Story Book

A commonplace book is where notable extracts from other works are recorded.

Almost all poetry is a failure because it sounds like somebody saying, Look, I have written a poem.

         - Charles Bukowski

A writer’s obituary should read he wrote books then he died. 

         - William Faulkner. 

Must a man open a grave to find a woman to love? 

         - The Mummy (1936)

 

You can get too stressed from being too stressed. 

         - Patricia Neumann

 

Sometimes a man wants to be stupid if it lets him do a thing his cleverness forbids.

         - John Steinbeck, East of Eden

 

I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.

         - Rosa Parks

 

We never know which lives we influence, or when, or why.

         - Stephen King

 

Democracy's a very fragile thing. You have to take care of democracy. As soon as you stop being responsible to it and allow it to turn into scare tactics, it's no longer democracy, is it? It's something else. It may be an inch away from totalitarianism.

         -Sam Shepard

 

I don’t write music to tell you how to feel, but to tell you it’s time to feel.

         -Hans Zimmer

 

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? 

         - Mary Oliver

 

Optimism is an antidote to anxiety.

          - Dr. Michael Gervais

 

Every problem is an opportunity in disguise.

         - Inara

 

Every man who ever got a statue made of him is one kind of a son of a bitch or another. 

         - Firefly

 

This is how science works, it has nothing to do with feelings, it’s just about curiosity. 

         - Jon Larsen

 

I think the point of a song is to just say something that’s true, or that expresses an idea that reflects something that’s true, whether it’s a truth about human nature or about the way people bullshit one another.  

         - Lyle Lovett

 

if you’d never met a human and suddenly encountered one, you’d be inclined to worship this creature.

         - CS Lewis

 

I have a friend who listens to conversations the way congregants listen to sermons in charismatic churches — with amens, and approbations. The effect is magnetic.

         - David Brooks

 

Humans need to be heard before they will listen.

         - Amanda Ripley

 

To influence actions, you need to give people a sense of control.

         - Tali Sharot

 

Sometimes I wish I were a nurse, or I was out marching. Is music enough? But that's what I have to give. That's the way I can express my love.

         - Meredith Monk

 

If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.

         - Haruki Murakami

 

Dirt is destiny.

         - Dave Montgomery 

There is a certain impulse in all writers to want to please. You have to give up wanting to please.

         - Dorothy Allison

 

No one can tell what goes on in between the person you were and the person you become. No one can chart that blue and lonely section of hell. There are no maps of the change. You just come out the other side. Or you don't.

         - Stephen King, The Stand

 

All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up.

         - James Baldwin

 

“The terror and consternation of the Presidential couple may be imagined by anyone who has ever loved a child, and suffered that dread intimation common to all parents, that Fate may not hold that life in as high a regard, and may dispose of it at will. In “Selected Civil War Letters of Edwine Willow,” edited by Constance Mays.”

         — Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel by George Saunders

 

The Negro, who has long exemplified the humanities in his very existence, is being rewarded with inhumanity.

         - Sonny Rollins, liner notes, Freedom Suite. 

 

If a song can’t be written in 20 minutes, it ain’t worth writing.

         - Hank Williams

When I practice, I need to listen very critically and analytically to what I am doing. Practicing involves experimentation and working often in small sections at a variety of different speeds – with frequent stops.  Performing is all about letting go of self consciousness, getting into a flow state and communicating the message of the music to the listener. Essentially practicing is more a thinking activity, and performance a feeling one.

         - Artur Rubinstein

 

Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.

         - Warren Buffet

 

The purpose of technique is to free the unconscious.

         - David Mamet

It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.

         — The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

 

Pain is the truth; all else is doubt

         - Waiting for the Barbarians by JM Coetzee

 

All knowledge, the totality of all questions and all answers, is contained in the dog.

         — Franz Kafka

 

A man should have the ability to go up in a hurtling piece of machinery and put his hide on the line and then have the moxie, the reflexes, the experience, the coolness to pull it back in the last yawning moment — and then go up again the next day, and the next day, and every next day.          - The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

 

The library is, with its careworn and temporary offerings, as lovely and as poignant a reminder of our actual human condition as the tides or a forest in fall. 

         - Ben Dolnik

 

A song success must have easy phrasing and it must be within the range--one octave--of the average singer's voice. A hit, too, must have one haunting, unforgettable phrase. I don't think the name of a song has anything whatever to do with its ultimate success unless, of course, it's a comedy song and then the title plays a big part.

         - Irving Berlin

 

Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.

         — Lewis B. Smedes.

 

I have learned that if you must leave a place that you have lived in and loved and where all your yesteryears are buried deep, leave it any way except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can. Never turn back and never believe that an hour you remember is a better hour because it is dead. Passed years seem safe ones, vanquished ones, while the future lives in a cloud, formidable from a distance.

         — Beryl Markham

 

In his disturbance; when his darling sons,

Hurled headlong to partake with us, shall curse

Their frail original and faded bliss,

Faded so soon. Advise, if this be worth

Attempting, or to sit in darkness here

Hatching vain empires.

         - Paradise Lost, Book II (372)

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest, best financed, most applauded, and, on the whole, least successful exercises in moral philosophy.  That is, the search for a truly superior moral justification for selfishness.

         - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

I think the more the listener can contribute to the song, the better; the more they become part of the song, and they fill in the blanks. Rather than tell them everything, you save your details for things that exist. Like what color the ashtray is. How far away the doorway was. So when you’re talking about intangible things like emotions, the listener can fill in the blanks and you just draw the foundation.

         — John Prine

 

Without an easy access to exceptions in favor of unfortunate guilt, justice would wear a countenance too sanguinary and cruel

         - Alexander Hamilton The Federalist No. 74.

 

Jesus understood that what ultimately changes people’s lives are relationships rather than rule books, mercy rather than moral demands. 

         - Peter Webber

 

... the vigor of government is essential to the security of liberty; that, in the contemplation of a sound and well-informed judgment, their interest can never be separated; and that a dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people than under the forbidden appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government.

         — The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison

 

I warn you against believing that advertising is a science.

         - Bill Bernbach 

 

If you don’t want anyone to know anything about you, don’t write anything.

         ― Peter Townshend

 

Life is too short to sacrifice so much of it, to living with a bastard.

         - Bill Bernbach 

 

A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity, an optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.

         - Winston Churchill

 

It takes a tremendous amount of work to educate citizens to resist the powerful pull of believing what they already believe, or what others around them believe, or what would make sense of their own previous choices.

         - Timothy Synder. 

For Black people in this country there is no legal code at all. We’re still governed by the slave code.

         - James Baldwin

 

You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.

         — Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

If you live in the real world all the time it can be kind of boring.

         - Senator Patrick Leahey. 

 

I saw Picasso at a party or an opening or something crowded and awful in New York. I spoke to him. I repeated what I had written in my letter: How do we do it? What do we do when the images and the words do not come forth? How do we survive? How do we remain artists? He looked at me with those glorious eyes, snapped back that shiny, bald head and told me that we are not artists; "we do not concern ourselves with 'art.' We are workmen, day laborers--who happen to work with paints and clay and actors, and curtains part on occasion to display what we do. Tell the truth as you know it. Art may happen; it may not. We are not owed its presence.            

         - Tennessee Williams

I have the artist torture thing going on, too, where I'm a little conflict-seeking because it's creative. I like to feel sad sometimes. And I like to feel happy. I really like to feel. It's inspiring to me.

         - Miley Cyrus 

 

Mark Twain had a real understanding of the difference between the word on the page and delivering it on a platform You have to leave out a lot of adjectives. The performer is an adjective.

         - Hal Holbrook

People who want to understand democracy should spend less time in the libraries with Aristotle and Socrates, and more time on the buses and in the subways.

         - Simeon Strunsky

You have to learn to get up from the table when love is no longer being served. 

         - Nina Simone

When Miles Davis says, ‘Play what you don’t hear,’ he means, trust your imagination. Trust yourself to say, ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do next, but I’m just going to do it because it’s fun. Because I love it.’

         - Chick Corea

 

In war, the first casualty is truth.

         - Aeschylus

 

Talent is helpful in writing, but guts are absolutely necessary.

         - Jessamyn West

 

Racism is a system. As such, it is fueled as much by chance as by hostile intentions and equally the best intentions as well. It is whatever systematically acclimates people, of all colors, to become comfortable with the isolation and segregation of the races, on a visual, social, or economic level—which in turn supports and is supported by socio-economic discrimination.

         - Samuel R. Delaney

 

To be able to hold back information about oneself, or to channel it and influence how one is seen by others, gives power.

         - Sissela Bok

 

One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness visible. 

         - Carl Jung

 

Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.

         - Lao Tzu

 

Anything you can imagine you can make real. 

         - Jules Verne

There is always the danger you do the right things for the wrong reasons.

         - Queen Gunnhild, Vikings

No artist is pleased… There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.

         - Martha Graham

I don’t force it. If you don’t have an idea and you don’t hear anything going over and over in your head, don’t sit down and try to write a song. You know, go mow the lawn.

         - Neil Young

If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.

         - Charlie Parker

Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.

        - Oscar Wilde

 

Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.

        - Maya Angelou

 

Quiet people have the loudest minds. 

        - Stephen Hawkins

 

I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.

        - James Baldwin

 

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.

        - Rumi

Only the present is important because nothing ever occurs in the past or future; things happen only in a continuous stream of present moments.

        - Eckhart Tolle

 

The reality we experience is just a story that our brain tells us. 

        - Will Storr

 

Be generous. Be curious. Be intentional. 

        - Steve Johnson

 

A professional writer is an amateur that didn’t quit. 

        - Richard Bach. 

 

It’s easier to fool someone than to convince them they’ve been fooled.

        - Mark Twain 

                  

As a species, we evolved in rocky landscapes. We have been building these (stone piles) for thousands of years. They’re a way to say: I am here, I have lived. 

        - David B. Williams Cairns: Messengers in Stone

 

You know, sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you.

        - George R.R. Martin

Throughout his life, Leonardo DaVinci strove to understand and unravel the mysteries of the world. It wasn’t because he desired fame or glory, but because he was driven by a deep curiosity.

        - Walter Isaacson 

 

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. 

        - Margaret Mead

 

Your pipe is drawing sweetly, the sofa cushions are soft underneath you, the fire is well alight, the air is warm and stagnant. In these blissful circumstances, what is it that you want to read about? Naturally, about a murder.

        - George Orwell

 

Money is like water in the sea. People work for money, then they don’t want to split it. It’s that kind of attitude. So much guys have so much – too much – while so many have nothing at all. We don’t feel like that is right, because it don’t take a guy a hundred million dollars to keep him satisfied. Everybody have to live.

        - Bob Marley

 

The human heart has hidden treasures, in secrets kept, in silence sealed; the thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures, whose charms were broken if revealed. 

        - Charlotte Brönte

 

People like me are aware of their so-called genius at ten, eight, nine…. I always wondered, “Why has nobody discovered me?” In school, didn’t they see that I’m cleverer than anybody in this school? That the teachers are stupid, too? That all they had was information that I didn’t need? I got lost at school.

        - John Lennon

 

I'll tell you what freedom is to me. No fear.                - Nina Simone.