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The writer studies literature, not the world.
by Annie Dillard

The writer studies literature, not the world.
He is careful of what he reads, for that is what he will write.
- Annie Dillard

How we spend our days is of course
how we spend our lives.
- Annie Dillard

I would like to learn, or remember, how to live.
- Annie Dillard

There is a muscular energy in sunlight corresponding
to the spiritual energy of wind.
- Annie Dillard

 

Eskimo: "If I did not know about God and sin,
would I go to hell?" Priest: "No, not if you did not know."
Eskimo:
"Then why did you tell me?"
- Annie Dillard

The dedicated life is worth living.
You must give with your whole heart.
- Annie Dillard

As soon as beauty is sought not from religion and love,
but for pleasure, it degrades the seeker.
- Annie Dillard

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As a life's work, I would remember everything -
everything,
against loss.
I would go through life like a plankton net.
- Annie Dillard

Your work is to keep cranking the flywheel that turns
the gears that spin the belt in the engine of belief
that keeps you and your desk in midair.
- Annie Dillard

Appealing workplaces are to be avoided.
One wants a room with no view, so imagination can meet memory in the dark.
- Annie Dillard

Every book has an intrinsic impossibility,
which its writer discovers as soon as his first excitement dwindles.
- Annie Dillard

There is no shortage of good days.
It is good lives that are hard to come by.
- Annie Dillard

Spend the afternoon.
You can't take it with you.
- Annie Dillard

You can't test courage cautiously.
- Annie Dillard

Aim for the chopping block.
If you aim for the wood, you will have nothing.
Aim past the wood, aim through the wood;
aim for the chopping block.
- Annie Dillard

I woke in bits, like all children, piecemeal over the years.
I discovered myself and the world, and forgot them,
and discovered them again.
- Annie Dillard

People love pretty much the same things best.
A writer looking for subject inquires not after what he loves best,
but after what he alone loves at all.
- Annie Dillard

A schedule defends from chaos and whim.
It is a net for catching days.
It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and
labor with both hands at sections of time.
- Annie Dillard

The surest sign of age is loneliness.
- Annie Dillard

Crystals grew inside rock like arithmetic flowers.
They lengthened and spread, added plane to plane in
an awed and perfect obedience to an absolute geometry that even stones -
maybe only the stones -
understood.
- Annie Dillard

It is ironic that the one thing that all religions
recognize as separating us from our creator,
our very self-consciousness, is also the one thing
that divides us from our fellow creatures.
It was a bitter birthday present from evolution.
- Annie Dillard

I noticed this process of waking, and predicted with
terrifying logic that one of these years not far away
I would be awake continuously and never slip back,
and never be free of myself again.
- Annie Dillard

The painter...
does not fit the paints to the world.
He most certainly does not fit the world to himself.
He fits himself to the paint.
The self is the servant who bears the paintbox and its inherited contents.
- Annie Dillard

There is a certain age at which a child looks at you
in all earnestness and delivers a long,
pleased speech in all the true inflections of spoken English,
but with not one recognizable syllable.
- Annie Dillard

The writer, when he is also an artist,
is someone who admits what others don't dare reveal.
- Elia Kazan

A writer should write with his eyes and a painter paint with his ears.
- Gertrude Stein

When you take stuff from one writer it's plagiarism;
but when you take it from many writers,
it's research.
- Wilson Mizner

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say,
but what we are unable to say.
- Anais Nin

And I definitely wanted to be a writer,
but I felt a duty now, having used up those educational resources,
I felt a duty to the church and my parents to become a priest.
- Thomas Keneally

One truth is the swing of the sentence,
the beat and poise, but down deeper it's the integrity
of the writer as he matches with the language.
- Don DeLillo

I wanted nothing less than to be a fiction writer when I was a kid.
If you had told me I would be an artist or novelist when I grew up,
I would have laughed in your face.
- Caleb Carr

One thing I can tell you is this, that I am not a methodical writer.
- Wole Soyinka

I was brought up in the great tradition of the late nineteenth century:
that a writer never complains,
never explains and never disdains.
- James A. Michener

I wanted to be a director and producer and writer,
but in the early '40's the union wouldn't let you get through the gates.
You couldn't get on a crew, or even learn to direct.
- Larry Buchanan

Those who prefer their English sloppy have only themselves
to thank if the advertisement writer uses his mastery
of the vocabulary and syntax to mislead their weak minds.
- Dorothy L. Sayers

I want to be an honest man and a good writer.
- James A. Baldwin

In America, the race goes to the loud,
the solemn, the hustler.
If you think you're a great writer, you must say that you are.
- Gore Vidal

Kafka is still unrecognized.
He thought he was a comic writer.
- Leslie Fiedler

The reason a writer writes a book is to forget a book
and the reason a reader reads one is to remember it.
- Tom Wolfe

In relation to a writer, most readers believe in the Double Standard:
they may be unfaithful to him as often as they like,
but he must never, never be unfaithful to them.
- W. H. Auden

I'm a good scholar when it comes to reading but a blotting
kind of writer when you give me a pen.
- J. M. Synge

First person narrative is a very effective tool but
you have to know as a writer how to make it work.
- James McBride

The great thing about being a writer is that you are
always recreating yourself.
- Martin C. Smith

A writer's ambition should be to trade a hundred contemporary
readers for ten readers in ten years' time and for
one reader in a hundred years' time.
- Arthur Koestler

It is impossible to read for pleasure from something
to which you are both father and mother,
born in such travail that the writer despises the thing that enslaved him.
- Jim Bishop

You can't be too old to be a writer,
but you can definitely be too young!
- Joanna Trollope

The writer in western civilization has become not a voice of his tribe,
but of his individuality.
This is a very narrow-minded situation.
- Aharon Appelfeld

I never really wanted to be an actor.
And that was the beginning of it, I began to write
things down and eventually became a writer on a television show.
- Barry Levinson

I decided I would go to Chicago and try my luck as
a writer after those eight months as a fireman.
- Carl Sandburg

Although I've said a million times that I'm not a horror writer,
I do like horror.
- Dean Koontz

I just don't see myself as a travel writer.
I can't.
I don't.
- Robyn Davidson

Taking on challenging projects is the way that one
grows and extends one's range as a writer,
one's technical command, so I consider the time well-spent.
- Donna Tartt

A writer has to live with a sense of honor.
- Irwin Shaw

Men like women who write.
Even though they don't say so.
A writer is a foreign country.
- Marguerite Duras

I was a government employee in the morning and a writer in the evening.
- Naguib Mahfouz

Travel definitely affects me as a writer.
- Anthony Doerr

Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired
before the age of fifteen.
- Willa Cather

A writer is unfair to himself when he is unable to be hard on himself.
- Marianne Moore

Dickens is a very underrated writer at the moment.
Everyone in his time admired him but I think right
now he's not spoken of enough.
- Anne Rice

A writer should get as much education as possible,
but just going to school is not enough;
if it were,
all owners of doctorates would be inspired writers.
- Gwendolyn Brooks

Providing a writer isn't put off by conventions -
and some are -
attending them can be a nice break from the necessary isolation of writing.
- Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

I hold that a writer who does not passionately believe
in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor
any membership in literature.
- John Steinbeck

If I've done my work well, I vanish completely from the scene.
I believe it is invasive of the work when you know
too much about the writer.
- Mary Oliver

This is terrible, when a writer is bored by his own work,
but it was a real bomb and had reached the point where
I couldn't even stand to look at it any more.
- David Eddings

When writing isn't going well-then the bad thing about
being a writer is that I also have the freedom and
flexibility to do something badly,
and no one else can fix it for me.
- Margaret Haddix

Some literary types subscribe to the notion that being
a writer like Salinger entitles a person to remain
free of the standards that might apply to mere mortals.
- Joyce Maynard

Life can't defeat a writer who is in love with writing,
for life itself is a writer's lover until death.
- Edna Ferber

There was a writer in the '20s called Christopher Morley,
who I remember a little bit of, who had some influence on me,
but I couldn't tell you what it was.
- Jack Vance

Every writer hopes or boldly assumes that his life
is in some sense exemplary,
that the particular will turn out to be universal.
- Martin Amis

A literary critic is someone who can't write,
but who loves to show he would have been a wonderful writer if only he could!
- Brian Lumley

I might add that you change as a person as you grow older,
so you change as a writer, too.
- Terry Brooks


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