It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it.

Each problem that I solved became a rule, which served afterwards to solve other problems.

I can only hope that I have loved the people closest to me more than I have harmed them. This is something, however, that I don’t think anyone can know for sure.

A hundred times I have thought: New York is a catastrophe, and fifty times: it is a beautiful catastrophe.

All during dinner, I could see her affection for this guy on her glowing face — new and carnal love, the kind that makes it difficult to sleep, but that doesn’t really matter because your body is releasing so many endorphins and so much adrenaline that you don’t need a lot of rest.

I managed by example, and I had yet to learn how critically important it is to lead by teaching, setting priorities, and holding people accountable.

There’s so little she’ll ever reveal to me or I to her. I bet her father knows even less. I’m sure she’s speaking half an octave higher. Same voice she had when she was 16. Telling him all about her new job, how much she misses him, and sorry she didn’t send a card. Telling him everything but the truth. Just like she wouldn’t tell me about that young man downstairs. There’s a value in having secrets. Creatures like myself, like Claire, Like Zoe — we wouldn’t be ourselves without them. But Peter Russo on the other hand — he’s trapped by his secrets. What I’m trying to do is give him the opportunity to set himself free. After all, we are nothing more or less than what we choose to reveal. What I am to Claire is not what I am to Zoe, just as Zoe is not to me what she is to her father.

I am afraid that there are more people than I can imagine who can go no further than appreciating a picture that is a rectangle with an object in the middle of it, which they can identify. They don’t care what is around the object as long as nothing interferes with the object itself, right in the centre. Even after the lessons of Winogrand and Friedlander, they don’t get it. They respect their work because they are told by respectable institutions that they are important artists, but what they really want to see is a picture with a figure or an object in the middle of it. They want something obvious. The blindness is apparent when someone lets slip the word ‘snapshot’. Ignorance can always be covered by ‘snapshot’. The word has never had any meaning. I am at war with the obvious.

Untitled by William Eggleston

Have I made my career solely by showing up when and were I said I would? Because that’s definitely a big part of what determines a person’s success. If you make a promise, you keep it. The trick is not to make promises you can see yourself breaking.

I wanted you to learn to trust your own instincts. A good detective knows that every task, every interaction, no matter how seemingly banal, has the potential to contain multitudes. I live my life alert to this possibility.

Love me when I least deserve it, because that’s when I really need it.

We are all searching for someone whose demons play well with ours.

People will say a lot of great things about your business, and a lot of nasty things as well. Just remember: you’re never as good as the best things they’ll say, and never as bad as the negative ones. Just keep centered, know what you stand for, strive for new goals, and always be decent.

I can’t talk to my psychiatrist about these things because I don’t want him to think badly of me…

Business, like life, is all about how you make people feel. It’s that simple, and it’s that hard.

It all began with those pesky steps, the stairs leading up to the legendary residence that Sherlock Holmes shares with Dr. Watson, 221B Baker Street. Why couldn’t Watson recall the number of steps? “I believe my eyes are as good as yours,” Watson tells his new flatmate — as, in fact, they are. But the competence of the eyes isn’t the issue. Instead, the distinction lies in how those eyes are deployed. “You see, but you do not observe,” Holmes tells his companion. And Holmes? “Now, I know there are seventeen steps,” he continues, “because I have both seen and observed.”

For me, the subject of a picture and its background have the same value, or, to put it more clearly, there is no principal feature, only the pattern is important. The picture is formed by the combination of surfaces, differently coloured, which results in the creation of an “expression.” In the same way that in a musical harmony, each note is a part of the whole, so I wished each colour to have a contributory value. A picture is the co-ordination of controlled rhythms, and it is thus that one can change a surface which appears red-green-blue-black for one which appears white-blue-red-green; it is the same picture, the same feeling presented differently, but the rhythms are changed. The difference between the two canvases is that of the two aspects of a chessboard in the course of a game of chess.

The appearance of the board is continually changing in the course of play, but the intentions of the players who move the pawns remains constant.

I decided to discard verisimilitude. It did not interest me to copy an object. Why should I paint the outside of an apple, however exactly? What possible interest could there be in copying an object which nature provides in unlimited quantities and which one can always conceive more beautiful? What is significant is the relation of the object to the artist, to his personality, and his power to arrange his sensations and emotions.

To write a good love-letter, you ought to begin without knowing what you mean to say, and to finish without knowing what you have written.

My husband doesn’t apologize. Even to me.

This started at an early age. Jordan genuinely believed his father liked his older brother, Larry, more than he liked him, and he used that insecurity as motivation. He burned, and thought if he succeeded, he would demand an equal share of affection. His whole life has been about proving things, to the people around him, to strangers, to himself. This has been successful and spectacularly unhealthy. If the boy in those letters from Chapel Hill is gone, it is this appetite to prove — to attack and to dominate and to win — that killed him. In the many biographies written about Jordan, most notably in David Halberstam’s “Playing for Keeps,” a common word used to describe Jordan is “rage.” Jordan might have stopped playing basketball, but the rage is still there. The fire remains, which is why he searches for release, on the golf course or at a blackjack table, why he spends so much time and energy on his basketball team and why he dreams of returning to play.

He was tremendously excitable, unusually endowed with emotional feeling and nervous energy…and I believe his life was a continual effort to control himself.

We also eventually had two perfectly healthy children, miraculous creatures that I couldn’t and sometimes still can’t believe Renn and I created out of nothing but two fifteen-minute acts in a darkened bedroom, an act repeated millions of times over throughout the country on any given day. We were hardly original in anything we did, but for a while it all felt so fraught and urgent and specific.

Every age manifests itself by some external evidence. In a period such as ours when only a comparatively few individuals seem to be given to religion, some form other than the Gothic cathedral must be found. Industry concerns the great numbers-it may be true, as has been said, that our factories are our substitute for religious expression.

Charles Sheeler’s “Water” (1945)

If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.

Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.

Often slightly misquoted as:

Maybe everybody in the whole damn word is scared of each other.

I was privileged to consider him a friend and I am grateful that I had a few more times to be with him, on Tuesday and again last night, before he finally left New York for someplace better – although he’d probably argue that’s not possible.

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.

Corrupted from the actual quote of:
“Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air.”
from John Quincy Adams’ Oration at Plymouth.

Try everything that can be done. Be deliberate. Be spontaneous. Be thoughtful and painstaking. Be abandoned and impulsive. Learn your own possibilities.

Love doesn’t grow at a steady rate, but advances in surges, bolts, wild leaps, and this was one of those.

Mr. and Mrs. Wase, both in their dumb way, keep telling you things. They are telling you that Mr. George Bellows died too young. They are telling you that he was after something, that he was always after it.

Mr. and Mrs. Wase by George Bellows

One of George Bellows later paintings.

All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth…The minute you pick up the camera you begin to lie — or to tell your own truth. You make subjective judgments every step of the way — in how you light the subject, in choosing the moment of exposure, in cropping the print. It’s just a matter of how far you choose to go.

When placed in command — take charge.

It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him. Dragons may not have much real use for all their wealth, but they know it to an ounce as a rule, especially after long possession; and Smaug was no exception…

He stirred and stretched forth his neck to sniff. Then he missed the cup!

Thieves! Fire! Murder! Such a thing had not happened since first he came to the Mountain! His rage passes description – the sort of rage that is only seen when rich folk that have more than they can enjoy suddenly lose something that they have long had but have never before used or wanted…

I’ve always said there are – to oversimplify it – two kinds of writers. There are architects and gardeners. The architects do blueprints before they drive the first nail, they design the entire house, where the pipes are running, and how many rooms there are going to be, how high the roof will be. But the gardeners just dig a hole and plant the seed and see what comes up. I think all writers are partly architects and partly gardeners, but they tend to one side or another, and I am definitely more of a gardener. In my Hollywood years when everything does work on outlines, I had to put on my architect’s clothes and pretend to be an architect. But my natural inclinations, the way I work, is to give my characters the head and to follow them.

I will confess to you that, you know, one of the statements that’s been attributed to me that I’m sort of proud of is somebody said, you know, “What do we do about Osama bin Laden?” And they asked me, “Can we forgive him?” And I said, “Forgiveness is up to God. I just hope we hurry up the meeting.

“Le doute n’est pas une condition agréable, mais la certitude est absurde.” translated non-literally, but clearly as:

“Doubt is uncomfortable, but certainty is absurd.” (Translation cited by Erika Rae in an interview.)

Variously translated as:
“Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty Is an absurd one.” Lifehacker
“Doubt is not an agreeable condition, but certainty is an absurd one.” – WikiQuote

How can one understand the inner life of a character, real or fictional, without knowing the state of her finances?

When you think about it, we rationalists—and we’re all, to an extent, rationalist—we accept propositions about the early universe which boggle the mind more than any of the biblical miracles do. Your mind can intuitively grasp the notion of a dead man coming back again to life, as people in deep comas do, and as we do when we wake up every morning out of a sound sleep. But to believe that the universe, immeasurably vast as it appears to be, was once compressed into a tiny space—into a tiny point—is in truth very hard to believe. I’m not saying I can disprove the equations that back it up. I’m just saying that it’s as much a matter of faith to accept that.

He is neither a strategist nor is he schooled in the operational arts, nor is he a tactician, nor is he a general. Other than that he’s a great military man.

Still, I was young, and maintaining a heavy heart all moments of the day was beyond me.

The essence of civilization is that you can walk down the street without having to look over your shoulder.

Manhattan at night

[Photo by Toki ITA licensed under Creative Commons.]

Calvin’s Dad: The world isn’t fair, Calvin.
Calvin: I know Dad, but why isn’t it ever unfair in my favor?

It’s not that a dog accepts the cards it’s been dealt; it’s not aware that there are cards. James Thurber called the desire for this condition ‘the Dog Wish,’ the ‘strange and involved compulsion to be as happy and carefree as a dog.’ This is a dog’s blessing, a dim-wittedness one can envy.

Even though everything I just said is true, it doesn’t make me any less of a liar.

At an off-the-record dinner at the White House with New York Times columnist Arthur Krock, Eisenhower alluded to this method of anger management. Krock wrote in a memo to his files: “The President said he had an old professor who, admonishing his pupils that hate was an element always destructive of one’s aims, told them how to expel it. The professor did this by writing on a card the name of one for whom he felt hatred and putting the card in a drawer, after which he forgot the location of the drawer and the name of the individual.”

His tears couldn’t change that stony outcropping in his character any more than a single summer cloudburst can change the shape of rock. There were good uses for such hardness — she knew that, had known it as a woman raising a boy on her own in a city that cared little for mothers and less for their children — but Larry hadn’t found any yet. He was just what she had said he was: the same old Larry. He would go along, not thinking, getting people — including himself — into james, and when the jobs got bad enough, he would call upon that streak to extricate himself. As for the others? He would leave them to sink or swim on their own. Rock was tough, and there was toughness in his character, but he still used it destructively. She could see it in his eyes, read it in every line of his posture . . . even in the way he bobbed his cancer-stick to make those little rings in the air. He had never sharpened that hard piece of him into a blade to cut people with, and that was something, but when he needed it, he was still calling on it as a child did — as a bludgeon to beat his way out of traps he had dug for himself. Once, she had told herself Larry would change. She had; he would

She also thought there was good in Larry, great good. It was there, but this late on it would take nothing short of a catastrophe to bring it out. There was no catastrophe here; only her weeping son.

When Shiranzai, with four of his men, reached the lane where the man was still wandering, they parked more than a block away and pointed their rifles at him. “He had a wild look in his eyes,” Shiranzai told me. “We understood from the way he was pacing, and from the expression on his face, that he was really feeling crazy.” After a brief exchange of fire, the attacker scaled a wall, then leapt onto the roof of a house. From there he shot with reckless imprecision at the officers. When he threw a hand grenade at them, it landed and rolled harmlessly down the street. He had neglected to pull the pin. Eventually, the attacker jumped from the roof into the backyard, where an officer shot him in the head. Later Shiranzai told me: “Something I’ve been surprised to learn is that these men, who are planning to blow themselves up, always become frightened when you open fire on them. As soon as the shooting starts, the suicider runs and hides. He doesn’t want to be shot. He is here to die, but he is scared of bullets. It’s strange.” [emphasis added]

That’s just too complicated for a dumb bunny like me.

God put me on this earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now I am so far behind that I will never die.

“Larry is a man who found himself comparatively late in life,” the Judge said, clearing his through. “At least, that is how he strikes me. Men who find themselves late are never sure. They are all the things the civics books tell us the good citizens should be: partisans but never zealots, respecters of the facts which attend each situation but never benders of those facts, uncomfortable in positions of leadership but rarely able to turn down a responsibility once it has been offered… or thrust upon them. They make the best leaders in a democracy because they are unlikely to fall in love with power. Quite the opposite…”