There was no immunity to cuckoo ideas on Earth.
The secret to success in any human endeavor is total concentration.
Think of what a paradise this world would be if men were kind and wise.
Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.
No art is possible without a dance with death.
History is merely a list of surprises. It can only prepare us to be surprised yet again.
The programming wasn’t done surgically or electrically, or by any other sort of neurological intrusiveness. It was done socially, with nothing but talk, talk, talk.
Find a subject you care about and which you feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, and not your games with language which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.
I am committing suicide by cigarette, I replied. She thought that was reasonably funny. I didn't. I thought it was hideous that I should scorn life that much, sucking away on cancer sticks.
And I left the seashell roar and the aurora borealis of the city's heart farther and farther behind me.
I am, of course, notoriously hooked on cigarettes. I keep hoping the things will kill me. A fire at one end and a fool at the other.
Labor history was pornography of a sort in those days, and even more so in these days. In public schools and in the homes of nice people it was and remains pretty much taboo to tell tales of labor's sufferings and derring-do.
I have never identified with the K in Kafka's works, by the way. Having grown up in a democracy, I have dared to imagine that I know at all times who is really in charge, what is really going on. This could be a mistake.
I am the Emperor! cried Harrison. Do you hear? I am the Emperor! Everybody must do what I say at once! He stamped his foot and the studio shook.
Even as I stand here he bellowed, crippled, hobbled, sickened -- I am a greater ruler than any man who ever lived! Now watch me become what I can become.
The statue was of a nude woman playing a slide trombone. It was entitles, enigmatically, Evelyn and Her Magic Violin.
Their beauty was to the beauty of Miss Canal Zone as the glory of the Sun was to the glory of a lightning bug.
The church, which squatted among the headstones like a wet mother dodo, had been at various times Presbyterian, Congregationalist, Unitarian, and Universally Apocalyptic. It was now the Church of God the Utterly Indifferent.
In The Mysterious Stranger, Mark Twain proves to his own grim satisfaction, and to mine as well, that Satan and not God created the planet earth and the damned human race. If you doubt that, read your morning paper. Never mind what paper. Never mind what date.
That war only made billionaires out of millionaires. Today's war is making trillionaires out of billionaires. Now I call that progress.
It was going to be about the love my wife and I had for each other. It was going to show how a pair of lovers in a world gone mad could survive by being loyal only to a nation composed of themselves -- a nation of two.
My father died many years ago now -- of natural causes. So it goes. He was a sweet man. He was a gun nut, too. He left me his guns. They rust.
The smoke from her cigarette passed beneath the nostrils of the brown and white girls, and their space-annihilating concupiscence seemed centered on mentholated smoke along.
I think that novels that leave out technology misrepresent life as badly as Victorians misrepresented life by leaving out sex.
The things other people have put into my head, at any rate, do not fit together nicely, are often useless and ugly, are out of proportion with one another, are out of proportion with life as it really is outside my head.
I speak of humorless people as having a moral flaw, and that's not fair. It's just like regarding it as a moral flaw that someone can't sing. An awful lot of humorless people come into this world, and they make very good Nazis.
The most radical, audacious thing to think is that there might be some point to working hard and thinking hard and reading hard and writing hard and trying to be of service.
My advice to writers just starting out? Don't use semi-colons! They are transvestite hermaphrodites, representing exactly nothing. All they do is suggest you might have gone to college.
I think the planet's immune system is trying to get rid of us with AIDS and new strains of flu and tuberculosis, and so on. I think the planet should get rid of us. We're really awful animals.
Private -' I said. 'I've been living alone so long, everything about me's private. I'm surprised anyone's able to understand a word I say.
And I apologize to all of you who are the same age as my grandchildren. And many of you reading this are the same age as my grandchildren. They, like you, are being royally shafted and lied to by our Baby Boomer corporations and government.
Sometimes I think it is a great mistake to have matter that can think and feel. It complains so. By the same token, though, I suppose that boulders and mountains and moons could be accused of being a little too phlegmatic.
But if today is really in honor of a hundred children murdered in a war, he said, is today a day for a thrilling show? The answer is yes, on one condition: that we, the celebrants, are working tirelessly to reduce the stupidity and viciousness of ourselves and of all mankind.
About astrology and palmistry: they are good because they make people vivid and full of possibilities. They are communism at its best. Everybody has a birthday and almost everybody has a palm.
I say in speeches that a plausible mission of artists is to make people appreciate being alive at least a little bit. I am then asked if I know of any artists who pulled that off. I reply, 'The Beatles did'.
Thanks to TV and for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative.
Fuller's cigar in the night was a beacon warning carefree, frivolous people away. It was plainly a cigar smoked in anger.
The Earthlings behaved at all times as though there were a big eye in the sky as though that big eye were ravenous for entertainment.
I was hoping to build a country and add to its literature. That's why I served in World War II, and that's why I wrote books.
Never had I seen a human being better adjusted to such a humiliating physical handicap. I shuddered with admiration.
Most of the supposed wealth held by American banks at that point had become so wholly imaginary, so weightless and impalpable, that any amount of it could be transferred instantly to Ecuador, or anyplace else capable of receiving a written message by wire or radio.
I was a student in the Department of Anthropology. At that time, they were teaching that there was absolutely no difference between anybody. They may be teaching that still.
I concluded that the best thing for me and for those around me was to want nothing, to be enthusiastic about nothing, to be as unmotivated as possible, in fact, so that I would never again hurt anyone.
Honest to God, Bill, the way things are going, all I can think of is that I'm a character in a book by somebody who wants to write about somebody who suffers all the time.
This much I knew and know: I was making myself hideously uncomfortable by not narrowing my attention to details of life which were immediately important, and by refusing to believe what my neighbors believed.
I think it's important to live in a nice country rather than a powerful one. Power makes everybody crazy.
It's the writer's job to stage confrontations, so the characters will say surprising and revealing things, and educate and entertain us all.
Somebody gets into trouble, then gets out of it again. People love that story. They never get tired of it.
I would have had him hanged from the yardarm, hick--if somebody hadn't stolen the, hick, yardarm, hick. At dawn, hick--if somebody hadn't stolen the dawn.
One good thing about TV is, if you die violently, God forbid, on camera, you will not have died in vain because you will be great entertainment.
I don't know about you, but I practice a disorganized religion. I belong to an unholy disorder. We call ourselves Our Lady of Perpetual Astonishment.
The slaves were simply turned loose without any property. They were easily recognizable. They were black. They were suddenly free to go exploring.
It was a hideous discovery for the stranger to make--that a man at the end of his days was capable of inflicting pain as the rawest, loudest youth. With so little time left, the stranger added one more item to his long, long list of regrets.
The surface of Earth heaved and seethed in fecund restlessness. Earth was most fertile where the most death was.
You're learning that you do not inhabit a solid, reliable social structure -- that the older people around you are worried, moody, goofy human beings who themselves were little kids only a few days ago.
My special situation was that I was the son and grandson of architects. And so I saw building. We were building the city, and that was exciting.
Just in the nick of time they realized that it was their own habitat they were wrecking -- that they weren't merely visitors.
The truth is, we know so little about life, we don't really know what the good news is and what the bad news is.
I thought scientists were going to find out exactly how everything worked, and then make it work better.
The most racist, nastiest act by America, after human slavery, was the bombing of Nagasaki. Not of Hiroshima, which might have had some military significance. But Nagasaki was purely blowing away yellow men, women, and children. I'm glad I'm not a scientist because I'd feel so guilty now.
Thinking doesn't seem to help very much. The human brain is too high-powered to have many practical uses in this particular universe.
I am simply impressed by the unexpected insights which shower down on me when my job is to imagine, as contrasted with the woodenly familiar ideas which clutter my desk when my job is to tell the truth.
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