An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools.
There is no friend as loyal as a book.
A man’s got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book.
A serious writer is not to be confounded with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl.
For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.
A man can be destroyed but not defeated.
About morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.
All things truly wicked start from innocence. Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.
All good books have one thing in common–they are truer than if they had really happened.
All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.
All my life I’ve looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.
As you get older it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary.
Courage is grace under pressure.
Cowardice… is almost always simply a lack of ability to suspend functioning of the imagination.
Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.
Ezra was right half the time, and when he was wrong, he was so wrong you were never in any doubt about it.
Fear of death increases in exact proportion to increase in wealth.
For a war to be just, three conditions are necessary: public authority, just cause, right motive.
You can wipe out your opponents. But if you do it unjustly you become eligible for being wiped out yourself.
Forget your personal tragedy. We are all bitched from the start and you especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt, use it-don’t cheat with it.
Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.
Hesitation increases in relation to risk in equal proportion to age.
I don’t like to write like God. It is only because you never do it, though, that the critics think you can’t do it.
I’ve tried to reduce profanity but I reduced so much profanity when writing the book that I’m afraid not much could come out. Perhaps we will have to consider it simply as a profane book and hope that the next book will be less profane or perhaps more sacred.
I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.
I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.
I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?
I never had to choose a subject–my subject rather chose me.
I’m not going to get into the ring with Tolstoy.
If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water.
If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.
Madame, all stories, if continued far enough, end in death, and he is no true-story teller who would keep that from you.
My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.
Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.
Never mistake motion for action.
No weapon has ever settled a moral problem. It can impose a solution but it cannot guarantee it to be a just one.
That is what we are supposed to do when we are at our best–make it all up–but make it up so truly that later it will happen that way.
The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.
The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.
The good parts of a book may be only something a writer is lucky enough to overhear or it may be the wreck of his whole damn life and one is as good as the other.
The man who has begun to live more seriously within begins to live more simply without.
The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.
There are events which are so great that if a writer has participated in them his obligation is to write truly rather than assume the presumption of altering them with invention.
There is no lonelier man in death, except the suicide, than that man who has lived many years with a good wife and then outlived her. If two people love each other there can be no happy end to it.
There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.
We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.
The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it.