It’s very possible that your life in art — your successful life in art — might be a struggle from start to finish.
If you don’t live it, it won’t come out your horn.
Sure I have self-doubts. I just spent three days trying to paint a two-inch rock and thought maybe I’d be better off wrapping produce in a supermarket.
Artists don’t talk about art. Artists talk about work. If I have anything to say to young writers, it’s stop thinking of writing as art. Think of it as work.
There is no such thing as Art. There are only artists.
Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
If you wish to be a writer, write.
In this country we encourage “creativity” among the mediocre, but real bursting creativity appalls us. We put it down as undisciplined, as somehow “too much.”
Take me, I am the drug; take me, I am hallucinogenic.
Could Hamlet have been written by a committee, or the Mona Lisa painted by a club? Could the New Testament have been composed as a conference report? Creative ideas do not spring from groups. They spring from individuals. The divine spark leaps from the finger of God to the finger of Adam, whether it takes ultimate shape in a law of physics or a law of the land, a poem or a policy, a sonata or a mechanical composition.
No one has ever written, painted, sculpted, modeled, built, or invented except literally to get out of hell.
I have asked a lot of my emotions — 120 stories. The price was high . . . because there was one little drop of something, not blood, not a tear, not my seed, but me more intimately than these, in every story; it was the extra I had. Now it is gone.
Do not think of your faults, still less of others’ faults; look for what is good and strong, and try to imitate it. Your faults will drop off, like dead leaves, when their time comes.
Creative minds always have been known to survive any kind of bad training.
The great thing and the hard thing is to stick to things when you have outlived the first interest, and not yet got the second, which comes with a sort of mastery.
The question becomes: what is the appropriate behavior for a man or a woman in the midst of this world, where each person is clinging to his piece of debris? What is the proper salutation between people as they pass each other in this flood? These are the things that concern my work today.
I think of that friend too much moved by music who turned to games and made a game of boredom, of that one too much moved by faces who turned his face to the wall, and of that marvelous liar who turned at last to truth.
What never vary are the necessities of being in the world, of having to labor and to die there.
I do believe it is possible to create, even without ever writing a word or painting a picture, by simply molding one’s inner life. And that, too, is a deed.