Friday, October 3, 2014


Tis the good reader that makes the good book; in every book he finds passages which seem confidences or asides hidden from all else and unmistakably meant for his ear; the profit of books is according to the sensibility of the reader; the profoundest thought or passion sleeps as in a mine, until it is discovered by an equal mind and heart.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

“A library, to modify the famous metaphor of Socrates, should be the delivery room for the birth of ideas - a place where history comes to life.”

― Norman Cousins

"The way a book is read - which is to say, the qualities a reader brings to a book - can have as much to do with its worth as anything the author puts into it.” 
― Norman Cousins

“I have learned never to underestimate the capacity of the human mind and body to regenerate -- even when prospects seem most wretched. The life force may be the least understood force on earth." Norman Cousins (in his; Anatomy of an Illness)”


The library is not a shrine for the worship of books. It is not a temple where literary incense must be burned or where one's devotion to the bound book is expressed in ritual. A library, to modify the famous metaphor of Socrates, should be the delivery room for the birth of ideas - a place where history comes to life.

— Cited in ALA Bulletin, Oct. 1954, p.475

Norman COUSINS (1915- )”

― Cousins, The Spirit in the South: Stories of Our Grandmothers' Spirit

The health benefits, both mental and physical, of humor are well documented. A good laugh can diffuse tension, relieve stress, and release endorphins into your system, which act as a natural mood elevator. In Norman Cousin's book, Anatomy of an Illness, Cousin's describes the regimen he followed to overcome a serious debilitating disease he was suffering from. It included large doses of laughter and humor. Published in 1976, his book has been widely accepted by the medical community.”

― Cherie Carter-Scott, If Life Is a Game, These Are the Rules

“you understand the purpose of a personal mission statement. It is the picture of where you want to end up—that is, your destination is the values you want to live your life by. Even if you are off course much or most of the time but still hang on to your sense of hope and your vision, you will eventually arrive at your destination. You will arrive at your destination and usually on time. That’s the whole point—we just get back on course. This idea—this principle—of beginning with the end in mind is based upon the concept that all things are created twice: first in the mind, as a thought or intellectual creation; and second in reality as a physical creation. The mental creation, the flight plan, brings forth the hope in the flight. Norman Cousins taught, “The capacity for hope is the most significant fact of life. It gives human beings a sense of destination and the energy to get started.” At the beginning of this process you will find enormous hope and encouragement as well as fun and happiness in developing a mission statement. It’s truly an enjoyable process. It’s also a leadership process. But here’s something to think about carefully.”

― Stephen R. Covey, How to Develop Your Personal Mission Statement

Writers help summon people to a vision of human betterment...They create an awareness not just to things as they are, but as they ought to be." ~ Norman Cousins

I am a single cell in the body of four billion cells. The body is humankind. I am a single cell. My needs are individual but they are not unique. I am interlocked with other human beings in the consequences of our actions, thoughts, and feelings. I will work for human unity and human peace; for a moral order in harmony with the order of the universe. Together we share the quest for a society of the whole equal to our needs, a society in which we need not live beneath our moral capacity, and in which justice has a life of its own. We are single cells in a body of four billion cells. The body is humankind.” --Norman Cousins, Human Options: An Autobiographical Notebook, 1981

― Norman Cousins

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

― Mark Twain, The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain

No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”

― Robert Frost

Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college.

― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it's always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.

― Neil Gaiman

Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money.” 
― Virginia Woolf

You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
― Jack London

Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.  
― Franz Kafka

Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.” 
― Flannery O'Connor

I write differently from what I speak, I speak differently from what I think, I think differently from the way I ought to think, and so it all proceeds into deepest darkness.” 
― Franz Kafka

Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.   
― John Steinbeck

A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called "leaves") imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic.

― Carl Sagan

Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately after they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish.”

― Hermann Hesse

“Easy reading is damn hard writing.” 
― Nathaniel Hawthorne

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” 
― George Orwell

“My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.” 
― Ernest Hemingway

“A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules.”

― Anthony Trollope

“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”

― Thomas Jefferson

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won't have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren't even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they're doing it.”

― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

“I have claimed that Escape is one of the main functions of fairy-stories, and since I do not disapprove of them, it is plain that I do not accept the tone of scorn or pity with which 'Escape' is now so often used. Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls?”

― J.R.R. Tolkien

“Writing is a way of talking without being interrupted.” 
― Jules Renard

“Definition of rock journalism: People who can't write, doing interviews with people who can't think, in order to prepare articles for people who can't read.” 
― Frank ZappaThe Real Frank Zappa Book

“As for literary criticism in general: I have long felt that any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel or a play or a poem is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae or a banana split.”

― Kurt Vonnegut, Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage

Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”

― Pablo Picasso

Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.

― Graham Greene, Ways Of Escape

“A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it”

― Roald Dahl

A writer - and, I believe, generally all persons - must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art.” 
― Jorge Luis Borges, Twenty-Four Conversations with Borges: Interviews by Roberto Alifano 1981-1983

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