Best Quotes of All Time—On Art, Writing, Creativity and Beauty
The blood jet is poetry and there is no stopping it.
Odd how the creative power at once brings the whole universe to order.
Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things.
The two most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar, and familiar things new.
If you would be pungent, be brief; for it is with words as with sunbeams—the more they are condensed the deeper they burn.
Writing is a form of personal freedom. It frees us from the mass identity we see in the making all around us. In the end,
writers will write not to be outlaw heroes of some underculture but mainly to save themselves, to survive as individuals.
—Don Delillo (American novelist)
Seek the lofty by reading, hearing, and seeing great work at some moment every day.
Words are things; and a small drop of ink,
Falling like dew upon a thought; produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.
To write well is at once to think well, to feel righty, and to render properly! It is to have, at the same time, mind, soul, taste.
The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.
Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very”; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.
If you can speak what you will never hear, if you can write what you will never read, you have done rare things.
—Henry David Thoreau
I decided that it was not wisdom that enabled poets to write their poetry, but a kind of instinct or inspiration, such as you find in seers and prophets who deliver all their sublime messages without knowing in the least what they mean.
Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.
Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.
The sight of stars makes me dream.
—Vincent van Gogh
The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.
—Chuck Close (artist)
Art will remain the most astonishing activity of mankind born out of struggle between wisdom and madness, between dream and reality in our mind.
All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.
We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of the dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams;
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.
Wit is educated insolence.
The pen is mightier than the sword.
We rely upon the poets, the philosophers, and the playwrights to articulate what most of us can only feel, in joy and sorrow. They illuminate the thoughts for which we only grope; they give us the strength and balm we cannot find in ourselves. Whenever I feel my courage wavering I rush to them. They will give me the wisdom of acceptance, the will and resilience to push on.
To grasp the full significance of life is the actor’s duty, to interpret it is his problem, and to express it his dedication.
Music is higher revelation than philosophy.
It is something to be able to pain a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look. To affect the quality of the day – that is the highest of the arts.
—Henry David Thoreau
In every block of marble I see a statue;
See it as plainly as though it stood before me,
Shaped and perfect in attitude and action.
I have only to hew away the rough walls
Which imprison the lovely apparition
To reveal it to other eyes, as mine already see it.
Beauty is not caused. It is.
It is cruel, you know, that music should be so beautiful. It has the beauty of loneliness and of pain: of strength and freedom. The beauty of disappointment and never-satisfied love. The cruel beauty of nature, and everlasting beauty of monotony.
The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself
Dedicated to awakening souls throughout the world,