reference section
Vincent B. Rain's favorite quotes of other people (new section)

loquent statements from luminaries and ordinary people are an inspiration to folks in all walks of life. They are also sparks wherein writers influence each other daily. You could take any of these distillations and write a page or a book. Over the years I've collected hundreds of quotes. I probably have a hundred from Shakespeare alone. The quotes below are all personal favorites presented in somewhat random order. This section will get a lot bigger over time.

  • Arthur Rimbaud on mass delusion - "Life is the farce we are all forced to endure."
    Une Saison en Enfer (A Season in Hell, 1873)

  • Anais Nin on courage: "And the day came when the risk that it took to remain tight in a bud was greater than the risk it took to blosson.

  • Percy B. Shelley on metaphor: "Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought."

  • Aristotle on metaphor: "The greatest thing is to have a command of metaphor."

  • Plato on writing or works in general: "The beginning is the most important part of the work."

  • The Dalai Lama on intelligence: "It is no sign of mental health to be well adjusted to an insane world."

  • William Shakespeare on misfortune: "When sorrows come, they come not as single spies, but in batallions."

  • Ralph Waldo Emerson on vision: "When it is dark enough, men see the stars."

  • Mark Twain on courage: "Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear."

  • Mark Twain on eloquence: "Few sinners are saved after the first twenty minutes of a sermon."

  • Mark Twain on motivation: "I can live for two months on a good compliment."

  • Mark Twain on ambition: "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."

  • Mark Twain on language: "In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French. I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language."

  • Mark Twain on anger: "When angry, count four. When very angry, swear."

  • Victor Hugo on focus: "Short as life is, we make it still shorter by the careless waste of time."

  • William Randolph Hearst on journalistic perfection: "Don't be afraid to make a mistake, your readers might like it."

  • Cicero on reading: "A room without books is like a body without a soul."

  • Oscar Wilde on wisdom: "Experience is the name so many people give to their mistakes."

  • Honoré de Balzac on vocation: "An unfilled vocation drains the color from a man's entire existence."

  • John Updike on mortality: "We all dream, and we all stand aghast at the mouth of the caves of our deaths; and this is our way in. Into the nether world." (The Witches of Eastwick)

  • Jean Cocteau on social prudence: "If it has to choose who is to be crucified, the crowd will always save Barabbas."

  • George Bernard Shaw on creative discord - "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." (published in Vanity Fair, 2006 December with source cited as the Broad (art) Foundation.)

  • Bill Maher on George W. Bush's bloody Iraq War: "When you buy a nation, get a receipt."
    (in a NY Times ad for his book New Rules, 2005 August 11 Thursday (pg. B10).

  • Thomas Edison on persistence: "Everything comes to he who hustles while he waits."

  • Thomas Edison on persistence: "I start where the last man left off."

  • Helen Keller on persistence: "When one door of happiness closes, another opens. But often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us."

  • Antoine de Saint-Exupery on inspiration: "A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born."

  • Antoine de Saint-Exupery on motivation: "If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."

  • Francesco Clemente on creative fluidity: "If you cling, it's over." (He was describing how he likes his art process to be ruled by the narrative of life.)

  • John Lennon on fate:" Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans. "

  • Zora Neale Hurston on storytelling: "There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you."

  • Tom Robbins on love: "We waste time looking for the perfect lover instead of being the perfect love."

  • Parvulesco on ambition: "to become immortal and then die". These words are spoken by the film character Parvulesco, a famous writer, in reply to the question "What is your greatest ambition in life?" asked by aspiring journalist Patricia who is the romantic partner of lead character Michel in the pioneering 1960 French New Wave film Breathless (Bout De Souffle) directed by Jean-Luc Godard.

  • William S. Burroughs on loneliness: "Love is a haunting melody that I have never mastered and I fear I never will."

  • Siddhartha Guatama on happiness: "There is no way to happiness - Happiness is the way."

  • French proverb on personal destiny: "One meets his destiny often in the road he takes to avoid it."

  • French proverb on virtue: "Beauty without virtue is a flower without perfume."

  • Ebert Hubbard on personal path - "Conformists die. But heretics live forever."


© Vincent B. Rain