You can't teach people to write well. Writing well is something God lets you do or declines to let you do.
She hated people who thought too much. At that moment, she struck me as an appropriate representative for almost all mankind.
Any scientist who can't explain to an eight-year-old what he is doing is a charlatan.
And so it goes.
I've got at least one tiny corner of the universe I can make just the way I want it.
My definition of a man's man is a man who knows gun safety, and we all did.
I really wonder what gives us the right to wreck this poor planet of ours.
Don't worry about your father. He's a perfectly contented, self-sufficient zombie.
I thought scientists were going to find out exactly how everything worked, and then make it work better.
Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart 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.
Beer, of course, is actually a depressant, but poor people will never stop hoping otherwise.
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.
The hopes and fears of all our years are here with us tonight.
You know what truth is? ... It's some crazy thing my neighbor believes. If I want to make friends with him, I ask him what he believes. He tells me, and I say, "Yeah, yeah -- ain't it the truth?
There is no shortage of wonderful writers. What we lack is a dependable mass of readers.
The slaves were simply turned loose without any property. They were easily recognizable. They were black. They were suddenly free to go exploring.
Sculptors feel that somebody else is using their hands, that they couldn't possibly be doing this.
I'd rather have written "Cheers" than anything I've written.
If people think nature is their friend then they sure don't need an enemy.
Each one of us has to be what he or she is.
The surface of Earth heaved and seethed in fecund restlessness. Earth was most fertile where the most death was.
Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but the living room in your fortified compound.
Reading a novel, War and Peace for example, is no Catnap. Because a novel is so long, reading one is like being married forever to somebody nobody knows or cares about.
I saw the destruction of Dresden. I saw the city before and then came out of an air-raid shelter and saw it afterward, and certainly one response was laughter. God knows, that's the soul seeking some relief.
No one can amount to a damn in the arts if he becomes sweetly reasonable, seeing all sides of a picture, forgiving all sins.
And somebody might now want to ask me, "Can't you ever be serious?" The answer is, "No."
Characters paralyzed by the meaninglessness of modern life still have to drink water from time to time.
I am a very bad scientist. I will do anything to make a human being feel better, even if it's unscientific. No scientist worthy of the name could say such a thing.
Live by the harmless untruths that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.
One might be led to suspect that there were all sorts of things going on in the universe which he or she did not thoroughly understand.
Anyone unable to understand how useful religion can be founded on lies will not understand this book either.
Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile.
The New York Daily News suggested that my biggest war crime was not killing myself like a gentleman. Presumably Hitler was a gentleman.
What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.
To whom it may concern: It is springtime. It is late afternoon.
How nice -- to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive.
The youngest child in any family is always a jokemaker, because a joke is the only way he can enter into an adult conversation.
I was taught that the human brain was the crowning glory of evolution so far, but I think it's a very poor scheme for survival.
Be fruitful, and multiply.
One of the few good things about modern times: If you die horribly on television, you will not have died in vain. You will have entertained us.
I think it can be tremendously refreshing if a creator of literature has something on his mind other than the history of literature so far. Literature should not disappear up its own asshole, so to speak.
When I used to teach creative writing, I would tell the students to make their characters want something right away.
When I used to teach creative writing, I would tell the students to make their characters want something right away -- even if it's only a glass of water. Characters paralyzed by the meaninglessness of modern life still have to drink water from time to time.
I left the Middle West for Schenectady because the General Electric Company offered me a more congenial, better paying job than did anyone else.
You have never seen greatness in a Presidency; I have. It was a rich kid who you would think had every reason to be a horse's ass -- Franklin Roosevelt. He was humane and wise and resourceful. He was called a traitor to his class. With George Bush, that charge would never stick.
Educate yourself, welcome life's messiness, read Chekhov, avoid becoming an architect at all costs.
We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap.
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.
A committee of three can accomplish much if two don't show up.
What he meant, of course, was that there would always be wars, that they were as easy to stop as glaciers. I believe that, too. And even if wars didn't keep coming like glaciers, there would still be plain old death.
I wanted all things to seem to make some sense, So we could all be happy, yes, instead of tense. And I made up lies, so they all fit nice, and I made this sad world a paradise.
There is a strong feeling in the Middle West that the artist is not pulling his own weight no matter how hard he may work, that the other people are doing the real stuff.
There is love enough in this world for everybody, if people will just look.
Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly;
Man got to sit and wonder 'why, why, why?'
Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;
Man got to tell himself he understand.
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.
Society is more concerned with material possessions than it is with the true love and compassion of another human being.
Has any psychological experiment yielded a more delightful suggestion than this one: that there is a part of the mind without ambition or information, which nonetheless is expert on what is beautiful?
In case nobody has told you," she said, "this is the United States of America, where nobody has a right to rely on anybody else -- where everybody learns to make his or her own way.
We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different.
Terry Southern is the illegitimate son of Mack Sennett and Edna Saint Vincent Millay.
Somebody gets into trouble, then gets out of it again. People love that story. They never get tired of it.
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.
Aside from battles, the history of nations seemed to consist of nothing but powerless old poops like myself, heavily medicated and vaguely beloved in the long ago, coming to kiss the boots of young psychopaths.
Well, we are terribly divided politically, yes, and, you know, I don't mean to intimidate you and your listeners but I have a master's degree in anthropology from the University of Chicago.
Thinking doesn't seem to help very much. The human brain is too high-powered to have many practical uses in this particular universe.
One thing I hate about school committees today is that they cut arts programs out of the curriculum because they say the arts aren't a way to make a living.
Do I resent rich people? No. The best or worst I can do is notice them. I agree with the great Socialist writer George Orwell, who felt that rich people were poor people with money.
Sometimes I think it is a great mistake to have matter that can think and feel. It complains so.
The gun made a ripping sound like the opening of a zipper on the fly of God Almighty.
The people who taught really knew their stuff. My chemistry teacher, Frank Wade, was actually a chemist. I was so lucky in a number of ways.
Take care of the people, and God Almighty will take care of Himself.
The two real political parties in America are the Winners and the Losers. The people don't acknowledge this. They claim membership in two imaginary parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, instead.
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
Ideas on earth were badges of friendship or enimity. Their content did not matter. Friends agreed with friends, in order to express friendliness. Enemies disagreed with enemies, in order to express enimity.
The mountebank told them that God was surely trying to kill them, possibly because He was through with them, and that they should have the good manners to die. This, as you can see, they did.
We didn't belong anywhere in particular any more. We were interchangeable parts in the American machine.
Some persons seem to like you, and others seem to hate you, and you must wonder why. They are simply liking machines and hating machines.
I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.
Vietnam was a country where America was trying to make people stop being communists by dropping things on them from airplanes.
The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.
This country is being managed to death, being public related to death.
Make war not on terrorism but on ignorance, on sickness and on environmental degradation.
How embarrassing to be human.
As a matter of social class Ku Klux Klan would have been regarded as white trash.
There is no beginning, no middle, no end, no suspense, no moral, no causes, no effects. What we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at one time.
The unity in every second of all time and all wandering mankind, all wandering womankind, all wandering children.
It may be that the most striking thing about members of my literary generation in retrospect will be that we were allowed to say absolutely anything without fear of punishment.
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.
What made marriage so difficult back then was yet again that instigator of so many other sorts of heartbreak: the oversize brain.
Be patient. Your future will come to you and lie down at your feet like a dog who knows and loves you no matter what you are.
When things go well for days on end, it is an hilarious accident.
The big show is inside my head.
Be patient, Ophelia.
Homo Americanus is going to go on speaking and writing the way he always has, no matter what dictionary he owns.
What war has always been is a puberty ceremony.
What war has always been is a puberty ceremony. It's a very rough one, but you went away a boy and came back a man, maybe with an eye missing or whatever but godammit you were a man and people had to call you a man thereafter.
There is no good reason good can't triumph over evil, if only angels will get organized along the lines of the mafia.
So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.
Life, by definition, is never still.
Plato, by the way, wanted to banish all poets from his proposed Utopia because they were liars. The truth was that Plato knew philosophers couldn't compete successfully with poets.
Rome wasn't built in a day.
If you can do a half-assed job of anything, you're a one-eyed man in a kingdom of the blind.
If you want to break the rules of grammar, first learn the rules of grammar.
It is harder to be unhappy when you are eating.
Scientific truth was going to make us so happy and comfortable. What actually happened when I was twenty-one was that we dropped scientific truth on Hiroshima.
My god-life! who can understand eve one little minute of it? 'don't try' he said 'just pretend you understand.
I had no talent for science. What was infinitely worse: all my fraternity brothers were engineers.
Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.
Fear hadn't come to him yet. Pain hadn't come where pain would come. There was only the feeling of having done something perfect at last--the taste of a drink from a cold, pure spring.
People like to feel entitled, whether they're actually entitled or not.
So, in the interests of survival, they trained themselves to be agreeing machines instead of thinking machines. All their minds had to do was to discover what other people were thinking, and then they thought that, too.
Whenever my children complain about the planet to me, I say 'Shut up, I just got here myself.'
You should be careful about who you pretend to be, because who you pretend to be -- is actually who you are!
Humor is a way of holding off how awful life can be, to protect yourself.
I can see where influential people would like Maharishi better than Jesus. My God, if the Beatles and Mia Farrow went to Jesus, He'd tell them to give all their money away.
Alcohol and marijuana, if used in moderation, plus loud, usually low-class music, make stress and boredom infinitely more bearable.
Thanks to their decreased brainpower, people aren't diverted from the main business of life by the hobgoblins of opinion anymore.
This is Sunday, and the question arises, what'll I start tomorrow?
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.
1. Find a subject you care about.
2. Do not ramble, though.
3. Keep it simple.
4. Have the guts to cut.
5. Sound like yourself.
6. Say what you mean to say.
7. Pity the readers.
No matter how corrupt, greedy, and heartless our government, our corporations, our media, and our religious and charitable institutions may become, the music will still be wonderful.
There is never a shortage anywhere of lawyers eager to attack the First Amendment, as though it were nothing more than a clause in a lease from a crooked slumlord.
Many people need desperately to receive this message: 'I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.
The waitress brought me another drink. She wanted to light my hurricane lamp again. I wouldn't let her. "Can you see anything in the dark, with your sunglasses on?" she asked me. "The big show is inside my head," I said.
All persons, living and dead, are purely coincidental.
He became fubar in the classic way, which is to say that he was the victim of a temporary arrangement that became permanent.
I still catch myself feeling sad about things that don't matter anymore.
There are plenty of good reasons for fighting.
There are plenty of good reasons for fighting, I said, but no good reason ever to hate without reservation, to imagine that God Almighty Himself hates with you, too.
George W. Bush has gathered around him upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography.
Fuller's cigar in the night was a beacon warning carefree, frivolous people away. It was plainly a cigar smoked in anger.
All time is all time. It does not change. It does not lend itself to warnings or explanations. It simply is.
Nietzsche had a little one-liner on how to choose a wife. He said, ''Are you willing to have a conversation with this woman for the next forty years?'' That's how to pick a wife.
If I wrote something that hadn't really happened, and I tried to sell it, I could go to jail. That's fraud!
Now, the engineers and managers believe with all their hearts the glorious things their forebears hired people to say about them. Yesterday's snow job becomes today's sermon.
It is always pitiful when any human being falls into a condition hardly more respectable than that of an animal. How much more pitiful it is when the person who falls has had all the advantages!
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.
No moral value is greater than humanity.
Maybe they invited me because they know I have a tuxedo.
We are America's Great Lakes people, her freshwater people, not an oceanic but a continental people. Whenever I swim in an ocean, I feel as though I am swimming in chicken soup.
A lot of people were opposed to it.
A lot of people were for it.
I myself think about it
as little as possible.
I consider anybody a twerp who hasn't read 'Democracy in America' by Alexis de Tocqueville. There can never be a better book than that one on the strengths and vulnerabilities inherent in our form of government.
If you make people laugh or cry about little black marks on sheets of white paper, what is that but a practical joke? All the great story lines are great practical jokes that people fall for over and over again.
What geography can give all Middle Westerners, along with the fresh water and topsoil, if they let it, is awe for an Edenic continent stretching forever in all directions. Makes you religious. Takes your breath away.
I am a humanist, which means, in part, that I have tried to behave decently without expectations of rewards or punishments after I am dead.
I think you guys are going to have to come up with a lot of wonderful new lies, or people just aren't going to want to go on living.
The reason we write fiction is because it's so much easier to exist spending part of each day in an imaginary world.
He had no idea that people thought he was clowning. It was Fate, of course, which had costumed him -- Fate, and a feeble will to survive.
What do my science fiction stories have in common with pornography? Fantasies of an impossibly hospitable world, I'm told.
I now make my living by being impolite. I am clumsy at it.
There is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre.
Bad guys turned informer. Good guys didn't -- no matter when, no matter what.
Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter could be said to remedy anything.
Science is magic that works.
What a fool I would have been to let self-respect interfere with my happiness!
You know, I think the main purpose of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps is to get poor Americans into clean, pressed, unpatched clothes, so rich Americans can stand to look at them.
If you can do no good, at least do no harm.
A lover's a liar,
To himself he lies,
The truthful are loveless,
Like oysters their eyes!
Pretend to be good all the time, and even God will be fooled.
If everybody would leave him alone for just a little while, he thought, he
wouldn't cause anybody any more trouble. He would turn to steam and float up among
The Population Reference Bureau predicts that the world's total population will double to 7,000,000,000 before the year 2000. I suppose they will all want dignity, I said.
The worst thing that could possibly happen to anybody would be to not be used for anything by anybody. Thank you for using me, even though I didn't want to be used by anybody.
Don't be reckless with other peoples hearts. And don't put up with people that are reckless with yours.
It's perfectly ordinary to be a socialist. It's perfectly normal to be in favor of fire departments.
Evolution is so creative. That's how we got giraffes.
It's the emptiest and yet the fullest of all human messages: 'Good-bye.
A society is only as healthy as its ideas are humane.
Hitler at the end thought that he himself was one more casualty in the war.
As for myself: I had come to the conclusion that there was nothing sacred about myself or about any human being, that we were all machines, doomed to collide and collide and collide.
There was no immunity to cuckoo ideas on Earth.
People have to talk about something just to keep their voice boxes in working order so they'll have good voice boxes in case there's ever anything really meaningful to say.
The brainless serenity of charwomen and janitors working late at night came over us. In a messy world we were at least making our little corner clean.
All the new technology seems redundant to me. I was quite happy with the United States mail service. And, I don't even have an answering machine, for God's sake.
I used my daughter's crayons for each main character. One end of the wallpaper was the beginning of the story, and the other end was the end, and then there was all that middle part, which was the middle.
I wish that people who are conventionally supposed to love each other would say to each other, when they fight, "Please -- a little less love, and a little more common decency."
His response was to fight it with the only weapons at hand--passive resistance and open displays of contempt.
What I would really like to have been, given a perfect world, is a jazz pianist. I mean jazz. I don't mean rock and roll. I mean the never-the-same-twice music the American black people gave the world.
And a step backward, after making a wrong turn, is a step in the right direction.
I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.
Be a good editor. The Universe needs more good editors, God knows.
I'm convinced that no one can amount to a damn in the arts if he becomes sweetly reasonable, seeing all sides of a picture, forgiving all sins.
I chose cultural anthropology, since it offered the greatest opportunity to write high-minded balderdash.
Vonnegut could not help looking back, despite the danger of being turned metaphorically into a pillar of salt, into am emblem of the death that comes to those who cannot let go of the past.
I think big business is a terrible thing for the spirit of the country, as our spirit is the best thing about us.
My soul seemed as foul as smoke from burning cat fur.
The canary bird in the coal mine theory of the arts: artists should be treasured as alarm systems.
Sometimes I wonder if he wasn't born dead. I never met a man who was less interested in the living. Sometimes I think that's the trouble with the world: too many people in high places who are stone-cold dead.
Because we grew up surrounded by big dramatic story arcs in books and movies, we think our lives are supposed to be filled with huge ups and downs. So people pretend there is drama where there is none.
Much of the conversation in the country consisted of lines from television shows, both past and present.
Before you kill somebody, make absolutely sure he isn't well connected. So it goes.
Americans... are forever searching for love in forms it never takes, in places it can never be. It must have something to do with the vanished frontier.
Plato says that the unexamined life is not worth living. But what if the examined life turns out to be a clunker as well?
Unannounced changes in life's itinerary are like dancing lessons from God.
I've been living alone for so long, everything about me's private. I'm surprised anyone's able to understand a word I say.
I think it's important to live in a nice country rather than a powerful one. Power makes everybody crazy.
It was not the thought that God was cruel that froze me. I had taught myself never to expect anything from Him.
To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.
I let the dog out, or I let him in, and we talk some. I let him know I like him, and he lets me know he likes me.
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.
The secret to success in any human endeavor is total concentration.
Man created the checkerboard; God created the karass.
Maturity, the way I understand it, is knowing what your limitations are.
History is merely a list of surprises. It can only prepare us to be surprised yet again.
I had a friend who was a heavy drinker. If somebody asked him if he'd been drunk the night before, he would always answer offhandedly, 'Oh, I imagine.' I've always liked that answer. It acknowledges life as a dream.
Evolution can go to hell as far as I am concerned. What a mistake we are. We have mortally wounded this sweet life-supporting planet -- the only one in the whole Milky Way -- with a century of transportation whoopee.
Never had I seen a human being better adjusted to such a humiliating physical handicap. I shuddered with admiration.
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.
Nothing ever really ends. That's the horrible part of being in the short-story business--you have to be a real expert on ends. Nothing in real life ends. ‘Millicent at last understands.' Nobody ever understands.
I will say, too, that lovemaking, if sincere, is one of the best ideas Satan put in the apple she gave to the serpent to give to Eve. The best idea in that apple, though, is making jazz.
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.
Unexpected travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.
We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane.
My soul didn't know what kind of picture to paint, but my meat sure did.
We're doomed to repeat the past no matter what. That's what it is to be alive. It's pretty dense kids who haven't figured that out by the time they're ten.... Most kids can't afford to go to Harvard and be misinformed.
Jokes have to be quite naked to be understood. They have to be quite simple.
Like all real heroes, Charley had a fatal flaw. He refused to believe that he had gonorrhea, whereas the truth was that he did.
Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning do to do afterward.
I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep.
I love you, because the love you gave me was the only love I've ever had, the only love I ever will have.
His mother understood my illness immediately, that it was my world rather than myself that was diseased.
You cannot be a good writer of serious fiction if you are not depressed.
The highest treason in the USA is to say Americans are not loved, no matter where they are, no matter what they are doing there.
Armistice Day has become Veterans' Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans' Day is not.
Human beings used to be molecules which could do many, many different sorts of dances, or decline to dance at all -- as they pleased. My mother could do the waltz, the tango, the rumba..
Mister, when I see my first lady angel, if God ever sees fit to show me one, it'll be her wings not her face that'll make my mouth fall open. I've already seen the prettiest face that ever could be.
Here we are trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.
All that has changed, in my opinion, is that, thanks to television, we can hide a great depression. we may even be hiding a third world war.
I beg you to believe the most ridiculous superstition of all: that humanity is at the center of the universe, the fulfiller or frustrateor of the grandest dreams of God Almighty.
It strikes me as gruesome and comical that in our culture we have an expectation that man can always solve his problems ... This is so untrue that it makes me want to cry-or laugh.
Everything is nothing, with a twist.
If it weren't for the message of mercy and pity in Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, I wouldn't want to be a human being. I would just as soon be a rattlesnake.
I can have oodles of charm when I want to.
Ignore the awful times, and concentrate on the good ones.
Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.
Everything that ever has been always will be, and everything that ever will be always has been.
Man is vile, and man makes nothing worth making, knows nothing worth knowing.
No art is possible without a dance with death.
Perhaps I am the turtle, able to live simply anywhere, even underwater for short periods, with my home on my back.
The feeling about a soldier is, when all is said and done, he wasn't really going to do very much with his life anyway. The example usually is: he wasn't going to compose Beethoven's Fifth.
The heartbreaking necessity of lying about reality and the heartbreaking impossibilty of lying about it.
The big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart.
I hate it that Americans are taught to fear some books and some ideas as though they were diseases.
I am better now. Word of honour: I am better now.
Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
We're here on Earth to fart around.
That's what is was to be young -- to be enthusiastic rather than envious about the good work other people could do.
It is just an illusion here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone, it is gone forever.
Jack Benny, Fred Allen. Their jokes were wonderful. It takes skill to be funny. The timing of Jack Benny was so fine. It is a form of genius for which we should be grateful.
I'm wild again, beguiled again, a whimpering, simpering child again. Bewitched, bothered, bewildered am I.
What do men want? They want a lot of pals, and they wish that people wouldn't get so mad at them.
These were my people -- as used as I was to wanting love from nowhere, as certain as I was that almost anything desirable was likely to be booby-trapped.
Unfortunately, that still leaves plenty of Americans who don't read much or think much -- who will still be extremely useful in unjust wars. We are sick about that. We did the best we could.
My father said, ‘When in doubt, castle.'
Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.
The two prime movers in the Universe are Time and Luck.
Take it moment by moment, and you will find that we are all, as I've said before, bugs in amber.
And we all vied, in saving face, to be the greatest student of human nature, the person with the quickest sense of humor.
Scum of the Earth as some may be in their daily lives, they can all be saints in emergencies.
To the as-yet-unborn, to all innocent wisps of undifferentiated nothingness: Watch out for life.
If your brains were dynamite there wouldn't be enough to blow your hat off.
It seems to me that the most universal revolutionary wish now or ever is a wish for heaven, a wish by a human being to be honored by angels for something other than beauty or usefulness.
All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist.
The complicated futility of ignorance.
The other American divisions on our flanks managed to pull out: We were obliged to stay and fight. Bayonets aren't much good against tanks.
I love cell phones. I see people so happy and proud, walking around. Gesturing, you know. I'm like Karl Marx, I'm up for anything that makes people happy.
As a Humanist, I love science. I hate superstition, which could never have given us A-bombs.
Enjoy your body, use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.
The arts are not a way to make a living.
The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable.
In the water I am beautiful.
The people who lived here hated it so much that they had burned down a lot of it a month before. It was all they had, and they'd wrecked it.
Anybody with any sense knows the whole solar system will go up like a celluloid collar by-and-by.
There is a tragic flaw in our precious constitution, and I don't know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president.
Billy Pilgrim has become unstuck in time.
The late twentieth century will go down in history, i'm sure, as an era of pharmaceutical buffoonery.
Luck is not the hand of God.... Luck is the way the wind swirls and the dust settles eons after God has passed by.
Music is, to me, proof of the existence of God.
Music is, to me, proof of the existence of God. It is so extraordinarily full of magic, and in tough times of my life I can listen to music and it makes such a difference.
The mind reels.
I am the victim of a fortunate series of accidents.
Back in my days as a chemistry student, I used to be quite a technocrat. I was firmly convinced that scientists would have cornered God and photographed Him in color by 1951.
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.
The planet was being destroyed by manufacturing processes, and what was being manufactured was lousy, by and large.
Think of what a paradise this world would be if men were kind and wise.
"Hello and good-bye." What else is there to say? Our language is much larger than it needs to be.
After that demonstration everybody was thinking, what's going to happen to these wonderful men who have been so useful to us? We have to give people something to do with life.
Roses are red, And ready for plucking, You're sixteen, And ready for high school.
If you actually are an educated, thinking person, you will not be welcome in Washington, D.C. I know a couple of bright seventh graders who would not be welcome in Washington D.C.
Even as I speak, the very last polar bear may be dying of hunger on account of climate change, on account of us. And I sure miss the polar bears. Their babies are so warm and cuddly and trusting, just like ours.
I'm so sorry -- we had this cottage up in Lake Maxinkuckee, in Culver. I've thought so often of the poor Pottawattomies we took this land away from. They must have loved it so.
Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, "It might have been.
The human beings also passed canteens, which guards would fill with water. When food came in, the human beings were quiet and trusting and beautiful. They shared.
Any man can call time out, but no man can say how long the time out will be.
A sane person to an insane society must appear insane.
Pay no attention to Caesar. Caesar doesn't have the slightest idea what's really going on.
What had made me move through so many dead and pointless years was curiosity.
Reading and writing are the most nourishing forms of meditation anyone has so far found.
Big, undreamed-of things -- the people on the edge see them first.
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.
You are better than you think.
Every passing hour brings the Solar System forty three thousand miles closer to Globular Cluster M13 in Hercules -- and still there are some misfits who insist that there is no such thing as progress.
Love is a hawk with velvet claws love is a rock with heart and veins love is a lion with satin jaws love is a storm with silken reins.
When the last living thing
Has died on account of us,
How poetical it would be
If Earth could say,
In a voice floating up
From the floor
Of the Grand Canyon,
"It is done."
People did not like it here.
America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves.
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.
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.
We used to have superb public schools. I guess we don't anymore, but, boy, the public schools were really something and I am a product of those in Indianapolis.
Poverty is a relatively mild disease for even a very flimsy American soul, but uselessness will kill strong and weak souls alike, and kill every time.
We're a terribly lonesome society. For all I know, all societies are. You can make a few new friends, that's all. You can't change history. History is happening to us now.
Never trust a survivor until you know how they survived.
Some jerk infected the Internet with an outright lie. It shows how easy it is to do and how credulous people are.
Or they'll talk about fear, which we used to call politics- job politics, social politics, government politics.
The little girls were wearing black party dresses and black party shoes, so strangers would know at once how nice they were.
It's the writer's job to stage confrontations, so the characters will say surprising and revealing things, and educate and entertain us all.
And yet another moral occurs to me now: Make love when you can. It's good for you.
You can't write novels without a touch of paranoia. I'm paranoid as an act of good citizenship, concerned about what the powerful people are up to.
My own feeling is that if adultery is wickedness then so is food. Both make me feel so much better afterward.
I was a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all.
There is this feeling that I have a destiny far away from the shallow and preposterous posing that is our life.
During most of my freelancing, I made what I would have made in charge of the cafeteria at a pretty good junior-high school.
If people think nature is their friend, then they sure don't need an enemy.
He ate a pear. It was a hard one. It fought back against his grinding teeth. It snapped in juicy protest.
It was headquartered in Michigan City, a long way off. I never saw Ku Klux Klan march.
Men are jerks. Women are psychotic.
I had taught myself that a human being might as well look for diamond tiaras in the gutter as for rewards and punishments that were fair.
Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgment Day: We never asked to be born in the first place.
There's a Chaplain who never visited the front.
Truth can be really powerful stuff if you're not expecting it.
As stupid and vicious as men are, this is a lovely day.
My cash cows, the slick magazines, were put out of business by TV.
Charm was a scheme for making strangers like and trust a person immediately, no matter what the charmer had in mind.
And what do the birds say? All there is to say about a massacre, things like "Poo-tee-weet?
I would not be interested in writing if I didn't feel that what I wrote was an act of good citizenship or an attempt, at any rate, to be a good citizen.
That is my principal objection to life, I think: It's too easy, when alive, to make perfectly horrible mistakes.
Where you can see tribal behavior now is in this business about teaching evolution in a science class and intelligent design. It's the scientists themselves are behaving tribally.
Just in the nick of time they realized that it was their own habitat they were wrecking -- that they weren't merely visitors.
And I say to Sam now: "Sam -- here's the book."
It is so short and jumbled and jangled, Sam, because there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre.
They tell him that there is no why, since the moment simply is and since all of them are trapped in the moment, like bugs in amber.
What has been America's most nurturing contribution to the culture of this planet so far? Many would say jazz. I, who love jazz, will say this instead: Alcoholics Anonymous.
Call me Jonah. My parents did, or nearly did. They called me John.
Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?
He was seemingly born not only with a gift for language, but with a particularly nasty clock which makes him go crazy every three years or so.
With words alone, Gail Godwin has created an important piece of music about a love which death can only increase and deepen. Yes, and Frances Halsband's illustrations are a haunting countermelody.
If you really want to hurt your parents and you don't have nerve enough to be homosexual, the least you can do is go into the arts.
I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire engine.
In the middle of Siberia I guess there's a lake that big like the Great Lakes, but there are practically no other lakes that big with fresh water.
All right -- I'll tell you what you did for me: you went for happy, silly, beautiful walks with me.
I want you to adore the Universe, to be easily delighted, but to be prompt as well with impatience with those artists who offend your own deep notions of what the Universe is or should be. ‘This above all ...'.
I pity the Jews trying to get through life with only half a Bible. That's like trying to get from here to San Francisco with a road map that stops at Dubuque, Iowa.
The sermon was based on what he claimed was a well-known fact, that there were no Atheists in foxholes. I asked Jack what he thought of the sermon afterwards, and he said, "There's a Chaplain who never visited the front.
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.
If I am going to spend eternity visiting this moment and that, I'm grateful that so many of those moments are nice.
War is now a form of TV entertainment, and what made the First World War so particularly entertaining were two American inventions, barbed wire and the machine gun.
You can't just eat good food. You've got to talk about it too. And you've got to talk about it to somebody who understands that kind of food.
Listen. All great literature is about what a bummer it is to be a human being.
They were adored by the Germans, who thought they were exactly what Englishmen ought to be. They made war look stylish and reasonable, and fun... They were dressed half for battle, half for tennis or croquet.
It seems to me divorce is so common now. It ought to be more institutionalized. It's like a head-on collision every time. It's supposed to be a surprise but it's commonplace.
What we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at once.
You are reading a bold and universal headline which says ,'I am here, I am here, I am here.
Puny man can do nothing at all to help or please God Almighty, and Luck is not the hand of God.
Symbols can be so beautiful, sometimes.
I think William Shakespeare was the wisest human being I ever heard of. To be perfectly frank, though, that's not saying much.
A lack of seriousness has led to all sorts of wonderful insights.
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers -- joined in the serious business of keeping our food, shelter, clothing and loved ones from combining with oxygen.
I go on many thrilling adventures and wondrous, profound escapades through books.
Well, you know, in a way I wish I hadn't met you two. It's much more convenient to think of the opposition as a nice homogeneous, dead-wrong mass. Now I've got to muddy my thinking with exceptions.
What is the difference between an enzyme and a hormone?" she might ask me.
"I don't know," I would say.
"You can't hear an enzyme," she would say.
Time is liquid. One moment is no more important than any other and all moments quickly run away.
I have been a soreheaded occupant of a file drawer labeled "Science Fiction" ... and I would like out, particularly since so many serious critics regularly mistake the drawer for a urinal.
When I'm being funny, I try not to offend. I don't think much of what I've done has been in really ghastly taste. I don't think I have embarrassed many people or distressed them.
The biggest laughs are based on the biggest disappointments and the biggest fears.
Our classes were relatively small. Those small classes can feel like family. After a class in French or chemistry or whatever, we'd be talking in the halls about what we just learned.