your soul needs to be lonely so that its strangest elements can moil about, curl and growl and jump, fail and get triumphant, all inside you. Sociable people have the most trouble hearing their unconscious. They have trouble getting rid of clichés because clichés are sociable.
There isn't a thought or feeling that doesn't alter or deepen when written. We are a writing animal. That is why all of us feel we have a book inside us. It isn't an illusion. We have got a book inside us.
It is very difficult to teach navigation theory to someone who clings to the shore.
The six and one-fourth hours' television watching (the American average per day) which non-reading children do is what is called alpha-level learning. The mind needn't make any pictures since the pictures are provided, so the mind cuts current as low as it can.
The secret of literature, which conventional people don't guess, is that writers are forever looking for the surprising revelation - not for reinforcement of collective wisdom.
The more original a short-story writer, the odder looking the assortment of things he or she puts together for a story.
Unlike lions and dogs, we are a dissenting animal. We need to dissent in the same way that we need to travel, to make money, to keep a record of our time on earth and in dream, and to leave a permanent mark. Dissension is a drive, like those drives.
Literature has low enough standards. But we can avoid writing the worst literature if we make ourselves ask ourselves, every two or three sentences we write, 'Is that what I really think?'
The principle of literature is devotion to the particulars of life.
For a short-story writer, a story is the combination of what the writer supposed the story would likely be about - plus what actually turned up in the course of writing.
An essay is a work of literary art which has a minimum of one anecdote and one universal idea.
No work of literature is the product of only one or two conscious ideas. A story is mysteriously dense of meaning.
Apprenticeship is one of the dearest roles of childhood, not just watching Dad or Mother, but being taught a hands-on trade.
Emily was feeling the elation of conscientious hosts when they can temporarily escape a ubiquitous houseguest.
No one is shallow and vulgar forever; sooner or later the whole species likes to be profound.
I don't engage in self-censorship. But I do change everybody to have red hair in the last draft. ... If you give people red hair when in real life they haven't got red hair, I've noticed they don't recognize themselves, anyway.
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