They called me mad, and I called them mad, and damn them, they outvoted me.
—Nathaniel Lee (on being consigned to Bedlam, a London mental institution, cca.1684)

What is painting but the act of embracing, by means of art, the surface of the pool?
—Leon Battista Alberti, On Painting (1565)

Impolitesse du public: durant tes plus périlleux mouvements, il fermera les yeux. Il ferme les yeux quand pour l'éblouir tu frôle la mort...
—Jean Genet, Le Funambule

One does not get better, but different and older...
—Gertrude Stein, in a letter to Fitzgerald about The Great Gatsby

Peignons, peignons, sans faire de theorie.
—Gustave Flaubert

A really intelligent man makes an indifferent painter. For painting requires a certain blindness, a partial refusal to be aware of all the options...
—Peter Greenaway, The Draughtman's Contract

Praise, like gold and diamonds, owes its value to its scarcity.
—Samuel Butler, poet (1612-1680)

To do great work a man must be very idle as well as very industrious.
—Samuel Butler

Just as appetite comes by eating so work brings inspiration.
—Igor Stravinsky, composer (1882-1971)

A painting is never finished - it simply stops in interesting places.
—Paul Gardner, painter

One goes on writing partly because it is the only available way of earning a living. It is a hard way and highly competitive. My heart drops into my bowels when I enter a bookshop and see how fierce the competition is...There is also a privier reason for pushing on, and that is the hopeless hope that someday that intractable enemy language will yield to the struggle to control it... Mastery never comes, and one serves a lifelong apprenticeship. The writer cannot retire from the battle; he dies fighting."
—Anthony Burgess

One day, I started writing, not knowing that I had chained myself for life to a noble but merciless master. When God hands you a gift, he also hands you a whip; and the whip is intended solely for self-flagellation... I'm here alone in my dark madness, all by myself with my deck of cards - and, of course, the whip God gave me.
—Truman Capote

Writing has laws of perspective, of light and shade just as painting does, or music. If you are born knowing them, fine. If not, learn them. Then rearrange the rules to suit yourself.
—Truman Capote

I live in a box of paints
I'm frightened by the devil
And I'm drawn to those ones that ain't afraid
—Joni Mitchell

The instinct of a man is to pursue everything that flies from him, and to fly from all that pursue him.
—Voltaire, philosopher (1694-1778)

There are times when we must sink to the bottom of our misery to understand truth, just as we must descend to the bottom of a well to see the stars in broad daylight.
—Vaclav Havel, playwright (1936-2011)

A poem is never finished, only abandoned.
—Paul Valery, poet and philosopher (1871-1945)

Moins de paroles et plus d'oeuvres!
—Gustave Flaubert

One can be instructed in society, one is inspired only in solitude.
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, poet and philosopher (1749-1832)

Not all those that wander are lost.
—J.R.R. Tolkien, novelist and philologist (1892-1973)

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
—Robert Frost, poet (1874-1963)

All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusion is called a philosopher.
—Ambrose Bierce, writer (1842-1914)

Better to write for yourself and have no public,
than to write for the public and have no self.
—Cyril Connolly, critic and editor (1903-1974)

Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
—Susan Ertz, author (1894-1985)

The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by suddenflight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.
—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Many people hear voices when no-one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing.
—Margaret Chittenden, writer

Be master of your petty annoyances and conserve your energies for the big, worthwhile things. It isn't the mountain ahead that wears you out - it's the grain of sand in your shoe.
—Robert Service, writer (1874-1958)

We are so vain that we even care for the opinion of those we don't care for.
—Marie Ebner von Eschenbach, writer (1830-1916)

The unluckiest insolvent in the world is the man whose expenditure of speech is too great for his income of ideas.
—Christopher Morley, writer (1890-1957)

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
—George Bernard Shaw, writer, Nobel laureate (1856-1950)

There is a pleasure sure, in being mad, which none but madmen know.
—John Dryden, poet and dramatist (1631-1700)

Every saint has a past and every sinner a future.
—Oscar Wilde, writer (1854-1900)

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
—Edith Wharton, novelist (1862-1937)

Dreams have only one owner at a time. That's why dreamers are lonely.
—Erma Bombeck, author (1927-1996)

I am not sincere, even when I say I am not.
—Jules Renard, writer (1864-1910)

The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent upon it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as it if had nothing else in the universe to do.
—Galileo Galilei, physicist and astronomer (1564-1642)

Omit needless words. Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.
—William Strunk, Jr., professor and author (1869-1946)

They say that God is everywhere, and yet we always think of Him as somewhat of a recluse.
—Emily Dickinson, poet (1830-1886)

The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made.
—Groucho Marx

Buying books would be a good thing if one could also buy the time to read them in: but as a rule the purchase of books is mistaken for the appropriation of their contents.
—Arthur Schopenhauer, philosopher (1788-1860)

People are like stained glass windows: they sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light within.
—Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, psychiatrist and author (1926-2004)

Chance is perhaps the pseudonym of God when he does not wish to sign his work.
—Anatole France, novelist, essayist, Nobel laureate (1844-1924)

The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in time of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.
—Dante Alighieri, poet (1265-1321)

Men of genius are often dull and inert in society, as a blazing meteor when it descends to earth, is only a stone.
—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, poet (1819-1892)

I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him.
—Galileo Galilei, physicist and astronomer (1564-1642)

What a heavy oar the pen is, and what a strong current ideas are to row in!
—Gustave Flaubert, novelist (1821-1880)

Every society honors its live conformists and its dead troublemakers.
—M. McLaughlin, author

Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.
—Will Durant, historian (1885-1981)

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.
—Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.
—Leonardo Da Vinci

As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of the demand.
—Josh Billings

Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn't the work he is supposed be doing at that moment.
—Robert Benchley

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.
—Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot; others transform a yellow spot into the sun.
—Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

The means by which we live have outdistanced the ends for which we live. Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.
—Martin Luther King, Jr., civil-rights leader (1929-1968)

I shut my eyes in order to see.
—Paul Gauguin (1848-1903)

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; In practice, there is.
—Chuck Reid

Words are like money; there is nothing so useless, unless when in actual use.
—Samuel Butler

It is criminal to steal a purse, daring to steal a fortune, a mark of greatness to steal a crown. The blame diminishes as the guilt increases.
—Johan Christoph Friedrich von Schiller, poet and dramatist (1759-1805)

I think... I think it's in my basement. Let me go upstairs and check.
—M.C. Escher (1898-1972)

Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.
—Isaac Asimov, science-fiction writer (1920-1992)

Grown-ups never understand anything for themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.
—Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900-1944)

Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight upwards.
—Fred Hoyle, Astronomer, mathematician, writer (1915-2001)

Because no battle is ever won he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.
—William Faulkner, novelist (1897-1962) [The Sound and the Fury, 1929]

The nice thing about standards is that there are so many of them to choose from.
—Andrew S. Tanenbaum

By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he's wrong.
—Charles Wadsworth

Wit is educated insolence.
—Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) [The Art of Rhetoric]

I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it.
—Voltaire (1694-1778)

A man does not have to be an angel in order to be saint.
—Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965)

No man is clever enough to know all the evil he does.
—La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680)

Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from that of their social environment.
—Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

The greatest homage to truth is to use it.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Strange that creatures without backbones have the hardest shells.
—Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)

Nothing produces such odd results as trying to get even.
—Franklin P. Jones

If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor.
—Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And to know the place for the first time.
—T.S.Eliot, Little Gidding

After the game is before the game.

The man who thinks he can do without the world is indeed mistaken; but the man who thinks the world cannot do without him is mistaken even worse.
—Francois, duc de La Rochefoucauld

I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
Without ever having felt sorry for itself

Pessimist: One who, when he has the choice of two evils, chooses both.
—Oscar Wilde

There are two ways to slide easily through life: to believe everything or to doubt everything; both ways save us from thinking.
—Theodore Rubin

Every man has his secret sorrows, which the world knows not; and oftentimes we call a man cold when he is only sad.
—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Many a man fails to become a thinker for the sole reason that his memory is too good.
—Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900)

We often forgive those who bore us, but we cannot forgive those whom we bore.
—Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680)

He who asks of life nothing but the improvement of his own less liable than anyone else to miss and waste life.
—Henri Frederic Amiel (1821-1881)

When you want to test the depths of a stream, don't use both feet.
—Chinese Proverb

A book must be an axe for the frozen sea inside of us.
—Franz Kafka (1883-1924)

We are usually convinced more easily by reasons we have found ourselves than by those which have occurred to others.
—Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)

Few men speak humbly of humility, chastely of chastity, skeptically of skepticism.
—Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)

An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you know and what you don't.
—Anatole France

I cannot judge my work while I am doing it. I have to do as painters do, stand back and view it from a distance, but not too great a distance.
—Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)

Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law.
—Henry David Thoreau

All humanity is divided into three classes: those who are immovable, those who are movable, and those who move!
—Benjamin Franklin

The older I grow, the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.
—H.L. Mencken

Contentment consisteth not in adding more fuel, but in taking away some fire.
—Thomas Fuller (1608-1661)

There is a point beyond which even justice becomes unjust.
—Sophocles, Greek dramatist (495?-406 BC)

If a person holds ambitions, he suffers knowingly, but very slowly.
—Alan Lightman, Einstein's Dreams

All a man can betray is his conscience.
—Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)

Vanity made the revolution; liberty was only a pretext.

Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it.
—Tallulah Bankhead, actress (1903-1968)

By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.

Marge, don't discourage the boy! Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals! — except the weasel...
—Homer Simpson