Words I Like

In a real dark night of the soul, it is always three o’clock in the morning. F. Scott Fitzgerald

She liked drinking, and she liked drinking in the car, which was something you got used to in Montana, where it wasn’t against the law, where, though, strangely enough, a bad check would land you in Deer Lodge Prison for a year. Richard Ford

Night and gin and music — the right setting for peeling off the thin clinging layers of bullshit and finding one’s way down closer to the essential self. John D. MacDonald

Some books seem like a key to unfamiliar rooms in one’s own castle. Franz Kafka

It is youth’s felicity as well as its insufficiency that it can never live in the present, but must always be measuring up the day against its own radiantly imagined future — flowers and gold, girls and stars, they are only prefigurations and prophecies of that incomparable, unattainable young dream. F. Scott Fitzgerald

They were men who would keep their lawyers busy and their doctors concerned. John D. MacDonald

If you booed me for 18, 19 years, boo me for the 20th. That’s the game, man. Kobe Bryant

The room was empty. It was full of silence and the memory of a nice perfume. One of those perfumes you don’t notice until they are almost gone, like the last leaf on a tree. Raymond Chandler

The day is always his who works in it with serenity and great aims. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Integrity is not a conditional word. It doesn’t blow in the wind or change with the weather. It is your inner image of yourself, and if you look in there and see a man who won’t cheat, then you know he never will. Integrity is not a search for the rewards for integrity. Maybe all you ever get for it is the largest kick in the ass the world can provide. It is not supposed to be a productive asset. John D. MacDonald

Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul. Mark Twain

As to being prepared for defeat, I certainly am not. Any man who is prepared for defeat would be half defeated before he commenced. David Farragut

You can’t chase the night. When the night is over, the night is over. That’s just the way it is. You just gotta wake up tomorrow and hope for a better day. World Wide Wes

Things happen, people change,’ is what Amanda said. For her that covered it. You wanted an explanation, and ending that would assign blame and dish up justice. You considered violence and you considered reconciliation . But what you are left with is a premonition of the way your life will fade behind you, like a book you have read too quickly, leaving a dwindling trail of images and emotions, until all you can remember is a name. Jay McInerney

He that leaveth nothing to chance will do few things ill, but he will do very few things. George Savile

Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.
Iain Thomas

A goal is not always meant to be reached. It often serves simply as something to aim at. Bruce Lee

I think there’s something beautiful about college football’s imperfection, about the notion that the players themselves are works in progress, that they fall victim to corruption and excess, and sometimes they party with too much vigor (like a lot of us did in college), that they do cocky things and they do stupid things and they sometimes lose games they have no right to lose because they are too full of themselves to take their opponent seriously. They have weird throwing motions, and they run awkwardly, and they drop wide-open passes, and they fall in love with fake dead girlfriends; they are raw and young and they only have to get one foot inbounds instead of two and they give speeches that would sound idiotic in an actual workplace, but because this is college, and because that intangible spirit still persists, they become folk heroes. Michael Weinreb

And if they drag you through the mud / It doesn’t change what’s in your blood.  Brandon Flowers & Daniel Lanois

Praise to the face is open disgrace. Ernest Hemingway

To improve is to change; to perfect is to change often. Winston Churchill

Nothing is more ungraceful, more ludicrous, than the spectacle of one who attempts to linger over the pleasures of an age he had outlived, and ignore the advantages of his own time of life. John D. Swain

The man or beast I run from ain’t been born yet. And its mama’s already dead. Carl

Your job as a leader is to be right at the end of the meeting, not the beginning.– David Cote

Winning isn’t everything — but wanting to win is.
Vince Lombardi

There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you—of kindness and consideration and respect—not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had. John Steinbeck

Those who attract people by their happiness and their performance are usually inexperienced. Ernest Hemingway

As a nation of free men, we will live forever or die by suicide. Abraham Lincoln

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. Kurt Vonnegut

Enemies are good advertisement so long as you’ve got some solid friends. Ernest Hemingway

For a moment everything was clear, and when that happens you see that the world is barely there at all. Don’t we all secretly know this? It’s a perfectly balanced mechanism of shouts and echoes pretending to be wheels and cogs, a dreamclock chiming beneath a mystery-glass we call life. Behind it? Below it and around it? Chaos, storms. Men with hammers, men with knives, men with guns. Women who twist what they cannot dominate and belittle what they cannot understand. A universe of horror and loss surrounding a single lighted stage where mortals dance in defiance of the dark.Stephen King

Speak out for what you believe and what you feel. Or don’t. You have to live with yourself. Robert Redford

Nobody can be adequately paid for wasting his time.
Raymond Chandler

The moment you engage in a profit-making enterprise, you lose the right to expect charity. Worse, the moment you expect charity, you’re admitting your irrelevance as a writer. The moment you can’t accept corrections or criticism or disdain, you’ve given up on getting better, or smarter.
Rob Neyer

I have rassled with an alligator. I done tussled with a whale. I done handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail. That’s bad. Only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick. I’m so mean I make medicine sick. Fast, fast, fast. Last night I cut the light off my bedroom, hit the switch, was in the bed before the room was dark. Muhammad Ali

Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen. Conan O’Brien

Now, among the rest, drunkenness seems to me to be a gross and brutish vice. The soul has greater part in the rest, and there are some vices that have something, if a man may so say, of generous in them; there are vices wherein there is a mixture of knowledge, diligence, valor, prudence, dexterity and address; this one is totally corporeal and earthly. And the rudest nation this day in Europe is that alone where it is in fashion. Other vices discompose the understanding: this totally overthrows it and renders the body stupid. The worst state of man is that wherein he loses the knowledge and government of himself. And ’tis said, among other things upon this subject, that, as the must fermenting in a vessel, works up to the top whatever it has in the bottom, so wine, in those who have drunk beyond measure, vents the most inward secrets. Michel de Montaigne

Forget your personal tragedy. We are all bitched from the start and you especially have to hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt use it—don’t cheat with it. Be as faithful to it as a scientist—but don’t think anything is of any importance because it happens to you or anyone belonging to you.
Ernest Hemingway, to F. Scott Fitzgerald

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through. Ira Glass

All things truly wicked start from an innocence. Ernest Hemingway

Be true to your work, your word and your friend.
Henry David Thoreau

“But the thing that got me through that moment, and any other time that I’ve felt stuck, is to remind myself that it’s about the work. Because if you’re worrying about yourself—if you’re thinking: ‘Am I succeeding? Am I in the right position? Am I being appreciated?’ — then you’re going to end up feeling frustrated and stuck. But if you can keep it about the work, you’ll always have a path. There’s always something to be done.”  Barack Obama

I knew that when I was grown I would be something like him; I would have to plan my campaigns within his limitations. John Cheever

I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time. Jack London

The world is divided into those who want to become someone and those who want to accomplish something. Jean Monnet