I don't suppose anybody ever deliberately listens to a watch or a clock. You don't have to. You can be oblivious to the sound for a long while, then in a second of ticking it can create in the mind unbroken the long diminishing parade of time you didn't hear.
Living is one constant and perpetual instant when the arras-veil before what-is-to-be hangs docile and even glad to the lightest naked thrust if we had dared, were brave enough (not wise enough: no wisdom needed here) to make the rending gash.
I could smell the curves of the river beyond the dusk and I saw the last light supine and tranquil upon tideflats like pieces of broken mirror, then beyond them lights began in the pale clear air, trembling a little like butterflies hovering a long way off.
There is no such thing as bad whiskey. Some whiskeys just happen to be better than others. But a man shouldn't fool with booze until he's fifty; then he's a damn fool if he doesn't.
Ingenuity was apparently given man in order that he may supply himself in crises with shapes and sounds with which to guard himself from truth.
What sets a man writhing sleepless in bed at night is not having injured his fellow so much as having been wrong; the mere injury he can efface by destroying the victim and the witness but the mistake is his and that is one of his cats which he always prefers to choke to death with butter.
I'd have wasted a lot of time and trouble before I learned that the best way to take all people, black or white, is to take them for what they think they are, then leave them alone.
War and drink are the two things man is never too poor to buy.
War and drink are the two things man is never too poor to buy. His wife and children may be shoeless; someone will always buy him drink or weapons.
It was too late. Maybe yesterday, while I was still a child, but not now. I knew too much, had seen too much, I was a child no longer now; innocence and childhood were forever lost, forever gone from me.
It's not when you realise that nothing can help you -- religion, pride, anything -- it's when you realise that you don't need any aid.
I be dog if hit don't look like sometimes that when a fellow sets out to play a joke, hit ain't another fellow he's playing that joke on; hit's a kind of big power laying still somewhere in the dark that he sets out to prank with without knowing hit, and hit all depends on whether that ere power is in the notion to take a joke or not, whether or not hit blows up right in his face, like this one did in mine. ("A Bear Hunt").
The man himself lay in the bed.
For a long while we just stood there, looking down at the profound and fleshless grin. The body had apparently once lain in the attitude of an embrace, but now the long sleep that outlasts love, that conquers even the grimace of love, had cuckolded him.
All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection.
All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection. So I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible.
Women do have an affinity for evil, for believing that no woman is to be trusted, but that some men are too innocent to protect themselves.
And when I think about that, I think that if nothing but being married will help a man, he's durn nigh hopeless.
Caddy got the box and set it on the floor and opened it. It was full of stars. When I was still, they were still. When I moved, they glinted and sparkled. I hushed.
The saddest thing about love, Joe, is that not only the love cannot last forever, but even the heartbreak is soon forgotten.
Mississippi begins in a lobby of a Memphis, Tennessee hotel and extends south to the Gulf of Mexico.
And even a liar can be scared into telling the truth, same as honest man can be tortured into telling a lie.
Read, read, read. Read everything -- trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it.
Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window.
The only environment the artist needs is whatever peace, whatever solitude, and whatever pleasure he can get at not too high a cost.
Be scared. You can't help that. But don't be afraid.
Be scared. You can't help that. But don't be afraid. Ain't nothing in the woods going to hurt you unless you corner it, or it smells that you are afraid. A bear or a deer, too, has got to be scared of a coward the same as a brave man has got to be.
I could just remember how my father used to say that the reason for living was to get ready to stay dead a long time.
There is something about jumping a horse over a fence, something that makes you feel good. Perhaps it's the risk, the gamble. In any event it's a thing I need.
It is my aim, and every effort bent, that the sum and history of my life, which in the same sentence is my obit and epitaph too, shall be them both: He made the books and he died.
If I were reincarnated, I'd want to come back a buzzard. Nothing hates him or envies him or wants him or needs him. He is never bothered or in danger, and he can eat anything.
I would say that music is the easiest means in which to express, but since words are my talent, I must try to express clumsily in words what the pure music would have done better.
I have found that the greatest help in meeting any problem is to know where you yourself stand. That is, to have in words what you believe and are acting from.
It's a shame that the only thing a man can do for eight hours a day is work. He can't eat for eight hours; he can't drink for eight hours; he can't make love for eight hours. The only thing a man can do for eight hours is work.
Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.
A man's moral conscience is the curse he had to accept from the gods in order to gain from them the right to dream.
To live anywhere in the world today and be against equality because of race or color is like living in Alaska and being against snow.
You should approach Joyce's Ulysses as the illiterate Baptist preacher approaches the Old Testament: with faith.
Clocks slay time... time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.
An artist is a creature driven by demons. He doesn't know why they choose him and he's usually too busy to wonder why.
Man performs and engenders so much more than he can or should have to bear. That's how he finds that he can bear anything.
The past is never dead. It's not even past.
The past is never dead. It's not even past. All of us labor in webs spun long before we were born, webs of heredity and environment, of desire and consequence, of history and eternity. Haunted by wrong turns and roads not taken, we pursue images perceived as new but whose providence dates to the dim dramas of childhood, which are themselves but ripples of consequence echoing down the generations. The quotidian demands of life distract from this resonance of images and events, but some of us feel it always.
The last sound on the worthless earth will be two human beings trying to launch a homemade spaceship and already quarreling about where they are going next.
My own experience has been that the tools I need for my trade are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whisky.
The artist doesn't have time to listen to the critics. The ones who want to be writers read the reviews, the ones who want to write don't have the time to read reviews.
The best job that was ever offered to me was to become a landlord in a brothel. In my opinion it's the perfect milieu for an artist to work in.
The saddest thing about love is that not only that it cannot last forever, but that heartbreak is soon forgotten.
The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life.
The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life. Since man is mortal, the only immortality possible for him is to leave something behind him that is immortal since it will always move.