime? If I saw you the rest of my life, would it be enough?”

—Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

 

“Gaze at this blank page. Don’t touch it. Make no marks thereon. Appreciate its stare. Long for its intrinsic peace.”

—Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

 

“Everyone would have thought him fit to rule if only he never had.”

—Tacitus

*

*

*

*

A fellow who argues with a drunk is abusing an absent man.”

—Horace

*

*

*

*

 

“You come to nature with all her theories, and she knocks them all flat.”

—Renoir

*

*

*

*

 

“The silence of a stupid man looks like wisdom.” —Syrus

*

*

*

*

 

“What differentiates us from animals is our capacity to restrain ourselves.” —Damian Szifron

*

*

*

*

 

“This suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.”

—Oscar Wilde

*

*

*

*

 

“Let us be grateful to the mirror for revealing to us our appearance only.”

—Samuel Butler

*

*

*

*

 

“That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of our time.”

—John Stuart Mill

*

*

*

*

 

“I play golf every chance I get. The world needs more laughter.”

—Bob Hope

*

*

*

*

 

“The uglier a man’s legs are, the better he plays golf—it’s almost a law.”

–H.G. Wells

*

*

*

*

 

“I see people as the nucleus of a great idea that hasn’t come to be yet.”

—Richard Pryor

*

*

*

*

 

“The consciousness of being perfectly dressed may bestow a peace such as religion cannot give.”

—Herbert Spencer

*

*

*

*

 

“I had the evening to kill but it didn’t want to die, and fought back.”

—Jack Benny

*

*

*

*

 

 

“I count it a mistake of our mistaken democracy, that every man who can read print is allowed to believe that he can read all that is printed.”

—D.H. Lawrence

*

*

*

*

 

“The greatest happiness you can have is knowing that you do not necessarily require happiness.”

—William Saroyan

*

*

*

*

 

“I find that principles have no real force except when one is well fed.”

—Mark Twain

*

*

*

*

 

“The most influential books, and the truest in their influence, are works of fiction. They do not pin the reader to a dogma, which he must afterwards discover to be inexact; they do not teach him a lesson, which he must afterwards unlearn. They repeat, they rearrange, they clarify the lessons of life; they disengage us from ourselves, they constrain us to the acquaintance of others; and they show us the web of experience, not as we can see it for ourselves, but with a singular change—that monstrous, consuming ego of ours being, for the nonce, struck out.”

—Robert Louis Stevenson

*

*

*

*

 

“We shouldn’t retire, not in our profession. There’s no such thing. We want to drop dead onstage.”

–Christopher Plummer

*

*

*

*

 

“I have a hard time recognizing that I’m 84. I’m in complete denial, which I think is extremely useful.”

–Frederick Wiseman

*

*

*

*

 

“I’m still trying to grow up, bit by bit by bit. I  kid you not. Even at the age of what it is I am, I’m still trying to grow up.”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

 

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

–Eleanor Roosevelt

*

*

*

*

 

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

–Dr. Seuss

*

*

*

*

 

“The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they’re going to have some pretty annoying virtues.”

–Elizabeth Taylor

*

*

*

*

 

“The meek shall inherit the earth, but not the mineral rights.”

–Craig Johnson

*

*

*

*

 

“Luck exists. It happens. But you have to give it a chance to happen.”

–Jack Finney

*

*

*

*

“Be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”

–Albert Schweitzer

*

*

*

*

“History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illumines reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life and brings us tidings of antiquity.”

–Cicero

*

*

*

 

Why waste time learning, when ignorance is instantaneous?

 

Bill Watterson

*

*

*

*

“To be uncertain is to be uncomfortable, but to be certain is to be ridiculous.”

–Socrates

*

*

*

“I believe in Manifest Density.”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

“I’m a great believer that faith is nice but doubt gets you an education.”

–John Lahr

 

 

*

*

*

*

 

“It was not a bosom to repose upon, but it was a capital bosom to hang jewels upon.”

–Charles Dickens

*

*

*

*

 

“Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.”

–Maya Angelou

*

*

*

*

 

“As in my other works of fiction: All persons living and dead are purely coincidental, and should not be construed. No names have been changed to protect the innocent. Angels protect the innocent as a matter of Heavenly routine.”

–Kurt Vonnegut

*

*

*

*

 

“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.”

–Franz Kafka

*

*

*

*

 

“Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody might be looking.”

–H.L. Mencken

*

*

*

*

 

“People is all everything is, all it has ever been, all it can ever be.”

–William Saroyan

*

*

*

*

 

“The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.”

–Bertrand Russell

*

*

*

*

 

“I must lay on the first stroke of paint. After that, I insist that the canvas do half the work.”

–James Brooks

*

*

*

*

 

“Creative people have thoughts unlike those of the general population because they have been culled or feel they have been culled from the general population.”

–Kurt Vonnegut

*

*

*

*

 

“Whatever the future may hold for literature in classrooms, uncounted millions of Americans will continue to meditate with books in perfect privacy, escaping from their own weary minds for at least a little while, leaving no record of having done so in the form of a term paper or three credit hours toward a baccalaureate.”

–Kurt Vonnegut

*

*

*

*

 

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

–Ferris Bueller

*

*

*

*

 

“To know one thing thoroughly would be to know the universe.”

–William James

*

*

*

*

 

“I sent my soul through the invisible, Some secret of that after life to spell; And by and by my soul returned to me, And Answered: I myself am Heaven and Hell.”

–Omar Khayyam

*

*

*

*

 

“Our business in this world is not to succeed, but to continue to fail in good spirits.”

–Robert Louis Stevenson

*

*

*

*

 

“We literally call out what others say or think of us.”

–Charles Brodie Patterson

*

*

*

*

 

“Greatly begin! though thou hast time but for a line, be that sublime.”

–James Russell Lowell

*

*

*

*

 

“Whoever has two loaves of bread, let him trade one for a narcissus; for bread is nourishment for the body, but the narcissus is nourishment for the soul.”

–Mohammed

*

*

*

*

 

“We do not remember days. We remember moments.”

–Cesare Pavese

*

*

*

*

 

“Do something worth living for, worth dying for; do something to show you have a mind, and a heart, and a soul within you.”

–Dean Stanley

*

*

*

*

 

“A man is likely to mind his own business, when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people’s business.”

–Eric Hoffer

*

*

*

*

 

“I doubt I’m a skeptic.”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

 

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”

–Anais Nin

*

*

*

*

 

“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.”

–Unknown

*

*

*

*

 

“I like to imagine that the world is one big machine. You know, machines never have any extra parts. They have the exact number and type of parts they need. So I figure if the entire world is a big machine, I have to be here for some reason.”

–Hugo Cabret (a character created by Brian Selznick)

*

*

*

*

 

“The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.”

–Albert Einstein

*

*

*

*

“The more uncertain people are, the more they defend their ideas.”

–Susan Weinschenk
*

*

*

*

 

“5 TRAITS OF UNSUCCESSFUL PEOPLE: Sloth, lack of focus, lack of follow through…”

–Paula Poundstone

*

*

*

*

 

1. Nobody perceives anything with total accuracy.

2. No two people perceive the same thing identically.

3. Few perceive what difference it makes…or care.

–Marshall’s Universal Laws

 

“No matter what happens, there is always somebody who knew it would.”

–Man’s Law

*

*

*

*

 

“The number of Tweets to the editor is inversely proportional to the importance of the subject.”

–Update to Marcus’s Law

*

*

*

*

 

“No good deed goes unpunished.”

–Clare Boothe Luce

*

*

*

*

 

“There is no safety in numbers, or in anything else.”

–James Thurber

*

*

*

*

 

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”

–Helen Keller

*

*

*

*

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

–Abraham Lincoln

*

*

*

*

 

“Something never to say to Hannibal Lector: Eat your heart out!”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

 

“The lance has never blunted the pen, nor the pen the lance.”

–Miguel de Cervantes Saalvedra

*

*

*

*

 

“Sometimes, life is hard. Other times, you’re paying the babysitter.”

–Rusty Herrin

*

*

*

*

 

 

“It always seemed obvious to me that a desired thing, as soon as you actually had it, led to your wanting something else.”

–Paul Zahl

*

*

*

*

 

 

“Bad news travels at the speed of light, good news travels like molasses.”

–Tracy Morgan

*

*

*

*

 

“Our chief want in life is someone to make us do what we can.”

–Emerson

*

*

*

*

 

“Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks.”

–Doug Larson

*

*

*

*

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

–Margaret Mead

*

*

*

*

“You can fool all the people all the time if the advertising is right and the budget is big enough.”

–Joseph E. Levine

*

*

*

*

 

“The purpose of satire is to attack people more powerful than you are.”

–Martin Rowson

 

*

*

*

“If ancient books were lost or ceased to be, then lost would be the key of memory.” –Geoffrey Chaucer

*

*

*

*

 

“Treasure this day and treasure yourself. Truly, neither will ever happen again.”

–Ray Bradbury

*

*

*

*

“Without great solitude, no serious work is possible.”

–Pablo Picasso

*

*

*

*

“The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.”

–Muhammad Ali

*

*

*

*

 

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you was?”

–Satchel Paige

*

*

*

*

“Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible. I think it’s in my basement…let me go upstairs and check.”

–M.C. Escher

*

*

*

*

In N,Y, seeing President Truman riding in a motorcade, I said to Fred Allen, “Truman looks sick.” Fred said, “He caught it from the country.”

–Carl Reiner*

*

*

*

“What is a writer, anyway? Just a human being who takes pen or typewriter and makes certain marks on paper. The work of a weaver or a carpenter is just as useful.”

–P.L.Travers

*

*

*

*

“It is not that the artist is a special kind of person but that every person is a special kind of artist.”

–Ananda Coomaraswamy

*

*

*

*

 

“I hate quotation. Tell me what you know.”

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

*

*

*

*

“The Academy Awards aired the other night. One thing never changes year after year. It’s hilarious how Oscar winners always look up to the rafters to thank God as if God couldn’t get better seats.”

–Argus Hamilton

*

*

*

*

“I think with the best writing you actually feel the writer’s joy, the writer’s vision, or something like that. God, it’s a strange way to make a living. It’s a child’s activity, really.”

–Stephen King

*

*

*

*

“Ignorance breeds courage.”

–Bill Watterson

*

*

*

*

 

“Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it — every, every minute?”

― Thornton Wilder

*

*

*

*

 

“While there is one soul in prison, I am not free.”

–Eugene Debs

*

*

*

*

“To find that light within—that’s the genius of poetry.”

–Julie Harris

*

*

*

*

“For me success is having the respect and love of people who truly know you.”

–Judi Dench

*

*

*

*

“All large problems begin as small problems that go unrecognized or uncorrected or both.”

–Morris Hackney

*

*

*

*

“It is only by selection, by elimination, and by emphasis that we get at the real meaning of things.”

–Georgia O’Keeffe

*

*

*

*

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”

–Cicero

*

*

*

*

“Love is—I know not what; which comes—I know not whence; which is formed—I know not how; which enchants—I know not by what; and which ends—I know not when or why.”

–Madeleine de Scuderi

*

*

*

*

 

“To give birth to a desire, to nourish it, to develop it, to increase it, to satisfy it: this is a whole poem.”

–Balzac

*

*

*

*

“The hand never tires of writing when the heart dictates.”

–Ninon de Lenchos

*

*

*

*

 

“All our opinions, sentiments, principles, prejudices, religious beliefs, are really but the result of birthplace.”

–J. De Finod

*

*

*

*

“To select well among old things is almost equal to inventing new ones.”

–Nicolas Charles Joseph Trublet

*

*

*

*

 

“All truths are not to be uttered; still it is always good to hear them.” –Mme. du Deffand

*

*

*

*

“Should we condemn ourselves to ignorance to preserve hope?

–Emile Souvestre

*

*

*

*

“Poets are like birds: the least thing makes them sing.”

–François-René de Chateaubriand

*

*

*

*

 

“Poetry is the sister of sorrow. Every man that suffers and weeps is a poet; every tear is a verse, and every heart a poem.”

–Marc Andre

*

*

*

*

 

“In order to do great things, we should live as though we were never to die.”

–Luc de Clapiers

*

*

*

*

“If you can only be good at one thing, be good at lying…Because if you’re good at lying, you’re good at everything.”

–@GSElevator

*

*

*

*

“A cigarette is like a squirrel, it’s completely harmless until you put one in your mouth and light it on fire.”

–Argus Hamilton

*

*

*

*

 

“If you live long enough, anything is possible.”

–John McCain

*

*

*

*

When you’re younger, you have everything—you have the flexibility, you have no fear. But you don’t savor every step, every movement of every fingertip, every beat of the music. I feel like I’m tasting food for the first time.”

–Elizabeth Roxas-Dobrish

*

*

*

*

 

“The difference between death and taxes is death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.”

–Will Rogers

*

*

*

*

“A great thing about me is I almost always have a pocket of crumpled tissues.”

–Sarah Silverman

*

*

*

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“Do not be critics, you people. I beg you. I was a critic, and I wish I could take it all back because it came from a smelly and ignorant place in me, and spoke with a voice that was all rage and envy. Do not dismiss a book until you have written one, and do not dismiss a movie until you have made one, and do not dismiss a person until you have met them.”

–David Eggers

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“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”

–Nelson Mandela

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“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”

–C.G. Jung

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“They seemed to come suddenly upon happiness as if they had surprised a butterfly in the winter woods.”

–Edith Wharton

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“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love…”

–Nelson Mandela

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“The beauty of jazz is that, at its best, it’s nonjudgmental.”

–Herbie Hancock

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“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

–C.S. Lewis

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“Last week I started a club. The membership is limited to four men; its name is The Human Race. It will lunch at my house twice a month, and its business will be to discuss the rest of the race. It is privileged to examine, criticise, and discuss any matter that concerns the race, and do it freely. In the matter of subjects and manner of treatment, there are no limitations. The reason that certain tender subjects are avoided and forbidden in all other clubs is because those clubs consist of more than four members. Whenever the human race assembles to a number exceeding four, it cannot stand free speech. It is the self-admiring boast of England and America that in those countries a man is free to talk out his opinions, let them be of what complexion they may, but this is one of the human race’s hypocrisies; there has never been any such thing as free speech in any country, and there is no such thing as free speech in England or America when more than four persons are present; and not then, except the four are all of one political and religious creed. Whenever our club meets, its first duty will be to synopsize the performances of mankind as reported in the newspapers for the previous fortnight, and then discuss such of these performances as shall require our most urgent attention. After this stern duty shall have been accomplished the talk may wander whither it shall choose.”

–Mark Twain

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“ I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. They are the real heroes, and so are the families and friends who have stood by them.”

–Christopher Reeve

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“Miracles, if fact, do not break the laws of nature.”

–C.S. Lewis

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“One of these portions of the universe is thine own…which, however little, contributes to the whole.”

–Plato

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“Never argue with stupid people. They will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”

–Mark Twain

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“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”

–George R.R. Martin

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“There exists no more difficult art than living.”

–Seneca

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“Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”

–Albert Einstein

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“There is something so comforting, so magical, about the (ordered-out) meal simply arriving, already smelling like itself, laid out like a road map to satisfaction.”

–Lena Dunham

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“When you truly believe in something, everything around you is its proof.”

–Jim Reed

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“You do this because you like it, you think what you’re making is beautiful. And if you think it’s beautiful, maybe they think it’s beautiful.”

–Lou Reed, on what motivates artists

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(ELMORE LEONARD ON WRITING)

1. Never open a book with weather.

If it’s only to create atmosphere, and not a character’s reaction to the weather, you don’t want to go on too long. The reader is apt to leaf ahead looking for people. There are exceptions. If you happen to be Barry Lopez, who has more ways to describe ice and snow than an Eskimo, you can do all the weather reporting you want.

2. Avoid prologues.

They can be annoying, especially a prologue following an introduction that comes after a foreword. But these are ordinarily found in nonfiction. A prologue in a novel is backstory, and you can drop it in anywhere you want.

There is a prologue in John Steinbeck’s ”Sweet Thursday,” but it’s O.K. because a character in the book makes the point of what my rules are all about. He says: ”I like a lot of talk in a book and I don’t like to have nobody tell me what the guy that’s talking looks like. I want to figure out what he looks like from the way he talks. . . . figure out what the guy’s thinking from what he says. I like some description but not too much of that. . . . Sometimes I want a book to break loose with a bunch of hooptedoodle. . . . Spin up some pretty words maybe or sing a little song with language. That’s nice. But I wish it was set aside so I don’t have to read it. I don’t want hooptedoodle to get mixed up with the story.”

3. Never use a verb other than ”said” to carry dialogue.

The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. But said is far less intrusive than grumbled, gasped, cautioned, lied. I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with ”she asseverated,” and had to stop reading to get the dictionary.

4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb ”said” . . .

. . . he admonished gravely. To use an adverb this way (or almost any way) is a mortal sin. The writer is now exposing himself in earnest, using a word that distracts and can interrupt the rhythm of the exchange. I have a character in one of my books tell how she used to write historical romances ”full of rape and adverbs.”

5. Keep your exclamation points under control.

You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.

6. Never use the words ”suddenly” or ”all hell broke loose.”

This rule doesn’t require an explanation. I have noticed that writers who use ”suddenly” tend to exercise less control in the application of exclamation points.

7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.

Once you start spelling words in dialogue phonetically and loading the page with apostrophes, you won’t be able to stop. Notice the way Annie Proulx captures the flavor of Wyoming voices in her book of short stories ”Close Range.”

8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.

Which Steinbeck covered. In Ernest Hemingway’s ”Hills Like White Elephants” what do the ”American and the girl with him” look like? ”She had taken off her hat and put it on the table.” That’s the only reference to a physical description in the story, and yet we see the couple and know them by their tones of voice, with not one adverb in sight.

9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.

Unless you’re Margaret Atwood and can paint scenes with language or write landscapes in the style of Jim Harrison. But even if you’re good at it, you don’t want descriptions that bring the action, the flow of the story, to a standstill.

And finally:

10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

A rule that came to mind in 1983. Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them. What the writer is doing, he’s writing, perpetrating hooptedoodle, perhaps taking another shot at the weather, or has gone into the character’s head, and the reader either knows what the guy’s thinking or doesn’t care. I’ll bet you don’t skip dialogue.

My most important rule is one that sums up the previous 10.

** If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. **

Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative. It’s my attempt to remain invisible, not distract the reader from the story with obvious writing. (Joseph Conrad said something about words getting in the way of what you want to say.)

If I write in scenes and always from the point of view of a particular character — the one whose view best brings the scene to life — I’m able to concentrate on the voices of the characters telling you who they are and how they feel about what they see and what’s going on, and I’m nowhere in sight.

What Steinbeck did in ”Sweet Thursday” was title his chapters as an indication, though obscure, of what they cover. ”Whom the Gods Love They Drive Nuts” is one, ”Lousy Wednesday” another. The third chapter is titled ”Hooptedoodle 1” and the 38th chapter ”Hooptedoodle 2” as warnings to the reader, as if Steinbeck is saying: ”Here’s where you’ll see me taking flights of fancy with my writing, and it won’t get in the way of the story. Skip them if you want.”

”Sweet Thursday” came out in 1954, when I was just beginning to be published, and I’ve never forgotten that prologue.

Did I read the hooptedoodle chapters? Every word.

–Elmore Leonard

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1. Never Quit.

2. Be Yourself.

 

3. Don’t Put Too Much Flour in Your Brownies.

 

–Katharine Hepburn

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“My task…is…to make you feel–it is, before all, to make you see. If I succeed, you shall find there according to your deserts: encouragement, consolation, fear, charm — all you demand; and, perhaps, also that glimpse of truth for which you have forgotten to ask.”

–Joseph Conrad

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“When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.”

–Erasmus

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“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.”

–Victor Hugo

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“Possessing high self-esteem does not require talent.”

–Jim Reed

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“May peace and peace and peace be everywhere.”

–The Upanishads

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“Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.”

–Voltaire

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“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand—and melting like a snowflake.”

–Francis Bacon

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“Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.”

–Oscar Wilde

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“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in two seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”

–Ray Bradbury

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“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

–Maya Angelou

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“Hold on to what is good, even if it’s a handful of earth. Hold on to what you believe, even if it’s a tree that stands by itself. Hold on to what you must do, even if it’s a long way from here. Hold on to my hand, even if someday I’ll be gone away from you.”

–Pueblo Indian prayer

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“To be nobody but yourself in a world that’s doing its best to make you somebody else, is to fight the hardest battle you are ever going to fight. Never stop fighting.”

–e.e. cummings

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“I do believe that what we do, you and I, is important work.  Stories are how we pass along our knowledge and wisdom, our history and hopes, our legends and myths.  When we tell stories and put them on paper or stage or screen, we are working as preservationists.  And I think that’s worthwhile .”

–Robert Inman

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“Stalking is when two people go for a long and romantic walk together and only one of them knows it.”

 

–Argus Hamilton

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“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

–Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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“No wise man ever wished to be younger.”

–Jonathan Swift

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“The reason why so few good books are written is that so few people who can write know anything.”

–Walter Bagehot

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“Fiction is like a spider’s web, attached ever so lightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all corners.”

–Virginia Woolf

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“I’m making money in my spare time by working.”

–Steve Martin

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“The historian is a kind of prophet—but only a prophet of the past.”

–John Lukacs

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“Good government is that government which not only assures the survival of the republic, but also honors the individual, even when it refuses to flatter him.”

–Bill Moyers

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“A poet’s job is not to write about love. A poet’s job is not to write about flowers. A poet must write about the plight and pain of the people.”

–Matiullah Turab

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“Why if a person can’t remember that he has told a story 1,129 times, can he remember the story unvarying in each syllable & facial gesture?”

–Joyce Carol Oates

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“What’s right is what’s left if you do everything else wrong.”

–Robin Williams

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“I would rather be able to appreciate things I cannot have than to have things I am not able to appreciate.”

–Elbert Hubbard

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“I get in fewer arguments when I’m alone.”

–Paula Poundstone

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“It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.”

–Gore Vidal

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“We thought we were done with these things but we were wrong. We thought, because we had power, we had wisdom.”

–Stephen Vincent Benet

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“It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window.”

–Raymond Chandler

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“Reading and writing are in themselves subversive acts. What they subvert is the notion that things have to be the way they are, that you’re alone, that no one has ever felt the way you have.”

–Mark Vonnegut

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“It’s so hard to stay mad. It’s literally not fun. How do people do it.”

–Sarah Silverman

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“All things that are, are equally removed from being nothing.”

–John Donne

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“You are as good as the best thing you’ve ever done.”

–Billy Wilder

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“When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I’ve never tried before.”

–Mae West

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My psychiatrist told me I was crazy and I said I want a second opinion. He said okay, you’re ugly, too.

Rodney Dangerfield

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“Luck is being ready for the chance.”

–Frank Dobie

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“Any group, any race, any world that does not run to seize the future and shape it is doomed to dust away in the grave, in the past.”

–Ray Bradbury, paraphrasing Arnold Toynbee

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“I saw the movie, I missed the book.”

—Jonathan Winters.

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“One has no talent. I have no talent. It’s just a question of working, of being willing to put in the time.”

–Graham Greene

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“I find television very educational. Every time someone switches it on, I go into another room and read a good book.”

–Groucho Marx

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“Only by love is life made real.”

—Sara Teasdale

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“That which you believe becomes your world”

–Richard Matheson

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“Alcohol is no refuge from the hot tides of life but only seems as it it might be.”

–Philip Wylie

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And a woman I used to know

Who loved one man from her youth, a

Against the strength of the fates

Fighting in somber pride,

Never spoke of this thing,

But hearing his name by chance,

A light would pass over her face.

–Sara Teasdale

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“If there’s one thing I’ve learned along the way, it’s that all our personal successes shine a little less brightly if we fail at family. That’s what matters most.”

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–Barack Obama

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“I will not permit any man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.” –Booker T. Washington

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“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”

–Shakespeare

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“I love eating California raisins…but those little sunglasses get stuck between my teeth.”

–Mike Peters

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“He told me to put it where the sun don’t shine, so I hid it under the carpet.”

–Jim Reed

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“Well, it’s only a paper moon shining down from a cardboard sky…” So…they had recreational pharmaceuticals back then, too?

–Jim Reed

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“You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?”

–Steven Wright

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“I could never contemplate suicide. I have so many houseplants.”

–Christopher Davis*

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“Starting today, our goals will be replaced by stretch goals. Stretch goals are like stretch pants. It’s a way of signaling surrender.”

–Scott Adams

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“If a pickpocket meets a saint, he sees only his pockets.”

–Kegley

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“Every person has a scheme that will not work.”

–Howe’s Law

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“There are three ways to get something done: do it yourself, hire someone, or forbid your kids to do it.”

–Monta Crane

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“Ignorance is a perfectly reasonable position to take in a conversation. I don’t know everything you do. If I did, why would I bother talking to you?

–Craig Ferguson

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“Courage and boldness are qualities that cannot possibly be in those who are exempt from danger.”

–Montaigne

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“Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions never lie to you.”

–Roger Ebert

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“What is happiness? It’s a moment before you need more happiness.”

–Don Draper

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“Painting is easy to do when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.” –Edgar Degas

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“It’s ill-becoming for an old broad to sing about how bad she wants it. But occasionally we do.”

–Lena Horne

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“Without poets, without artists, men would soon weary of nature’s monotony.”

–Guillaulme Apollinaire

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“As children tremble and fear everything in the blind darkness, so we in the light sometimes fear what is no more to be feared than the things children in the dark hold in terror…”

–Lucretius

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“We also know how cruel the truth is, and we wonder whether delusion is not more consoling.”

–Henri Poincare

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“Instant gratification takes too long.”

–Carrie Fisher

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“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

–Sherlock Holmes

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“Do what you can for as long as you can, and when you finally can’t, you do the next best thing. You back up, but you don’t give up.”

–Chuck Yeager

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“A bull in just about any shop is gonna be a mess.”

–Sarah Silverman

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“Life gives you the test first, then the lesson.”

–Derek Hutton

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“Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles; it empties today of its strength.”

–J.R.R. Tolkien

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“We also know how cruel the truth is, and we wonder whether delusion is not more consoling.”

–Henri Poincare

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“My motto: Unless someone has the courtesy to ask me what time it is, I won’t give them the time of day.”

–Steve Martin

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“It is better to pay the power bill than to curse the darkness.”

–Jim Reed

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“We have our dreams because without them we could not bear the truth.”

–Erich Maria Remarque

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“Nothing more predisposes someone in our favour than to let him rob you a little.” –W. Somerset Maugham

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“To have a grievance is to have a purpose in life.”

–Eric Hoffer

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“Bad taste is simply saying the truth before it should be said.”

–Mel Brook

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“Acting is merely the art of keeping a large group of people from coughing.”

–Ralph Richardson

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“More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.”

–Woody Allen

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“Whoever is in a hurry shows that the thing he is about is too big for him.”

–Lord Chesterfield

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“Art is the unceasing effort to compete with the beauty of flowers–and never succeeding.”

–Marc Chagall

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“Some people say the garbage is half full. Some say it’s half empty. I say it’s completely empty.”

–Grimmy

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“A human is both a mystery looking for a mind and a mind looking for a mystery.” –Joel Fry

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“They understand but little who understand only what can be explained.”

–Marie Ebner Eschenbach

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“While there is a chance of the world getting through its troubles, I hold that a reasonable man has to behave as though he were sure of it. If at the end your cheerfulness is not justified, at any rate  you will have been cheerful.”

–H.G. Wells

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“Well, I object to all this sex on the Television. I mean I keep falling off.”

–Graham Chapman

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“If you can tickle yourself, you can laugh when you please.”

–Russian proverb

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“Anyone who says money can’t buy happiness doesn’t know where to shop.”

–Eunice Wentworth “Lovey” Howell

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“If you don’t think too good, don’t think too much.”

–Ted Williams

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“I listen to the voices.”

–William Faulkner

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“If a word were misspelled in the dictionary, how would we know?”

–Ziggy

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“Tomorrow is the day after the first day of the rest of your life.”

–Jim Reed

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“Reality is nothing but a collective hunch.”

–Lily Tomlin

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“There is no greater illusion than that age brings a simplification of life. On the contrary, it accumulates obligations.”

–Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

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“Those who take time to explain their creative work are not busy doing their creative work.”

–Jim Reed

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“It is a tremendous act of violence to begin anything. I am not able to begin. I simply skip what should be the beginning.”

–Rainer Maria Rilke

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“It is possible to believe that all the past is but the beginning of a beginning, and that all that is and has been is but the twilight of the dawn. It is possible to believe that all the human mind has ever accomplished is but the dream before the awakening.”

–H. G. Wells

 

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“Now I rewrite more and more severely, and I take great pleasure in cutting thousands of words out of first drafts; I think that’s a pleasure worth learning as early as possible in one’s career, not least because realizing that one can do it helps one relax into writing the first draft in which it’s better to have too much material for later shaping than not enough.”

–Ramsey Campbell

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“The proper office of a friend is to side with you when you are in the wrong. Nearly anybody will side with you when you are right.”

–Mark Twain

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“The most identifiable trait of Anglo-Saxons is that we always mistake a short memory for a clear conscience.”

–Argus Hamilton

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“Dreams, books, are each a world.”

–Wordsworth

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“Too low they build who build beneath the stars.”

–Edward Young*

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“Comedy is in my blood. Too bad it’s not in my act.”

–Rodney Dangerfield

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“One lives in the hope of becoming a memory.”

–Antonio Porchia

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“Silences make the real conversation between friends. Not the saying, but never needing to say is what counts.”

–Margaret Lee Runbeck

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“Happiness isn’t something you experience; it’s something you remember.”

–Oscar Levant

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“I remember things the way they should have been.”

–Truman Capote

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“Be master of your petty annoyances and conserve your energies for the big, worthwhile things. It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out—it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.”

–Robert Service

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“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”

–Mark Twain

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“We should comport ourselves with the masterpieces of art as with exalted personages—stand quietly before them and wait till they speak to us.”

–Arthur Schopenhauer

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“When a man comes to me, I accept him at his best, not at his worst. Why make so much ado? When a man washes his hands before paying a visit, and you receive him in that clean state, you do not thereby stand surety for his always having been clean in the past.”

–Confucius

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“As soon as you feel too old to do a thing, do it.”

–Margaret Deland

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“Imitation is the sincerest form of insult.”

–Elbert Hubbard

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“Poetry is the art of substantiating shadows, and of lending existence to nothing.”

–Edmond Burke

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“A poet more than 30 years old is simply an overgrown child.”

–H.L. Mencken

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“Old men love to give good advice; it consoles them for being  able no longer to set a bad example.”

–Rochefoucald

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“If you cannot find a companion equal to or better than  yourself, journey alone. Do not travel with a fool.”

–Buddha (Dhammapada)

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“Tact consists of knowing how far we may go too far.”

–Jean Cocteau

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“The past is not dead. It isn’t even past!”

–William Faulkner

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“There is no harm in charging oneself up with delusions between moments of valid inspiration.”

–Steve Martin

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“We have learned the answers, all the answers: It is the  question that we do not know.”

–Archibald MacLeish

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“It is one of our jobs, as journalists, to be hated. But it is not enough to be merely hated. It is also important to be hated for the right reasons.”

–Gerald Hannon

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“If one tells the truth, one is sure sooner or later to be found out.”

–Oscar Wilde

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“Shall I tell you what true knowledge is? When you know, to know that you know, and when you do not know, to know that you do not know­–that is true knowledge.”

–Confucius

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“It’s the good girls who keep the diaries; the bad girls never have the time.”

–Tallulah Bankhead

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“I notice that in spite of the frightful lies you have printed about me, I still believe everything you say about other people.”

–Robert Maynard Hutchins

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“A word is the taste our tongue has of eternity; that’s why I speak.”

–Rosario Castellanos

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“I just put my feet in the air and move them around.”

–Fred Astaire

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“We are tolerant enough of those who do not agree with us, provided only they are sufficiently miserable.”

–David Grayson

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“Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.”

–T.S. Eliot

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“To write a love letter we must begin without knowing what we intend to say, and end without knowing what we have written.”

–Jean Jacques Rousseau

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“Two wrongs make a casserole.”

–Bunny Hoest & John Reiner

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“Each one sees what he carries in his heart.”

–Goethe

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“The only thing better than singing is more singing.”

–Ella Fitzgerald

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“Art…is a force which blows the roof off the cave where we crouch imprisoned.”

–Ernest Hello

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“If 50 million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.”

–Voltaire

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“The older I get, the more convinced I am that the space between people who are trying their best to understand each other is hallowed ground.”

–Fred Rogers

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“Money may buy the husk of many things, but not the kernel. It brings you food, but not appetite, medicine but not health, acquaintances but not friends, servants but not faithfulness, days of joy but not peace or happiness.”

–Henrik Ibsen

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“There’s no money in poetry, but then there’s no poetry in money either.”

–Robert Graves

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“Write only if you cannot live without writing. Write only what you alone can write.”

–Elie Wiesel

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“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.”

–Mae West

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“Silence the artist and you have silenced the most articulate voice the people have.” –Katharine Hepburn

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“From the solemn gloom of the temple children run out to sit in the dust, God watches them play and forgets the priest.”

–Rabindranath Tagore

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“Just how much does succotash suffer?”

–Jim Reed

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“What really interests me is whether God had any choice in the creation of the world.”

–Albert Einstein

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“Poetry is not made out of the understanding. The question of common sense is always: ‘What is it good for?’ a question which would abolish the rose, and be triumphantly answered by the cabbage.”

–James Russell Lowell

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“It is not by wearing down into uniformity all that is individual in themselves, but by cultivating it and calling it forth, within the limits imposed by the rights and interests of others, that human beings become a noble and beautiful object of contemplation.”

–John Stuart Mill

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“Where words fail, music speaks.”

–Hans Christian Andersen

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“I grant your point, but not because I agree with you. I’m under sedation.”

–Charles Saxon

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“Anybody who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.”

–Robert Bloch

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“Of late, I have no friends; I must be doing something right.”

–Somerset Maugham

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“It’s really dangerous and ultimately destroys you as a writer if you start thinking about responses to your work or what your audience needs.”

–Erica Jong

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“Majorities, of course, are often mistaken. This is why the silencing of minorities is always dangerous.”

–Alan Barth

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“We are all here for a spell; get all the good laughs you can.”

–Will Rogers

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“A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.”

–Steven Wright

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“The world is too serious. To get mad at a work of art–because maybe somebody, somewhere is blowing his stack over what I’ve done—is like getting mad at a hot fudge sundae.”

–Kurt Vonnegut

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“Would that we could at once paint with the eyes!­ In the long way from the eye through the arm to the pencil, how much is lost!”

–Gotthold Lessing

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“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

–Desmond Tutu

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“Part of the pleasure of being alive is the knowledge that you’re not dead yet.”

–George Carlin

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“To travel is to take a journey into yourself.”

–Danny Kaye

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“Words themselves become beings, sentences become…natural vegetation to be guided by the gardener’s hands.”

–Eric Sevareid

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“I got an hourglass figure, but it’s later than you think.”

–Minnie Pearl

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*

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

–Antoine de Saint Exupery

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“Being a newspaper columnist is like being married to a nymphomaniac. It’s great for the first two weeks.”

–Lewis Grizzard

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“If the doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I’d type a little faster.”

–Isaac Asimov

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“Art, music, and philosophy are merely poignant examples of what we might have been had not the priests and traders gotten hold of us.”

–George Carlin

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“How vain painting is–we admire the realistic depiction of objects which in their original state we don’t admire at all.”

–Blaise Pascal

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“The surest way to wake up and smell the roses every day is to go to sleep face down in the flower bed.”

–Argus Hamilton

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“All bad art is the result of good intentions.”

–Oscar Wilde

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“How many ne’er set foot beyond themselves!”

–Omar Khayyam

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“We have no art. Everything we do is art.”

–Balinese saying

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“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hand away.”

–Ray Bradbury

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“Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises.”

–Samuel Butler

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“Writing has laws of perspective, of light and shade, just as painting does, or music. If you are born knowing them, fine. If not, learn them. Then rearrange the rules to suit yourself.”

–Truman Capote

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“History…is nothing other than a collection of the lives of people, some of them great, some of them ordinary…nothing other than a collection of what people have done in challenging circumstances and how they have risen to those circumstances.”

–Artur Davis

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“You will find poetry nowhere, unless you bring some with you.”

–Joseph Joubert

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“Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo.”

–Don Marquis

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“The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.”

–William Faulkner

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“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

–Dr. Seuss

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“Live one day at a time, unless you can figure out how to live two.”

–Dik Browne

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“If I had to give young writers advice, I would say don’t listen to writers talking about writing or themselves.”

–Lillian Hellman

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“It is no longer a question of where civilization began, but if it ever did!”

–Alfred E. Neuman

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“I take exception to your ‘time travel is possible’ statement, as I have only been able to go five minutes back into the  past AT MOST, and since Jane Seymour was not there, it hardly seemed worth it.”

–Chris McCaleb

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“At a certain point, what people mean when they use a word becomes its meaning.”

–William Safire

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“When you see a good man, think of emulating him; when you see a bad man, examine your own heart.”

–Confucius*

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“Like everyone else, I am going to die. But the words–the words live on for as long as there are readers to see them, audiences to hear them. It is immortality by proxy. It is not really a bad deal, all things considered.”

–J. Michael Straczynski

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“A hick town is one where there is no place to go where you shouldn’t be.”

–Robert Quillen

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“I’m an optimal behaviorist, which means behaving to the top of my genetics every day. After a few hundred days of optimal behavior, optimal striving at the top of my genes and chromosomes, you can’t help but FEEL optimistic!”

–Ray Bradbury

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“I will look at any additional evidence to confirm the opinion to which I have already come.”

–Hugh Molson

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“Get yourself a notebook and write in it EVERY night for two weeks. Then stop if you can. If you can’t, you’re a writer.”

–Charles Ghigna

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“Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.”

–Ray Bradbury

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“Ultimately, literature is nothing but carpentry.”

–Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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“I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong.”

–Richard Feynman

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“If they give you ruled paper, write the other way.”

–Juan Ramon Jimenez

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“Enough is enough, and too much is plenty.”

–Bugs Bunny

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“The more controlled, limited and tormented art is, the freer it is.”

–Igor Stravinsky

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“Sharon Stone has the kind of face I’d leave my wife for. Since I’m not married, I’ll have to leave someone else’s wife.”

–Buck Henry

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“Has any psychological experiment yielded a more delightful suggestion than this one: that there is a part of the mind without ambition or information, which nonetheless is expert on what is beautiful?” –Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

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“Nothing happens unless first a dream.”

–Carl Sandburg

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“Understanding physics is child’s play when compared to understanding child’s play.”

–Albert Einstein

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“When I consider the gizzard of a cockroach, how wonderfully it is made, something of the immensity and imagination of the universe bursts in upon me with startling clarity. But to consider the gizzard alone is to be partial and in the interest of science I must avoid that at all costs.”

–Otis Calloway

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“You can taste a word.”

–Pearl Bailey

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“What if the Hokey Pokey really is what it’s all about?”

–Mike Peters

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“Live in contact with dreams, and you will get something of their charm; live in contact with facts, and you will get something of their brutality. I wish I could find a country where the facts were not brutal, and the dreams not unreal.”

–George Bernard Shaw

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“Ink runs from the corners of my mouth There is no happiness like mine. I have been eating poetry.”

–Mark Strand

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“He who speaks the truth should have one foot in the stirrup.”

–Hindu proverb

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“Copy editors don’t object to being called anal retentive, they just debate whether the term should be hyphenated.”

–Alex MacLeod

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“How truly wise, perhaps, it was my dollars were so few, for if my purse were full, then I would never know if you had married me for riches, or because my eyes were blue!”

–Louise Shaw

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“My theology, briefly, is that the universe was dictated, but not signed.”

–Christopher Morley

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“I think a good poem should have some inscrutable part. You can’t quite explain it. The poem can only explain itself to a certain limit and at that point you enter into a little bit of mystery. That for me is the perfect poem: to begin in clarity and to end in mystery.”

–Billy Collins

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“If the rich could hire other people to die for them, the poor could make a wonderful living.”

–Yiddish proverb

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“Life is easier to take than you’d think; all that is necessary is to accept the impossible, do without the indispensable, and bear the intolerable.”

–Kathleen Norris

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“Everything has been thought of before, but the difficulty is to think of it again.”

–Goethe

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“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”

–Ray Bradbury

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“The profession of writing is nothing else but a violent, indestructible passion. When it has once entered people’s heads it never leaves them.”

–George Sand

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“No two identical parts are alike.”

–Beach’s Law

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“Agriculture is a very fine thing, because you get such an unmistakable answer as to whether you’re making a fool of yourself or hitting the mark.”

–-Goethe

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“Am I beautiful? I think it must be the rose. My hair–it only weighs me down. My eyes–I only see with them. My lips–they only help me to speak. Of what use is it to be beautiful?”

–Karel Capek (spoken by the robot Helena in “R.U.R.”)

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“No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else’s draft.”

–H. G. Wells

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“Women aren’t as mere as they used to be.”

–Walt Kelly

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“Comedy is tragedy revisited.”

–Phyllis Diller

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“The past is close kin to pain, and it is near to happiness.”

–Howell Vines

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“A poet is an unhappy being whose heart is torn by secret sufferings, but whose lips are so strangely formed that when the sighs and the cries escape them, they sound like beautiful music.”

–Soren Kierkegaard

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“First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. And then you win.”

–Mahatma Gandhi

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“Beauty is in the heart of the beholder.”

–H. G. Wells

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“Plagiarists have, at least, the merit of preservation.”

–Benjamin Disraeli

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“Writing is not like painting where you add. It is not what you put on the canvas that the reader sees. Writing is more like a sculpture where you remove, you eliminate in order to make the work visible.”

–Elie Wiesel

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“The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.”

–Hubert H. Humphrey

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“Brief let me be. The fewer words the better prayer.”

–Martin Luther

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“Self-trust is so important. When you launch on a story, make your neck loose, feel free, good-natured. And be lazy. Feel that you are going to throw it away. Try writing utterly unplanned stories and see what comes out.”

–Brenda Ueland

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“If you took all the dill pickles eaten in America in one month and laid them end to end…people would think you were some kind of nut.”

–Homer and Jethro

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“Sit down before a fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.”

–T. H. Huxley

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“What Carl Sagan envisioned we could become: Conscious, wise, compassionate, energetically curious, eternally skeptical, immune to the manipulations and intimidations of the powerful, free of the walls that imprison and divide us; awe-inspired by the beauty of an ever-broadening identification horizon, welcoming of its expansion; no longer stunted by the old primate hierarchies, but instead, proud of our capacity to care for each other and to discern our tiny, utterly decentralized place in the fabric of nature, space and time; secure enough at last to embrace the wonder inherent in this reality, awakened to our responsibilities as a link in the generations past and future, at peace with our self-knowledge, alert to a heightened and consequential sense of the sacred; long-term thinkers, solid citizens of the planet and the cosmos; as Carl was; fully alive, completely connected.”

–Ann Druyan

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“It is useless to send armies against ideas.”

–Georg Brandes

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“I might as well be myself. Everyone else is taken.”

–Oliver Stone

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“The art of a thing is, first, its aim, and next, its manner of accomplishment.”

–C.N. Bovee

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“Under all speech that is good for anything there lies a silence that is better. Silence is deep as eternity; speech is shallow as time.”

–Thomas Carlyle

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“Ambiguity is invariant.”

–Hartz’s Uncertainty Principle

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“Society is now one polished horde, Form’d of two mighty tribes, the Bores and Bored.”

–Lord Byron

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“It is not too much to ask of Americans that they not be censors, that they run the risk of being deeply wounded by ideas so that we may all be free. If we are wounded by an ugly idea, we must count it as part of the cost of freedom and, like American heroes in days gone by, bravely carry on.”

–Kurt Vonnegut

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“Power does not corrupt men; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power.”

– George Bernard Shaw

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“I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly.”

– Michel de Montaigne

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“And if I should live to be the last leaf upon the tree in the Spring, let men smile, as I do now, at the old forsaken bough where I cling.”

–Oliver Wendell Holmes

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“Understanding is the least important thing when it comes to digging jazz…because, like anything else, jazz is a form of entertainment. It is created to be enjoyed, not understood like you read a blueprint.”

–Cannonball Adderley

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“The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together: our virtues would be proud if our faults whipped them not; and our crimes would despair if they were not cherished by our virtues.”

–William Shakespeare

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“Where lucidity reigns, a scale of values becomes unnecessary.”

–Albert Camus

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“You are capable of more than you know. Choose a goal that seems right for you and strive to be the best, however hard the path. Aim high. Behave honorably. Prepare to be alone at times, and to endure failure. Persist! The world needs all you can give.”

―Edward O. Wilson

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“It’s a good thing we have gravity, or else when birds died they’d just stay right up there. Hunters would be all confused.”

–Stephen Wright

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“More than anything else, I’d like to be an old man with a good face, like Hitchcock or Picasso.”

–Sean Connery

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“Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it’ ‘Supposing it didn’t,’ said Pooh. After careful thought Piglet was comforted by this.”

–A. Milne

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“A billion stars go spinning through the night, blazing high above your head. But in you is the presence that will be, when all the stars are dead.”

–Rainer Maria Rilke

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“Painting is something that takes place among the colors, and one has to leave them alone completely, so that they can settle the matter among themselves. Their intercourse this is the whole of painting. Whoever meddles, arranges, injects his human deliberation, his wit, his advocacy, his intellectual agility in any way, is already disturbing and clouding their activity.”

–Rainer Maria Rilke

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“When ignorance gets started it knows no bounds.”

–Will Rogers

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“Things ain’t what they used to be and never were.”

–Will Rogers

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“There is a natural hootchy-kootchy motion to a goldfish.”

–Walt Disney

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“Learn to laugh at your troubles and you’ll never run out of things to laugh at.”

–Walt Kelly

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“Look alive. Here comes a buzzard.”

–Walt Kelly

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“Now is the time for all good men to come to.”

–Walt Kelly

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“The best break anybody ever gets is in bein’ alive in the first place. An’ you don’t unnerstan’ what a perfect deal it is until you realizes that you ain’t gone be stuck with it forever, either. (Porkypine)

–Walt Kelly

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“The happiness of society is the end of government.”

–Walt Kelly

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“There’s no easy quick way out, we’re gonna have to live through our whole lives, win, lose, or draw.”

–Walt Kelly

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“Don’t believe something just because you didn’t read it in the papers. Wait until you haven’t seen it on television.”

–Walt Kelly

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“God is not dead – he is merely unemployed.”

–Walt Kelly

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“Having lost sight of our objectives, we redoubled our efforts.”

–Walt Kelly

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“If I could only write, I’d write a nasty letter to the mayor, if he could only read.”

–Walt Kelly

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“Be true to your teeth and they won’t be false to you.”

–Soupy Sales

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“Without poets, without artists, men would soon weary of nature’s monotony.”

–Guillaume Apollinaire

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“Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles; it empties today of its strength.”

–JRR Tolkien

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“The books I buy I like to read. The books I read I like to buy.”

–Thomas Hutchinson

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“Over the past weeks, I’ve been the glad recipient of Jim Reed’s wisdom. “Dad’s Tweed Coat” definitely fulfills your sub-title goals of sharing wisdoms, comforts, and joys. Thank you for the gift!

–Joe Elmore

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DAD’S TWEED COAT — it is excellent. Good writing, fine imagery. I will always treasure my autographed copy.

–C. Terry Cline Jr.

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“As children tremble and fear everything in the blind darkness, so we in the light sometimes fear what is no more to be feared than the things children in the dark hold in terror.

–Lucretius

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“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

–Sherlock Holmes

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“Only the educated are free.”

–Epictetus

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“We also know how cruel the truth is, and we wonder whether delusion is not more consoling.”

–Henri Poincare

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“The most beautiful thing we can experiences is the mystery.”

–Albert Einstein

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“Nothing is interesting if you are not interested.”

–Helen MacInnes

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“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

–Albert Einstein

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Many years ago a very wise man named Bernard Baruch took me aside and put his arm around my shoulder. “Harpo, my boy,” he said, “I’m going to give you three pieces of advice, three things you should always remember.” My heart jumped and I glowed with expectation. I was going to hear the magic password to a rich, full life from the master himself. “Yes, sir?” I said. And he told me the three things. I regret I’ve forgotten what they are.

–Harpo Marx

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“The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.”

–Lucille Ball

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“I don’t know what I may seem to the world, but, as to myself, I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”

–Isaac Newton

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“Show me a good loser and I’ll show you an idiot.”

–Leo Durocher

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“Life is full of miracles, but they’re not always the ones we pray for.”

–Eve Arden

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“I still have two abiding passions. One is my model railway, the other—women. But at the age of eighty-nine, I find I am getting just a little too old for model railways.”

–Pierre Monteux

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“The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.”

–Madeleine L’Engle

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*

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*

“I am an old man and I have known many troubles, but most of them never happened.”

–Mark Twain

*

*

*

*

“One must wager on the future. To save the life of a single child, no effort is superfluous. To make a tired old man smile is to perform an essential task. To defeat injustice and misfortune, if only for one instant, for a single victim, is to invent a new reason to hope.”

–Elie Wiesel

*

*

*

*

 

*

*

*

*

 

“Once upon a time, Chuang Chou dreamt that he was a butterfly, fluttering happily like a butterfly. He was conscious only of his happiness as a butterfly, unaware that he was Chuang Chou. Suddenly he awakened, and there he was, veritably Chuang Chou himself. Now he does not know whether the butterfly is a dream of Chuang Chou or whether Chuang Chou is a dream of the butterfly.”

–Chuange-Tzu

*

*

*

*

 

“Life has taught me that it is not for our faults that we are disliked and even hated, but for our qualities.”

–Bernard Berenson

*

*

*

*

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”

–Frederick Douglass

*

*

*

*

 

“A fanatic is one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim.”

— George Santayana

*

*

*

*

“Rain is similar to music, except that it falls down instead of up. Music falls up.”

–Davey Williams

*

*

*

*

 

“Writing consists of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.”

–Mary Heaton Vorse

*

*

*

*

 

“I merely took the energy required to pout, and wrote some blues.”

–Duke Ellington

*

*

*

*

“Rules are for established things, like the pieces and positions of a game. Men and women are not established things; they’re experiments, all of them.”

–H.G. Wells

*

*

*

*

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

–Dr. Seuss

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

“Growing old is easy, you just have to live long enough.”

–Groucho Marx

*

*

*

*

“If you cannot read all your books, at any rate handle them and, as it were, fondle them. Peer into them. Let them fall open where they will. Read on from the first sentence that arrests the eye. Set them back on their shelves with your own hands. Arrange them on your own plan, so that, if you do not know what is in them, you at least know where they are. If they cannot be your friends, let them at any rate be your acquaintances.”

–Winston S. Churchill

*

*

*

*

“Most things work fine till they break down.”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

“Where does the fist go when you open your hand?

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

“Once he misplaced his comparative analysis skills, he felt disallusioned.”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

“E-books offer “a more austere, direct engagement with words…what’s more, no dictator can burn one.”

–Tim Parks

*

*

*

*

“I feel so strongly that deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex.”

–Fred Rogers

*

*

*

*

“With all them computers, people ain’t even gonna need books no more.”

–Mumbled by a browsing customer at Reed Books/The Museum of Fond Memories

*

*

*

*

“Tried to give up lint for Lent, but now pollen has replaced it.”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

“When was the last time you saw anybody exeunt? Those were the days.”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

 

“A baby is god’s opinion that the world should go on.”

–Carl Sandburg

*

*

*

*

“There is only one name for any child, and that name is All Children.”

–Carl Sandburg

*

*

*

*

“Look, please, look to the children The Children they know. In their eyes are the answers we seek. And their hearts feel the way to go.”

–Chuck Mangione

*

*

*

*

“Ever true and unswerving, Become as a little child once more.

–Lao Tsu

*

*

*

*

“The bells that the children could hear were inside them.”

–Dylan Thomas

*

*

*

*

“The child… Lifts his tiny hand and longs to touch the sky. The child thinks that he cannot reach it. When he holds it in his hand.

–Manuel Bandeira

*

*

*

*

“Now I shall endeavor to make that which is divine in me rise up to that which is divine in the universe.”

–Plotinus

*

*

*

*

 

“This bookstore is a foster home for fond memories, awaiting your adoption and nurture.”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

“May you love books more than your mother! May its beauty stand before you. Scribedom is the greatest of all callings. There’s nothing like it in the land.”

–From a manuscript in the ancient Egyptian city of Itj-towy, quoted by space archaeologist Sarah Parcak

*

*

*

*

 

“I’m proud of being modest.”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

 

“I never give them hell. I just tell the truth, and they think it is hell.”

–Harry Truman

*

*

*

*

“Keep violence in the mind where it belongs.”

–Brian Aldiss

*

*

*

*

“The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.”

–William James

*

*

*

*

“You don’t write because you want to say something; you write because you’ve got something to say.”

–F. Scott Fitzgerald

*

*

*

*

“Never do to-day what you can put off till tomorrow. Delay may give clearer light as to what is best to be done.”

–Aaron Burr

*

*

*

*

“I have no race prejudices, and I think I have no color prejudices nor creed prejudices. Indeed, I know it. I can stand any society. All I care to know is that a man is a human being–that is enough for me: he can’t be any worse.”

–Mark Twain

*

*

*

*

“When a true genius appears in the world you may know him by this sign: that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.”

–Jonathan Swift

*

*

*

*

 

“Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.”

–George Jean Nathan

*

*

*

*

“Flattery is all right–if you don’t inhale.”

–Adlai Stevenson

*

*

*

*

“In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

*

*

*

*

“Life is not about what happens to you, but about what you do with what happens to you.”

–Chelsea Clinton

*

*

*

*

“I know we have a purpose, I just don’t know what it is.”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

“There’s only one way to change a woman’s mind…agree with her.”

–Snuffy Smith

*

*

*

*

“One day seven years ago I found myself saying to myself–I can’t live where I want to–I can’t go where I want to go–I can’t do what I want to–I can’t even say what I want to…I decided I was a very stupid fool not to at least paint as I wanted to.”

–Georgia O’Keeffe

*

*

*

*

“The task of the artist is to sense more keenly than others the harmony of the world, the beauty and the outrage of what man has done to it, and poignantly to let people know.”

–Alexander Solzhenitsyn

*

*

*

*

“There is no point asserting and reasserting what the heart cannot believe.”

–Alexander Solzhenitsyn

*

*

*

*

“One word of truth outweighs the world.”

–Alexander Solzhenitsyn

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

 

“Sometimes the impossible allows itself the luxury of happening.”

–Charlie Chan

*

*

*

*

“ Each particle of matter is an immensity; each leaf a world; each insect an inexplicable compendium.”

–Lavater

*

*

*

*

“Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”

–George Bernard Shaw

*

*

*

*

“Why should we not all live in peace and harmony? We look up at the same stars, we are fellow-passengers on the same planet and dwell beneath the same sky. What matters it along which road each individual endeavors to find the ultimate truth? The riddle of existence is too great that there should be only one road leading to an answer.”

–Quintus Aurelius Symmachus

*

*

*

*

“Any topic is equally fertile for me. A fly will serve my purpose…Let me begin with whatever subject I please, for all subjects are linked with one another.”

–Montaigne

*

*

*

*

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

– Albert Einstein

*

*

*

*

“Tomorrow is the day after the first day of the rest of your life.”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

“Let the wife make her husband glad to come home and let him make her sorry to see him leave.”

–Martin Luther

*

*

*

*

“Love is the expansion of two natures in such a fashion that each includes the other, each is enriched by the other.”

–Felix Adler

*

*

*

*

 

“My love is like a storybook story But it’s as real as the feelings I feel.”

–Mark Knopfler

*

*

*

*

 

“What on earth would a man do with himself if something did not stand in his way?

–H.G. Wells

*

*

*

*

“Happiness is the sense that one matters.”

–Samuel Shoemaker

*

*

*

*

“What you can become, you are already.”

–Friedrich Hebbel

*

*

*

*

“The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.”

–George Bernard Shaw*

*

*

*

“Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause.”

–Victor Hugo

*

*

*

*

“Don’t tell your friends about your indigestion; “How are you?” is a greeting, not a question.”

–Arthur Guiterman

*

*

*

*

“All we can do is make the best of our friends, love and cherish what is good in them, and keep out of the way of what is bad.”

–Thomas Jefferson

*

*

*

*

“Do something wonderful, someone may imitate it.”

–Albert Schweitzer

*

*

*

*

“If I had to live my life again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.”

–Tallulah Bankhead*

*

*

*

“I generally avoid temptation, unless I can’t resist it.”

–Mae West

*

*

*

*

“My Protestant work ethic made me a bundle, but my Puritanical guilt complex won’t let me enjoy it.”

–Henry Martin

*

*

*

*

“Any zookeeper will tell you that it is easy to get the lion and the lamb to lie down together, just bring in a new lamb every morning.”

–Argus Hamilton

*

*

*

*

“The lion and the lamb shall lie down together but the lamb won’t get much sleep. –Woody Allen

*

*

*

*

 

“Hypocrites always make me want to say one thing and do the opposite.”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

“The mind is its own place, and in itself Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”

–John Milton

*

*

*

*

“It is a tremendous act of violence to begin anything. I am not able to begin. I simply skip what should be the beginning.”

–Rainer Maria Rilke

*

*

*

*

 

“In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.

–Albert Camus

*

*

*

*

“I might have a terrible job, but at least I don’t have any job security.”

–Scott Adams

*

*

*

*

“The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.”

–W.C. Fields

*

*

*

*

“Too low they build who build beneath the stars.”

–Edward Young

*

*

*

*

“Love your Enemies, for they tell you your Faults.”

–Benjamin Franklin

*

*

*

*

“A good life is long enough.”

–Benjamin Franklin

*

*

*

*

“What would it be like to read a book from end to beginning?”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

“You’re boring me. Get off my yawn!”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

“I’m a member of the repressed majority.”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

“This incarnation is not exactly what I had in mind. May I have the next life, please?”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

“You don’t really want to know what’s inside my brain ‘cause you don’t know where it’s been.”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

“So little time and so little to do.”

–Oscar Levant

*

*

*

*

“Underneath this flabby exterior is an enormous lack of character.”

–Oscar Levant

*

*

*

*

“The distinction between past, present, and future has only the significance of a stubborn illusion.”

–Albert Enstein

*

*

*

*

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round heads in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

– Jack Kerouac

*

*

*

*

“Whenever I think of the past, it brings back memories.”

–Steven Wright

*

*

*

*

“Why is it that our memory is good enough to retain the least triviality that happens to us, and yet not good enough to recollect how often we have told it to the same person?”

–Francois de La Rochefoucauld

*

*

*

*

“One lives in the hope of becoming a memory.”

–Antonio Porchia

*

*

*

*

 

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change.”

–Paulo Coelho

*

*

*

*

“It would appear that, in order to assure a just verdict in an action for adultery, the jury should be composed of six men and six women, and—in the event of a tie—a hermaphrodite to cast the deciding vote.” –

-Honore de Balzac

*

*

*

*

“Love as it exists in society is nothing more than the exchange of two fancies and the contact of two epidermises.”

–Sebastien Chamfort

*

*

*

*

“If the shoe fits, it’s ugly.”

–Gold’s Law

*

*

*

*

“If the shoe fits, buy another one just like it.”

–George Carln

*

*

*

*

“Courage is fear holding on one minute longer.”

–Anonymous

*

*

*

*

“Silences make the real conversation between friends. Not the saying, but never needing to say is what counts.”

–Margaret Lee Runbeck

*

*

*

*

“You grow up the day you have your first real laugh–at yourself.”

–Ethel Barrymore

*

*

*

*

“The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.”

–Walter Bagehot

*

*

*

*

“The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.”

–G.K. Chesterton

*

*

*

*

“Spark’s fourth rule for the project manager: Don’t engage in arguments, but if cornered, ask an irrelevant question and lean back with a satisfied grin while your opponent tries to figure out what’s going on—then quickly change the subject.

*

*

*

*

“A rehab is a place where you spend forty thousand dollars to find out that twelve-step meetings are free.”

–Argus Hamilton

*

*

*

*

 

“I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinions I have no respect.”

–Edward Gibbon

*

*

*

*

“So live that you would not be ashamed to sell the family parrot to the town gossip. –Will Rogers

*

*

*

*

 

“As soon as you feel too old to do a thing, do it.

–Margaret Deland

*

*

*

*

“Every good idea eventually backfires.”

–Jim Reed*

*

*

*

“I often consider procrastinating, but I keep putting it off.”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

“At a certain point, what people mean when they use a word becomes its meaning.” –William Safire

*

*

*

*

“In style all that is required is that it convey the message.”

–Confucius

*

*

*

*

“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

–Carrie Fisher

*

*

*

*

“Life is life-threatening.”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. ”

–Katharine Hepburn*

*

*

*

“Prejudice is the reason of fools.”

–Voltaire

*

*

*

*

“Illusion is the first of all pleasures.”

–Voltaire

*

*

*

*

“There is no greater fool than he who thinks himself wise; no one wiser than he who suspects he is a fool.”

–Marguerite de Valois

*

*

*

*

“A woman of honor should never suspect another of things she would not do herself.”

–Marguerite de Valois

*

*

*

*

“History is but a collection of epitaphs.”

–Elbert Hubbard

*

*

*

*

 

“Old men love to give good advice; it consoles them for being able no longer to set a bad example.”

–Rochefoucauld

*

*

*

*

“Anybody can win—unless there happens to be a second entry.”

–George Ade

*

*

*

*

“Wisdom is considered a sign of weakness by the powerful because a wise man can lead without power but only a powerful man can lead without wisdom.”

–Mark B. Cohen

*

*

*

*

“Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment.”

–Robert Benchley

*

*

*

*

“Happiness is having a large, caring, close-knit family in another city.”

–George Burns

*

*

*

*

“Try and live your life the way you wish other people would live theirs.”

–Raymond Burr*

*

*

*

“What’s the secret of enjoying old age? I can’t tell you. It’s a secret.”

–George Burns*

*

*

*

“Get a good idea and stay with it, and work it until it’s done and done right.”

–Walt Disney

*

*

*

*

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”

–Mark Twain

*

*

*

*

“Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.”

–Isaac Asimov

*

*

*

*

“When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that individual is crazy.”

–Dave Barry*

*

*

*

“I always read the last page of a book first, so that if I die before I finish, I will know how it turned out.”

–Nora Ephron

*

*

*

*

“Reality is just a crutch for people who can’t cope with drugs.”

–Robin Williams

*

*

*

*

“The pen is mightier than the sword and considerably easier to write with.”

–Marty Feldman*

*

*

*

“Painting is the art of protecting flat surfaces from the weather and exposing them to the critic.”

–Ambrose Bierce

*

*

*

*

“An artist cannot speak about his art any more than a plant can discuss horticulture.”

–Jean Cocteau

*

*

*

*

“Art is anything you can get away with.”

–Marshall McLuhan

*

*

*

*

 

“Love lights more fires than hate extinguishes”

–Ella Wheeler Wilcox

*

*

*

*

“I recall nostalgia with great fondness.”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

“The mark of a truly great man is that when he dies there’s nothing left for the creditors.”

–Argus Hamilton

*

*

*

*

“Celibacy is not hereditary.”

–First Law of Socio-Genetics

*

*

*

*

“Man is certainly stark mad; he cannot make a flea, and yet he will be making gods by the dozens.”

–Montaigne

*

*

*

*

“I will look at any additional evidence to confirm the opinion to which I have already come.”

–Hugh Molson

*

*

*

*

“A yawn is a silent shout.”

–G. K. Chesterton

*

*

*

*

“The measure of a man’s real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.”

–Lord Macaulay

*

*

*

*

**

*

*

 

“I just put my feet in the air and move them around.”

–Fred Astaire

*

*

*

*

“It was not a bosom to repose upon, but it was a capital bosom to hang jewels upon.”

–Charles Dickens

*

*

*

*

“Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises.”

–Samuel Butler

*

*

*

*

“It is best to love wisely, no doubt; but to love foolishly is better than not to be able to love at all.”

–William Makepeace Thackeray

*

*

*

*

“Reading someone else’s newspaper is like sleeping with someone else’s wife. Nothing seems to be precisely in the right place, and when you find what you are looking for, it is not clear then how to respond to it.”

–Malcolm Bradbury

*

*

*

*

“There’s no money in poetry, but then there’s no poetry in money either.”

–Robert Graves

*

*

*

*

“The one man who should never attempt an explanation of a poem is its author. If the poem can be improved by its author’s explanation it never should have been published.”

–Archibald MacLeish

*

*

*

*

“But I, being poor, have only my dreams. I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.”

–William Butler Yeats

*

*

*

*

“The woman who loves always smells good.”

–Remy de Gourmont

*

*

*

*

“A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man.”

–Lana Turner

*

*

*

*

“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.”

–Mark Twain

*

*

*

*

“It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie were you in his place.”

–H. L. Mencken

*

*

*

*

“There are two literary maladies—writer’s cramp and swelled head.”

–Coulson Kernahan

*

*

*

*

“Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.”

–Edgar Degas

*

*

*

*

“We have learned the answers, all the answers: It is the question that we do not know.”

–Archibald Macleish

*

*

*

*

Elie Wiesel quotes a famous rabbi: “God made man because God loves stories.”

*

*

*

*

 

“If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.”

–Corollary to Edwards’ Law

*

*

*

*

“Art…is a force which blows the roof of the cave where we crouch imprisoned.”

–Ernest Hello

*

*

*

*

“All bad art is the result of good intentions.”

–Oscar Wilde

*

*

*

*

“Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.” –Edgar Degas

*

*

*

*

“When a new book appears one should read an old one.”

–Winston Churchill

*

*

*

*

“I’d much rather be a woman than a man. Women can cry, they can wear cute clothes, and they are the first to be rescued off of sinking ships.”

–Gilda Radner

*

*

*

*

“When you’re in jail, a good friend will be trying to bail you out. A best friend will be in the cell next to you saying, ‘Damn, that was fun.’”

—Unknown

*

*

*

*

“Many years ago I chased a woman for almost two years, only to discover that her tastes were exactly like mine: we both were crazy about girls.”

—Groucho Marx

*

*

*

*

“You’re not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on.”

—Dean Martin

*

*

*

*

“Like all parents, my husband and I just do the best we can, and hold our breath, and hope we’ve set aside enough money to pay for our kids’ therapy.”

—Michelle Pfeiffer

*

*

*

*

“A woman knows all about her children. She knows about dentist appointments, soccer games, romances, best friends, location of friend’s houses, favorite foods, secret fears and hopes and dreams. A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house.”

–unknown

*

*

*

*

“Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.”

—Phyllis Diller

*

*

*

*

“No two identical parts are alike.”

–Beach’s Law

*

*

*

*

 

“Even if it can’t go wrong, it might.”

–Corollary to Murphy’s Law

*

*

*

*

“I preserve things that are significant to me. Only time will determine what is important in the long term. But something can be rediscovered only if someone has collected and preserved it.”

–Michael Feinstein

*

*

*

*

“…a great artist, whatever the immediate conditions disturbing his own life, may be able to clarify for the benefit of another those fundamental truths the conviction of which lies too deep in his consciousness to be reached by external agitations.”

–M.D. Herter Norton

*

*

*

*

 

“I don’t care what category I’m in as long as I’m number one!”

–General Halftrack*

*

*

*

“If everybody agreed with me, they’d all be right!”

–Lucy Van Pelt

*

*

*

*

“Poets utter great and wise things which they do not themselves understand.”

–Plato

*

*

*

*

“Poetry is the art of substantiating shadows, and of lending existence to nothing.”

–Edmund Burke

*

*

*

*

“Poetry is music in words; and music is poetry in sound; both excellent sauce, but, those have lived and died poor, who made them their meat.”

–Andrew Fuller

*

*

*

*

“You will find poetry nowhere, unless you bring some with you.”

–Joseph Joubert

*

*

*

*

“Poetry is not made out of the understanding. The question of common sense is always: ‘What is it good for?’ a question which would abolish the rose, and be triumphantly answered by the cabbage.”

–James Russell Lowell

*

*

*

*

“Poetry is the sister of sorrow; every man that suffers and weeps, is a poet; every tear is a verse; and every heart a poem.”

–Father Andre

*

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*

*

“The highest problem of any art is to cause by appearance the illusion of a higher reality.”

–Johann Wolfgang von Geothe

*

*

*

*

“Would that we could at once paint with the eyes! In the long way from the eye through the arm to the pencil, how much is lost!

–Gotthold Lessing

*

*

*

*

“Architecture is frozen music.”

–Madam de Stael

*

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“A man of the world must seem to be what he wishes to be thought.”

–Jean de la Bruyere

*

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*

*

“May I write words more naked than flesh, stronger than bone, more resilient than sinew, sensitive than nerve.”

–Sappho

*

*

*

*

“The most identifiable trait of Anglo-Saxons is that we always mistake a short memory for a clear conscience.”

–Argus Hamilton

*

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“There is no harm in charging oneself up with delusions between moments of valid inspiration.”

–Steve Martin

*

*

*

*

“Comedy is a distortion of what is happening, and there will always be something happening.”

–Steve Martin

“Do you ever have deja vu?”

–Andie McDowell

“Didn’t you just ask me that?”

–Bill Murray

*

*

*

*

“Be true to your teeth and they won’t be false to you.”

–Soupy Sales

*

*

*

*

“The only thing better than singing is more singing.”

–Ella Fitzgerald

*

*

*

*

“Comfort begets suspicion.”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

“To travel is to take a journey into yourself.”

–Danny Kaye

*

*

*

*

“Perseverance is a great substitute for talent.”

–Steve Martin

*

*

*

*

“Every head is a world.”

–Cuban proverb

*

*

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*

“I do think the author ought to be able to give a good reason for the way things are in his poem. Not a bad question to ask oneself.”

–James Dickey

*

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“I think Ginsberg has done more harm to the craft that I honor and live by than anybody else by reducing it to a kind of mean that enables the most dubious practitioners to claim they are poets because they think, If the kind of thing Ginsberg does is poetry, I can do that.”

–James Dickey*

*

*

*

“If God made anything better than okra, he kept it back for himself.”

–James Dickey

“Art—the arts generally—are always unpredictable, maverick, and tend to be, at their best, uncomfortable.”

–Doris Lessing

*

*

*

*

“I’m trying to get ahead, so I can concentrate on slowing down the rate at which I’m falling behind.”

–Bob Thaves

*

*

*

*

“Ink runs from the corners of my mouth There is no happiness like mine. I have been eating poetry.”

–Mark Strand

“The profession of writing is nothing else but a violent, indestructible passion. When it has once entered people’s heads it never leaves them.”

–George Sand

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

“The dice of the gods are always loaded.”

–Erasmus

*

*

*

*

 

“Know how to make God laugh? Tell him your plans.”

–Robert Altman

*

*

*

*

 

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”

–Ray Bradbury

*

*

*

*

 

OATH OF AFRO-AMERICAN YOUTH Kelly Miller (1920) I will never bring disgrace upon my race by any unworthy deed or dishonorable act. I will live a clean, decent, manly life; and will ever respect and defend the virtue and honor of womanhood; I will uphold and obey the just laws of my country and of the community in which I live , and will encourage others to do likewise; I will not allow prejudice, injustice, insult or outrage to cower my spirit or sour my soul; but will ever preserve the inner freedom of heart and conscience; I will not allow myself to be overcome of evil, but will strive to overcome evil with good; I will endeavor to develop and exert the best powers within me for my own personal improvement, and will strive unceasingly to quicken the sense of racial duty and responsibility; I will in all these ways aim to uplift my race so that, to everyone bound to it by ties of blood, it shall become a bond of ennoblement and not a byword of reproach.

*

*

*

*

 

“Quality’s rare. And never cheap.”

–Lovejoy

 

*

*

*

*

“Always do the next thing.”

–George Carlin

*

*

*

*

“If you cannot find a companion equal to or better than yourself, journey alone–do not travel with a fool.”

–Buddha (Dhammapada)

*

*

*

*

 

“Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down.”

–Ray Bradbury

 

*

*

*

*

THE THREE AMIGOS SALUTE:

Wherever there is injustice, you will find us. Wherever there is suffering, we’ll be there. Wherever liberty is threatened, you will find us. We’re The Three Amigos!

*

*

*

*

 

“Lazy people aren’t lazy. They’re merely clever.”

–Lovejoy

 

*

*

*

*

“Avoiding newspapers ensures a better quality of ignorance.”

–Lovejoy

*

*

*

*

 

“I’ve nothing against wealth as long as nobody suffers and the rich don’t get uppity.”

–Lovejoy

*

*

*

*

 

“I have a callous regard for most people.”

–Jim Reed

*

*

*

*

 

“When you’re up there writing, do you ever get the impression that someone is looking over your shoulder?”

–Groucho Marx to skywriter contestant on “You Bet Your Life”

*

*

*

*

 

“You cannot prepare for the death of a parent–for its awful finality, for what it takes from you.”

–Tina Sinatra

*

*

*

*

“If we listened to our intellect, we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go into business, because we’d be cynical. Well, that’s nonsense. You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.”

–Ray Bradbury

*

*

*

*

“Poetry isn’t strange. You’ve known it all the way from Mother Goose. It’s some sort of make-believe that’s got some sort of truth in it–a little bit that’s so fascinating you can’t get rid of it. The thing I wanted most of all in the world was to know what was going on in the world, to find something to say to whatever happened–to sass it back. My poems are my adjustment to the world. I know what to say to the Sphinx.” –Robert Frost

*

*

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*

“Worthy books are not companions– They are solitudes…”

–P. T. Bailey

*

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*

“How truly wise, perhaps, it was my dollars were so few, for if my purse were full, then I would never know if you had married me for riches, or because my eyes were blue!”

–Louise Shaw

*

*

*

*

“I have all the money I need, provided I die by 4 o’clock this afternoon.”

–Henny Youngman

*

*

*

*

“Time only wasted when sprinkling perfume on goat farm.”

–Charlie Chan

*

*

*

*

“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.”

–Ray Bradbury

*

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*

“When player cannot see man who deal cards, much wiser to stay out of game.”

–Charlie Chan

*

*

*

*

“Every man must wear out at least one pair of fool’s shoes.”

–Charlie Chan

*

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*

*

“The impossible sometimes permits itself the luxury of occurring.”

–Charlie Chan

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*

“When prepared for worst, then can hope for best.”

–Charlie Chan

*

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*

“Secret of this case harder to determine than alley cat’s grandfather.”

–Charlie Chan

*

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*

*

“Very difficult to explain hole in doughnut, but hole always there.”

–Charlie Chan

*

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*

“No one knows less about servants than the master.”

–Charlie Chan

*

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*

*

“Curiosity responsible for cat needing nine lives.”

–Charlie Chan

*

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*

*

“You talk like rooster who think sun come up just to hear him crow.”

–Charlie Chan

*

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*

“Wherever one is not–that is where heart is.”

–Charlie Chan

*

*

*

*

“Mind of woman like needle at bottom of ocean.”

–Charlie Chan

*

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“To live within limits, to want one thing, or a very few things, very much and love them very dearly. Cling to them. Survey them from every angle, become one with them–that is what makes the poet, the artist, the human being.”

–Goethe

*

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*

*

“Agriculture is a very fine thing, because you get such an unmistakable answer as to whether you’re making a fool of yourself or hitting the mark.”

–Goethe

*

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“If the thing that is loved be base, the lover becomes base.”

–Leonardo da Vinci

*

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*

“A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.”

–Mark Twain

*

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*

“The salvation of the world depends on the people who will not take evil good-humoredly, and whose laughter destroys fools instead of encouraging them.”

–Bernard Shaw

*

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*

“A man who fears suffering is already suffering from what he fears.”

–Montaigne

*

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*

*

“A sadist is a person who is kind to a masochist.”

–Unknown

*

*

*

*

“What happens to your fist when you open your hand?”

–Zen Buddhism

*

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*

“What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?”

–Bertolt Brecht

*

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*

“We are confronted with insurmountable opportunities.”

–Walt Kelly

*

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“If the rich could hire other people to die for them, the poor could make a wonderful living.”

–Yiddish proverb

*

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*

“There is no future in bein’ dead.”

–Walt Kelly

*

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*

“God is not all-powerful as he cannot build a wall he cannot jump.”

–Pascal

*

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*

*

“The book above all others in the world which should be forbidden is a catalogue of forbidden books.”

–Lichtenberg

*

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*

*

“One-seventh of your life is spent on Monday.”

–Jon Arbuckle (Jim Davis of “Garfield” strip)

*

*

*

*

“God laughs in heaven when anyone says, ‘Here I’m learned; this I understand…’”

–Elizabeth Barrett Browning

*

*

*

*

“Her somewhat narrow forehead braided tight as if for taming accidental thoughts from possible pulses.”

–Elizabeth Barrett Browning

*

*

*

*

“Women aren’t as mere as they used to be.”

–Walt Kelly

*

*

*

*

“Large-scale slavery begins when the traditional mode of production is dislocated, usually due to warfare, imperial expansion, and changes in basic crops, which in turn induces the rural free poor to migrate into the cities and newly opened colonial settlements. At the imperial center, land and capital fall increasingly under the monopoly of the rich, while citizen labor grows scarcer. The territorial expansion of the state, by making the enslavement of other peoples profitable, temporarily solves the economic problem. Were human beings then molded by the new culture, were they to behave like the red Polyergus ants for which slavery is an automatic response, slave societies might become permanent. But the qualities that we recognize as most distinctly mammalian–and human–make such a transition impossible. The citizen working class becomes further divorced from the means of production because of their aversion to the low status associated with common labor. The slaves, meanwhile, attempt to maintain family and ethnic relationships and to piece together the shards of their old culture. Where the effort succeeds, many of them rise in status and alter their position from its original, purely servile form. Where self-assertion fails because it is suppressed, reproduction declines and large numbers of new slaves must be imported in each generation. The rapid turnover has a disintegrating effect on the culture of slaves and masters alike. Absenteeism rises as the slave owners attempt to spend more of their time in the centers of their own culture. Overseers come increasingly into control. Inefficiency, brutality, revolt, and sabotage increase, and the system spirals slowly downward.”

–Edward O. Wilson

*

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“Slave-supported societies’…ascent to maturity is rapid, their period of glory short, and their descent to oblivion ostentatious and mightily drawn out.”

–Orlando Patterson

*

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“Nationalism and racism…are the culturally nurtured outgrowths of simple tribalism…civilizations have raised self-love to the rank of high culture, exalted themselves by divine sanction and diminished others with elaborately falsified written histories.”

–Edward O. Wilson

*

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“The force behind most warlike policies is ethnocentrism, the irrationally exaggerated allegiance of individuals to their kin and fellow tribesmen.”

–Edward O. Wilson

*

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*

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

–Joseph Campbell

*

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“Human aggression cannot be explained as either a dark-angelic flaw or a bestial instinct. Nor is it the pathological symptom of upbringing in a cruel environment. Human beings are strongly predisposed to respond with unreasoning hatred to external threats and to escalate their hostility sufficiently to overwhelm the source of the threat by a respectably wide margin of safety.”

–Edward O. Wilson

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“Generosity without hope of reciprocation is the rarest and most cherished of human behaviors, subtle and difficult to define, distributed in a highly selective pattern, surrounded by ritual and circumstance, and honored by medallions and emotional orations.”

–Edward O. Wilson

*

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“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”

–Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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“Am I beautiful? I think it must be the rose. My hair–it only weighs me down. My eyes–I only see with them. My lips–they only help me to speak. Of what use is it to be beautiful?”

–Spoken by the robot Helena in R.U.R. by Karel Capek

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“Our true nationality is mankind.”

–H.G. Wells

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“Popular education, no matter what efforts are made to improve it, must inevitably remain but little more than a device for perpetuating the ideas that happen to be official–in other words, the nonsense regarded as revelation by the powers currently in control…”

–H.L. Mencken

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“Human life as we know it, is only the dispersed raw material for life as it might be. There is a hitherto undreamt-of fullness, freedom and happiness within the reach of our species. Mankind can pull itself together and take that now…but, if mankind fails to apprehend its opportunity, then division, cruelties, delusions and ultimate frustration lies before our kind. The decision to perish or escape has to be made within a very limited time. For escape, vast changes in the educational, economic and directive structure of human society are necessary. They are definable. They are practicable. But they demand courage and integrity. They demand a force and concentration of will and a power of adaptation in habits and usages which may not be within the compass of mankind.”

–H.G. Wells

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“I hate pious people. I hate their abject prayers. Almost always they are mean demands for preferential miracles.”

–H.G. Wells

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“Revolution is the living God and Religion is pickled God.”

–H.G. Wells

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*

“The individual life is doomed to frustration and death, unless it can escape into the synthesis of mankind…Give yourself, with all your heart, or else perish, as all self-centered individuals must perish, for ever. Your individual life in itself is worth nothing at all. It may be bright for a moment like a flash in the darkness, but it will leave the darkness deeper than before. Live for all life or do not dream you are living.”

–H.G. Wells

*

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“Has any psychological experiment yielded a more delightful suggestion than this one: that there is a part of the mind without ambition or information, which nonetheless is expert on what is beautiful?”

–Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

*

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*

“One of the millionaire ladies asked me one day, ‘If you were in my shoes, what would you do?’…what I told her was that I’d buy apartments for all the people I know who don’t have a decent place to live. I’d furnish it for them and then make a gift of it to them. To which my lady millionaire responded, ‘And when the sink got clogged, they’d call you and ask you to fix it for them.’ I said, ‘There are plumbers’…but I could see the implication: that once having given, those to whom you gave would turn to you to straighten out their problems, big and small. And I’m sure that giving–endlessly and, as it were, without limitation–would soon pale. Have you ever heard the prayer of the Provencal fisherman: ‘Holy Mother, I pray you to grant me enough fish that I may eat and feed my family, have sufficient left to give some away, and then enough more so that those who need may steal from me.’ As far as money goes, that’s the only meaningful philosophy I’ve ever heard.”

–Pauline Reage

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“Nothing happens unless first a dream.”

–Carl Sandburg

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“I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.”

–Duke Ellington

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“Almost all the craziness in the world comes from running from pain.”

–Mary Pipher

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“Most of the unhappiness in the world is caused by people who are 90 percent happy, going for the last 10 percent.”

–Mary Pipher

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*

“If you’re not the lead dog, the scenery never changes.”

–Grimmy (Mike Peters)

*

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*

“Did you know that at one time, each of us weighed 17 pounds?”

–Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding

*

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“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

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“Since I haven’t brains enough to write more solid articles and wouldn’t if I could–I often worry about my future since I am no doctor and at best but a mean scrivener, but out of all the things one does, from pipe fitting to testing seamless leather belting & from ceramics to statesmanship, I can do only one thing, even passably, and that is make words and space them between punctuation points…”

–James Thurber

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“They come for you in the morning in a limousine; they take you to the studio; they stick a pretty girl in your arms; sometimes they earn something off you and give you some of the profits. They call that a profession?–come on!”

–Marcello Mastroianni

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“The height of human wisdom is to bring our tempers down to our circumstances and to make a calm within, under the weight of the greatest storm without.”

–Daniel Defoe

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The meek are contesting the will.

–Bumper Sticker

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THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FLEE

–Jim Reed

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“My theology, briefly, is that the universe was dictated, but not signed.”

–Christopher Morley

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“My theology, briefly, is that the universe forces me to examine the concept of unintelligent design.”

–Jim Reed

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“If there is any principle of the constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought–not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought of those we hate.”

–Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

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“You can fool too many of the people too much of the time.”

–James Thurber

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“I must decline your invitation owing to a subsequent engagement.”

–Oscar Wilde

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“I would like to take you seriously but to do so would affront your intelligence.”

–William F. Buckley Jr.

*

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*

“Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.”

–Oscar Wilde

*

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“I’ve always thought respectable people scoundrels, and I look anxiously at my face every morning for signs of my becoming a scoundrel.”

–Bertrand Russell

*

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*

“So little time and so little to do.”

–Oscar Levant

*

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*

“If I had my way, any man guilty of golf would be ineligible for any office of trust in the United States.”

–H.L. Mencken

*

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“I’m an insomniac-agnostic-egotist: I lie awake nights trying to figure out whether or not I believe that I am as great as I am.”

–Thaves (“Frank & Earnest”

LAST EDITED & UPDATED 2-27-17

 

Listen to the Mockingbirds Among Us

 Listen to Jim’s podcast:

 http://redclaydiary.com/mp3/listentothemockingbirds.mp3

or read his story below:

Listen to the Mockingbirds Among Us

When the Mockingbird passed this week, Atticus Finch and a host of other heroes, fictitious and actual, lined up to remind me of their importance in my life. Here are some thoughts about a few influential characters to whom attention must be paid:

My grandfather bought a house in the tiny coal mining town West Blocton, Alabama, around the turn of the century. On Easter Sunday in the year 1909, my father, Tommy, was born in that house. Since there were seven or so brothers and sisters ahead of Tommy, my grandfather Jim placed the infant in an Easter basket and announced to his brood that the Easter Bunny had delivered this pink, noisy package.

Back then, kids believed that sort of thing.

Now, to know my father, you’d have to know the people he admired, since men in his generation weren’t much for sitting around telling you about themselves. No, you just had to look around and pay attention to the men whose lives they emulated.

In my father’s case, I can remember who some of his heroes, both literary and real, were:

Sergeant Alvin York, who never accepted a dime in trade for the exemplary heroism he’d shown for his country in World War I.

Preacher Josiah Dozier Grey and Uncle Famous Prill, the heroes of Joe David Brown’s Birmingham novel/movie, Stars in My Crown, men who never wavered from belief in family and neighbors and principles. They were forerunners of Atticus Finch and other strong Southern heroes of fact and fancy.

Harry Truman, who dispensed with nonsense and tried to do the right thing, even when it was not popular. He was in a long line of no-nonsense leaders, such as John L. Lewis and Eric Hoffer, people who thought for themselves and never followed a posse or a trend.

Jesus Christ, who, like my father, was a carpenter, and a principled man.

And so on.

Now, it’s important to understand this one thing about my father—to look at him, to be around him, you’d never know he was a hero. He was a working-class, blue-collar, unassuming person you’d probably not notice on the street, unless you noted that he limped from an old coal mining injury received when he tried to save another man’s life. It was his very invisibility that made him a true hero, because he did the kind of thing that nobody gets credit for: he loved unconditionally and without reward. That’s right. He was a practitioner of unconditional love for family, the kind of love that seeks no return, no attention. You would have embarrassed Tommy Reed if you had tried to thank him for his acts of kindness, because you were not supposed to notice.He gave money in secret to relatives in need. He grimaced and bore silently the abuse of those who forgot to appreciate or thank him. And he never announced his good deeds. You just had to catch him now and then in an act of kindness.

His heroes were all men who didn’t need adulation.

What my father needed was a hard day’s work at an honest job, a few moments of privacy after a good meal, time to read a book or watch television with a child or grandchild on his lap, and an occasional hug from his wife, my mother.

You could do worse than have a father like Preacher Grey and Joel McCrea, Uncle Famous and Juano Hernandez, Gregory Peck and Atticus Finch, Eric Hoffer, John L. Lewis, Harry Truman, Sergeant York and Gary Cooper, and Jesus.

Do they make ‘em like that any more? You bet they do, but you won’t know about it for a while, because they don’t have press agents. What they do have is the appreciation that takes years to grow and make itself known, the appreciation we come to have after we, too, have been called upon to commit an occasional act of unrewarded kindness.

Take another look at your heroes, both silent and palpable. Listen to what they have to say through actions and words.

They are to be cherished

© Jim Reed 2016 A.D.

jim@jimreedbooks.com

http://www.jimreedbooks.com

http://www.jimreedbooks.com/podcast

Twitter and Facebook

 

 

SOME WONDERFUL OLD THINGS WE’VE SOLD OF LATE

 some wonderful old things we’ve sold of late

 

DEAR FOLKS: Letters and Diary from a World War II GI

CATCH 22

BRAVE NEW WORLD

1984

FAHRENHEIT 451

Several great popular classic novels

Rand. ANTHEM

Newin. 1814

Deighton. SSGB

Follett. 1 title

 

Heinlein. STARSHIP TROOPERS

Card. TREASON

Vinge.  FIRE UPOM THE DEEP

Reynolds. 2 titles

Simmons. ILLIUM

De Tocqueville. AMERICA

2 American history titles

Oller. SWAMP FOX

Crukamp.  BUSH WAR

HODESIA

LPs by Dinah Washington & Sarah Vaughan

2 religious tracts

3 old publicity photos

De Tocqueville. DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA

EDWARD HOPPER

Card.  1 title

Greene. FABRIC OF THE COSMOS

1959: August issue of Sepia Magazine with Cover Photo of Janie Burdette & Singer Margaret Tynes & Rube Walker  & 1959 Mississippi Lynching Case

1959: March issue of Sepia Magazine with Cover Photo of  Esquerita Plus Dakota Staton & Sugar Ray Robinson & Roy Hamilton & Earl Bostic  & Nat King Cole & Pearl Bailey & Juano Hernandez & Belafonte & Poitier  & M. J. Batiste  & George Henry White

1 fairy tale book

Zane Grey. 1 book

3 elementary chapter books

$100 gift card

THE HISTORY OF RUSSELL COUNTY ALABAMA

SOUTHERN GENTS A book of Single Successful Men of Alabama

Burroughs. NAKED LUNCH

ANGEL ON HIS WING

Street.  TAP ROOTS

Hemingway. IN OUR TIME

Kerouac. ON THE ROAD

Cervantes. DON QUIXOTE

1 moveable star map

A MANUAL FOR COURTS-MARTIAL (ARMY, 1928)

THE ARMY WIFE

UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL ORIGINAL NEWS FLASHES

Salten. BAMBI

Edgar Rice Burroughs. A FIGHTING MAN OF MARS

1 mystery novel

ROBERTS RULES OF ORDER

THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX

Nee. SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY

BLIZZARD OF THE BLUE MOON

SUMMER OF THE SEA SERPENT

KAMA SUTRA

KRAKATOA

Edith Hamilton. 2 books on mythology

A stack of Barry Hannah and Jim Harrison titles

2 mysteries

20 horror movies (VHS)

1927: April Issue of Etude Magazine with Cover Photo of Baby Playing Piano

ALFRED HITCHCOCK AND THE THREE INVESTIGATORS IN THE MYSTERY OF THE STUTTERING PARROT

 

Several sports magazines & books

Atwood. HANDMAID’S TALE

2 novels

Frankl. MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING

Several philosophy titles

C.S. Lewis. 1 nonfiction title

5 old postcards

Several religious works

Kierkegaard. 2 titles

BAMBI

1 prayer book

Faulkner. 2 hardbacks

ALICE IN WONDERLAND POP-UP BOOK

SCREWTAPE LETTERS

1 STARWARS press kit

6 VINTAGE sci-fi novels

 

Ngaio Marsh. 1 mystery

Ellison. I HAVE NO MOUTH AND I MUST SCREAM

1 history title

1 vintage western paperback novel

Burgess. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE

Hugo. POEMS

1 classic novel

ENDER’S GAME

1980: BELLEAIR Yearbook of VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY in PENNSYLVANIA

1900 Census Report tabloid

1 Bible

1 world globe & stand

1 jazz LP

A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES

Lennon/Marx poster

Sue. THE WANDERING JEW

4 LPs

Hemingway. 1 title

Bragg. 1 title

Thoreau. WALDEN

C.S. Lewis. 2 non-fiction titles

1 handmade journal

Stevenson. TREASURE ISLAND

Latham. LEAVING GEE’S BEND

White. MAMA MAKES UP HER MIND

Yearbook

Heinlein. 1 title

Capote. IN COLD BLOOD

ASTORIA

THIS PLACE KENTUCKY

Furlong. 2 Mystery Titles

Reed. HOW TO BECOME YOUR OWN BOOK & DAD’S TWEED COAT

Bradbury. ZEN AND THE ART OF WRITING

Several YA titles

Edgar Allan Poe. 1 title

 

Thayer. 13 WOMEN

1 LP

1 old Bham photo

Michael Moorcock. 2 fantasy titles

1 issue of BIRMINGHAM ARTS JOURNAL

Rilke. 1 title

Dick. MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE

TELECULT POWER

DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS HANDBOOK

Jack London. IRON HEEL

1 Civil War diary

Vachel Lindsay. COLLECTION

Thomas Mann. 1 title

2 novels

Dickens. 1 leatherbound title

CAINE MUTINY

1932 movie magazine

3 mysteries

3 sci-fi novels

Joyce. ULYSSES

NORSE MYTHOLOGY

THREE BY FLANNERY O’CONNOR

Steinbeck. EAST OF EDEN

1 old accordion

ROBERT JEMISON JR. A MAN WITH VISION

Lee. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD limited edition

1 big stack of LPs

Vonnegut. 3 titles

Capote. IN COLD BLOOD

 

2 winemaking books

C.S. Lewis. THE QUOTABLE

Windham. ALABAMA ONE BIG FRONT PORCH

2 mysteries

Craig Johnson. 1 Longmire title

Wilbur Smith. 1 title

Louis Lamour. 3 titles

1 OZ book

SHEPHERD OF THE HILLS

Dumas. COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO 2-volume set 1910

Morrison. THE BLUEST EYE

Erle Stanley Gardner. 1 title

1 print of the old Bham terminal station

BORN ON THIRD BASE

Agatha Christie. 1 title in French

2 French-language books

Hemingway. 5 titles

Harris. WHEN MERMAIDS SANG and WHAT REMAINS OF HEAVEN

Sartre. NO EXIT

Roach. STIFF

Moore. PRACTICAL DEMON KEEPING and ISLAND OF THE SEQUINED LOVE NUN

Woodward. WIRED

Davis. AUTOBIOGRAPHY

Schleshinger. IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY

 

1 French novel

1 Oscar Wilde collection

A stack of classic children’s books

1 book on Alabama’s train terminal (signed)

THE ALABAMA THEATRE

1939: April 8 issue of Billboard Magazine  with Forney Cover Illustration Plus 1 Half-page Ad for ERSKINE HAWKINS (Tuxedo Junction)  AND HIS ORCHESTRA (“The Twentieth Century Gabriel”)

ROBERT MOTHERWELL bio

Cleary. BEAVER & WALLY tv cover  Leave It to Beaver

Time Magazine March 3 1947

1 pinhole camera guide

1 philosophy work

1 horse poster

2 old comic books

1 stack of old reading copies

Rick Bragg. 2 titles, one autographed

Weber. CRUSADE

2 TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD-related titles

WORKS OF C.S. LEWIS

Orwell. 1984

Chaucer. CANTERBURY TALES

DVD RESURRECTION

1 lapel pin/Alabama

Several classic novels

Several old prints

2 pairs of sunglasses

Kierkegaard. EITHER OR

IN THE SHADOW OF BUDDHA

WESLEY’S PLAIN ACCOUNT OF CHRISTIAN PERFECTION

Dr. Seuss. 2 titles

Vonnegut. 1 title

Hello Young Ghost Dancers Wherever You Are

Listen to Jim’s podcast:

http://redclaydiary.com/mp3/hellowyoungghostdancers.mp3

or read his story below:

Hello Young Ghost Dancers Wherever You Are

The Downtown city ghost dancers come alive only when there are wind-tunnel breezes travelling southwest to northeast on Third Avenue North.

Suddenly, each empty curbside trash container becomes an opaque-white jack-in-the-box, the plastic bags inflate, the rushing air pummels them about. They dance in place, these celebratory spirits, since they are securely anchored.

As I drive the length of Third Avenue, the Oscar Peterson jazz inside my car keeps time with the dervishes. Oscar and the ghosts make merry together, just for my personal entertainment.

Once I park next to the bookshop, I reluctantly leave the party and open the doors to customers, booklovers, collectors, tourists, readers, explorers.

Today, a young man nervously proposes to his girlfriend in the very corner of the shop where they once had their first date–a corner where people come to read old love letters and diaries written by lovers long gone. Pre-arranged photographers come out of hiding and record the event among titters and giggles and broad smiles and suppressed tears. The visitors leave happy. Perhaps they will return on their first anniversary.

I wonder whether the dancing street ghosts will throw rice.

Later, another couple arrives, followed by a photographer. This particular pair is engaged to be married but want pictures taken throughout the store, a tribute to their enthrallment with things old, borrowed, multi-hued, a tribute to the special aura and fragrance exuded by books and wonderful old collectibles.

Romance is in the air.

It all seems so logical. My 36-year-old shop, filled to the brim with fond memories, is being appreciated for a few minutes.

Attention is being paid.

It almost makes me feel as if the place really matters.

Long after the Museum of Fond Memories fades from the street scene, celebrating ghosts will still respond to well-placed breezes. Young lovers will still find hope in obscure places. Nostalgia buffs will continue to honor the past. Somebody somewhere will still be hoarding a real book or two and reading quietly under a comforter late at night when nobody else is paying attention.

And love notes will remain hidden for future explorers to discover

© Jim Reed 2016 A.D.

jim@jimreedbooks.com

http://www.jimreedbooks.com

http://www.jimreedbooks.com/podcast

Twitter and Facebook

Knowledge Acquired On a Don’t-Need-to-Know Basis

Listen to Jim’s podcast: 

http://redclaydiary.com/mp3/knowledgeacquiredonadontneedtoknowbasis.mp3

or read his story below:

Knowledge Acquired On a Don’t-Need-to-Know Basis

 

“Well, that’s just vulgar.”

“Don’t be vulgar.”

“They are vulgar people.”

I lie late at night on the top bunk in my childhood room many moons ago and listen to The Voices. Staring at the hovering ceiling and awaiting sweet sleep, I try to sort out what The Voices are telling me.

The word “vulgar” keeps popping up and forcing me to work past it. It is a word my mother uses frequently in describing uncouth behavior or disreputable people or scatological language.

It is an interesting word because it is alive with uncomfortable meaning, abrasive undertone.

Vulgar.

Don’t ever hear that word in my present grownup world. Wonder why?

“Vulgar” is Mother’s way of avoiding the use of what she calls “curse words,” the words she feels are useless and way too easy to employ. When I run out of creative vocabulary, I tend to resort to short-cut words, usually terse and profane. I learn from her that in a stressful or confrontational situation it is important to stop, count to ten, then carefully and thoughtfully speak. The few times I have been able to employ this advice, it actually works.

Unfortunately, to this day, my mouth generally moves more spontaneously than my brain…so Mom’s advice remains affixed to a wall in a red metal box with small window and sign that reads, “In case of vulgar usage, break glass and count to ten.”

Or something like that.

I don’t like being vulgar, and I don’t like it when vulgarity abounds in my childhood world as well as today’s world.  So, vulgar is my constant filter. Vulgar serves as a protective helmet that I wear in order to fend off the vulgarians.

And it helps me get smugly through the day, knowing that vulgar people are so ignorant they can’t even count to ten

 

© Jim Reed 2016 A.D.

jim@jimreedbooks.com

http://www.jimreedbooks.com

http://www.jimreedbooks.com/podcast

Twitter and Facebook