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125 Best Tenneesee Williams Quotes


Thomas Lanier “Tennessee” Williams was a Pulitzer Prize winning American writer whose career spanning fifty years included a number of essays, poems, short stories, novels, essays, and most importantly, screenplays. Director Elia Kazan, who worked closely with WIlliams on a number of plays, best described Williams style as “Everything in his life is in his plays, and everything in his plays is in his life.” A sentiment which carried through Williams’ personal and professional lives. Best known for his works like A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and The Glass Menagerie, Williams’ life and unique perspective was anything but ordinary. As one of the most vibrant, explorative authors to date, Tennessee Williams lived on the edge of sheer genius and pure madness. The line he walked was dedicated to his family, truth, and the magic of a man possessed by passion.

Born in Columbus, Mississippi on March 26, 1911, to parents Cornelius and Edwina, Williams was one of three children. Williams’ father’s workaholic tendencies, hard drinking, physical abuse, and overall general disinterest in family life caused complications for his mother, siblings, and himself. Because Williams’ father spent much of his time on the road as a traveling shoe salesman, his mother raise the children virtually alone. Archetypical in her social graces as a Southern Belle, Edwina was often neurotic and hysterical behind closed doors. The tumult led Williams to later describe his childhood as idyllic, especially when he spend time with his priest grandfather Walter Dakin at parish in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Those idyllic times, and Williams’ perspective on them, masked the unstable, tense and difficult conditions in which he was raised. Williams’ sole company as a child were his older sister Rose, born during 1909, whom he had a very close bond with, and younger brother, Dakin, born during 1919 one year after Williams’ family moved to St. Louis, Missouri. When Williams’ family moved from the country of Mississippi, he withdrew to himself and began writing to help himself adjust to the difficult transition to the urban lifestyle.

Drawing from the experiences of Williams’ family life, he used much of the terrain of his childhood and upbringing as a source of inspiration and model for his work. Many of his female characters were inspired by his sister’s schizophrenia, fragility and shyness. Much of his characters’ interactions were based on actual experiences he observed from his parents’ marriage which, as he described as “just a wrong marriage.” His father’s volatile and abusive behavior paired with his mother’s inability to find a home she wanted to stay in caused the family to frequently move around St. Louis. This instability furthered Williams’ struggles to adjust and propelled his retreat to find solace in writing. While attending the University City High School at the age of 16, Williams won a $5 prize for placing third in a writing contest hosted by Smart Set. The essay was titled “Can A Good Wife Be A Good Sport?” and led to the publishing of his short story “The Vengeance of Nitocris” for the August 1928 issue of Weird Tales magazine. At the age of 17, Williams went abroad and traveled Europe. Upon his return, Williams began studying journalism with his girlfriend at the University of Missouri during 1929. Distracted by an unrequited love and bored with his studies within the world renown School of Journalism, Williams fastidiously continued to write and enter writing contests. As a freshman, Williams submitted poetry, stories, essays, and plays like Beauty is the Word which earned him an honorable mention as a freshman. Despite thriving at his typewriter with his personal writing and contest winning, Williams studies in journalism outraged his father to the point that Williams had to withdraw from the school as a junior.

After leaving school, Williams’ father landed him a job at the International Shoe Company factory as a sales clerk. At 21, Williams fell further and further back into himself as he managed the hatred his blue collar 9-5 job evoked. Though this tremendous dislike allowed Williams to concentrate much of his leisure time on writing stories, poems, and other pieces. His mother noted that during this period “Tom [Tennessee] would go to his room with black coffee and cigarettes and I would hear the typewriter clicking away at night in the silent house. Some mornings when I walked in to wake him for work, I would find him sprawled fully dressed across the bed, too tired to remove his clothes.”

At the age of 24, William’s mental state continued to deteriorate and he had a nervous breakdown. Following the breakdown, Williams quit his job and traveled to Memphis to recuperate. Memories from this time of Williams’ life would eventually be the source of inspiration for his first successful play. During 1935, friction in his parents’ marriage due to his father’s alcoholism and abusiveness led to their separation which was never finalized in divorce. One year later, Williams returned to St. Louis and befriended a group of writing students who attended Washington University. Inspired by this group of friends, Williams chose to return to school to finish his degree at the University of Iowa, wrote his first work Spring Storm, completed a dramatic workshop through New York City’s The New School, and graduated during 1938. Following graduation, Williams worked with a small summer theater group in Memphis, Tennessee and collaborated with other writers for a production titled Cairo, Shanghai, Bombay! Williams often credited that experience as the one where “the theatre and I found each other for better and for worse. I know it’s the only thing that saved my life.”

During 1939, Williams relocated to New Orleans, dropped his first name, and assumed the name Tennessee based upon his father’s childhood home and his “desire to climb the family tree.” William’s life transformed and the experiences he had while living in New Orleans as he continued to write working for the federally funded Works Progress Administration which afforded him and other musicians, artists, and authors the ability to pursue their careers despite the Great Depression. It was during this time that Williams completed the work of his first play,“A Streetcar Named Desire.” His struggles transformed to small victories upon winning a $100 award for a Group Theater contest. An important turning point in his career, the award helped Williams connect with Audrey Wood, a literary agent who would grow to be not only his representative but also friend and mentor. With Wood’s help, Williams wrote and produced the play “Battle of Angels.” This play earned Williams recognition in the form of a $1,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation yet when the play made its debut in Boston during 1940, it was initially a flop. Williams reworked the play and revised much of the play and released “Orpheus Descending.” The film later became the film “The Fugitive Kind” with Marlon Brando and Anna Magnani starring as its lead.

During 1940, Williams began writing scripts for Metro Goldwyn Mayer upon receiving a six month contract and continued to write scripts and plays. After several years, on March 31, 1945, Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie” made its Broadway debut and earned tremendous acclaim. The play was Williams’ first huge success and earned him tremendous fame. As the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award winner for the best play of the season, “The Glass Menagerie” was highly praised and celebrated. Within just two years Williams went on to write and produce “A Streetcar Named Desire” which also debuted on Broadway. The play not only surpassed the success of “The Glass Menagerie” but also secured Williams’ status as one of the best American playwrights in history. The play earned Williams a Pulitzer Prize and Drama Critics’ Award, tremendous fortune and wealth, and led to the inspiration to produced other Broadway plays. From 1948 to 1959, Williams success continued with productions like “Camino Real,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “Sweet Bird of Youth,” “Garden District”, “Summer and Smoke,” and “Orpheus Descending.” By this time, Williams work earned him two Pulitzer Prizes, three New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards, three Donaldson Awards, and a Tony Award. Additionally, Williams’ reach went worldwide when “The Glass Menagerie” and “A Streetcar Named Desire” were produced in film. Other plays were also adapted to film including “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof,” “The Rose Tattoo,” “Orpheus Descending,” “The Night of the Iguana,” and “Summer and Smoke.”

As Williams’ reputation earned him recognition as a great playwright, the spotlight left him insecure and with a restlessness only quelled by travel. During the late 1940s and through the 1950s, Williams traveled frequently. He met Sicilian actor and World War II U.S. Navy veteran Frank Merlo in the spring of 1948 and the pair journeyed throughout Europe, New York, New Orleans, Key West, Rome, Barcelona, and London. Williams also moved frequently to cultivate inspiration, later stating this constant relocating allowed “Only some radical change can divert the downward course of my spirit, some startling new place or people to arrest the drift, the drag.” Williams’ career went downhill during the 1960s and 1970s as the quality of his writing slipped and alcohol and drug use plagued his personal life. The loss of Williams’ longtime partner, Frank Merlo, to inoperable lung cancer on September 21, 1963 caused an extreme catatonic depression noted in much of his work as his tendency to drink and use amphetamines and barbiturates consumed him. As Williams’ style and approach shifted tremendously, it was met with disdain and criticism of audiences and reviews. Williams faced several theatrical failures and the additional weight of box office failures like “Kingdom of Earth,” “In the Bar of A Tokyo Hotel,” “Small Craft Warnings,” “The Two Character Play,”The Red Devil Battery Sign,” “Vieux Carre,” and “Clothes for a Summer Hotel” led Williams to be committed by his mother and brother to several treatment facilities. Despite his declining mental state, Williams continued to write and produced his last play “A House Not Meant To Stand” during 1982. The show was produced in Chicago and earned highly positive reviews

At the age of 71, Williams passed away within the Elysee Hotel in New York, on February 25, 1983 upon choking to death on the cap to a bottle of prescription eye drops. The presence of other prescriptions drugs like barbiturates were also in the hotel room as well as his partially finished, final play, “Masks Outrageous and Austere.” Despite Williams’ request to be buried at sea like his favorite, most influential poet Hart Crane, Williams was buried at St. Louis’ Calvary Cemetery. As part of Williams’ legacy, he left behind his literary rights to The University of the South at Sewanee, Tennessee to honor his grandfather’s alumni. When Williams’ sister passed away in 1996, she left the University $7 million dollars from her portion of her brother’s estate.

During April 2012, Williams’ final play “In Masks Outrageous and Austere” made its Broadway debut after author Gore Vidal completed writing it. Under the direction of David Schwizer, the play starred Shirley Knight and received poor reviews for it’s “bizarre” themes rendered a “soggy blur” by most critics. Most attribute Williams’ drug use and severely deteriorated mental state for the depths and obscurity of his last play.

Despite the downward turn of his last days, Williams’ contribution to literature, theater, and society were as brilliant as the mind behind the typewriter. Here are the Best Tennessee Williams Quotes:

125 Great Quotes from Tennessee Williams

1. “Time is the longest distance between two places.”

2. “A prayer for the wild at heart kept in cages.”

3. “I don’t want realism. I want magic! Yes, yes, magic! I try to give that to people. I misrepresent things to them. I don’t tell the truth, I tell what ought to be the truth. And if that’s sinful, then let me be damned for it!”

4. “Time doesn’t take away from friendship, nor does separation.”

5. “Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.”

6. “There’s a time for departure even when there’s no certain place to go.”

7. “There are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ people. Some are a little better or a little worse, but all are activated more by misunderstanding than malice. A blindness to what is going on in each other’s hearts...nobody sees anybody truly but all through the flaws of their own egos. That is the way we all see...each other in life. Vanity, fear, desire, competition - all such distortions within our own egos - condition our vision of those in relation to us. Add to those distortions to our own egos the corresponding distortions in the egos of others, and you see how cloudy the glass must become through which we look at each other. That’s how it is all living relationships except when there is that rare case of two people who love intensely enough to burn through all of those layers of opacity and see each other’s naked hearts. Such cases seem purely theoretical to me...”

8. “I have found it easier to identify with the characters who verge upon hysteria, who were frightened of life, who were desperate to reach out to another person. But these seemingly fragile people are the strong people really.”

9. “What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it’s curved like a road through mountains.”

10. “When so many are lonely as seem to be lonely, it would be inexcusably selfish to be lonely alone.”

11. “Don’t you just love those long rainy afternoons in New Orleans when an hour isn’t just an hour - but a little piece of eternity dropped into your hands - and who knows what to do with it?”

12. “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”

13. “Why did I write? Because I found life unsatisfactory.”

14. “Yes, I have tricks in my pocket, I have things up my sleeve. But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion.”

15. “In memory, everything seems to happen to music.”

16. “All cruel people describe themselves as paragons of frankness.”

17. “There comes a time when you look into the mirror and you realize that what you see is all that you will ever be. And then you accept it. Or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking in mirrors.”

18. “We all live in a house on fire, no fire department to call; no way out, just the upstairs window to look out of while the fire burns the house down with us trapped, locked in it.”

19. “Make voyages. Attempt them. There’s nothing else.”

20. “Some things are not forgiveable. Deliberate cruelty is not forgivable. It is the most unforgiveable thing in my opinion, and the one thing in which I have never, ever been guilty.”

21. “You said, ‘They’re harmless dreamers and they’re loved by the people’ ‘What,’ I asked you, ‘is harmless about a dreamer, and what,’ I asked you, ‘is harmless about the love of the people? Revolution only needs good dreamers who remember their dreams.”

22. “We’re all sentenced to solitary confinement inside our own skins, for life.”

23. “The scene is memory and is therefore nonrealistic. Memory takes a lot of poetic license. It omits some details; others are exaggerated, according to the emotional value of the articles it touches, for memory is seated predominantly in the heart.”

24. “The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.”

25. “What on earth can you do on this earth but catch at whatever comes near you, with both your fingers, until your fingers are broken?”

26. “I think no more than a week after I started writing I ran into the first block. It’s hard to describe it in a way that will be understandable to anyone who is not a neurotic. I will try. All my life I have been haunted by the obsession that to desire a thing or to love a thing intensely is to place yourself in a vulnerable position, to be possible, if not a probably loser of what you want most. Let’s leave it like that. That block has always been there and always will be, and my chance of getting, or achieving anything that I long for will always be gravely reduced by the interminable existence of that block.”

27. “I think that hate is a feeling that can only exist where there is no understanding.”

28. “Every time you come in yelling that God damn “Rise and Shine!” “Rise and Shine!” I say to myself, “How lucky dead people are.”

29. ”All pretty girls are a trap, a pretty trap, and men expect them to be.”

30. “You can be young without money, but you can’t be old without it.”

31. “Life is an unanswered question, but let’s still believe in the dignity and importance of the question.”

32. “You are the only young man that I know of who ignores the fact that the future becomes the present, the present the past, and the past turns into everlasting regret if you don’t plan for it.”

33. “Success and failure are equally disastrous.”

34. “We are all civilized people, which means that we are all savages at heart but observing a few amenities of civilized behavior.”

35. “Mendacity is a system that we live in,” declares Brick. “Liquor is one way out an’ death’s the other.”

36. “What is the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof? - I wish I knew...Just staying on it, I guess as long as she can...”

37. “Why is it so damn hard for people to talk?”

38. “Then what is good? The obsessive interest in human affairs, plus a certain amount of compassion and moral conviction, that first made the experience of living something that must be translated into pigment or music or bodily movement or poetry or prose or anything that’s dynamic and expressive - that’s what’s good for you if you’re at all serious in your aims. William Saroyan wrote a great play on this theme, that purity of heart is the once success worth having. “In the time of your life - live!” That time is short and it doesn’t return again. It is slipping away while I write this and while you read it, the monosyllable of the clock is Loss, loss, loss, unless you devote your heart to its opposition.”

39. “Physical beauty is passing - a transitory possession - but beauty of the mind, richness of the spirit, tenderness of the heart - I have all these things - aren’t taken away but grow! Increase with the years!”

40. “For nowadays the world is lit by lightning! Blow out your candles, Laura - and so goodbye.”

41. “A high station in life is earned by the gallantry with which appalling experiences are survived with grace.”

42. “The cities swept about me like dead leaves, leaves that were brightly colored but torn away from the branches. I would have stopped, but I was pursued by something. It always came upon me unawares, taking me altogether by surprise. Perhaps it was a familiar bit of music. Perhaps it was only a piece of transparent glass.”

43. “The rest of my days I’m going to spend on the sea. And when I die, I’m going to die on the sea. You know what I shall die of? I shall die of eating an unwashed grape. One day out on the ocean I will die - with my hand in the hand of some nice looking ship’s doctor, a very young one with a small blond moustache and a big silver watch. “Poor lady,” they’ll say, “The quinine did her no good. That unwashed grape has transported her soul to heaven.”

44. “Q. Why don’t you write about nice people? Haven’t you ever known any nice people in your life?
A. My theory about nice people is so simple that I am embarrassed to say it.
Q. Please say it.
A. Well, I’ve never met one that I couldn’t love if I completely knew him and understood him, and in my work I have at least tried to arrive at knowledge and understanding. I don’t believe in ‘original sin.’ I don’t believe in ‘guilt.’
I don’t believe in villains or heroes - only right or wrong ways that individuals have taken, not by choice but by necessity or by certain still-uncomprehended influences in themselves, their circumstances, and their antecedents.
This is so simple I’m ashamed to say it, but I’m sure it’s true. In fact, I would bet my life on it! And that’s why I don’t understand why our propaganda machines are always trying to teach us, to persuade us, to hate and fear other people on the same little world that we live in.
Why don’t we meet these people and get to know them as I try to meet and know people in my plays?”

45. “I cannot write any sort of story unless there is at least one character in it for whom I have physical desire.”

46. “These are the intensities that one cannot live with, that he has to outgrow if he wants to survive. But who can help grieving for them? If the blood vessels could hold them, how much better to keep those early loves with us?”

47. “But there are things that happen between a man and a woman in the dark - that sort of make everything else seem - unimportant.”

48. “In all these years, you never believed I loved you. And I did. I did so much. I did love you. I even loved your hate and your hardness.”

49. “Enthusiasm is the most important thing in life.”

50. “Why is it so damn hard for people to talk?”

51. “Well, honey, a shot never does a coke any harm!”

52. “Time goes by so fast. Nothin’ can outrun it. Death commences too early - almost before you’re half-acquainted with life - you meet the other.”

53. I’m not living with you. We occupy the same cage.”

54. “Go, then! Go to the moon - you selfish dreamer!”

55. When I stop working the rest of the day is posthumous. I’m really only alive when I’m writing.”

56. “Val: Why do you go out there?
Sandra: Because dead people give such good advice.
Val: What advice do the give?
Sandra: Just one word - live!”

57. “The Venus flytrap, a devouring organism aptly named for the goddess of love.”

58. “Maggie, we’re through with lies and liars in this house. Lock the door.”

59. “I can’t stand a naked light bulb, anymore than I can a rude remark or a vulgar action.”

60. “They told me to take a streetcar named Desire and then transfer to one called Cemeteries and ride six blocks and get off at = Elysian Fields.”

61. “I saw that it was all over, put away in a box like a doll no longer cared for, the magical intimacy of our childhood together.”

62. “Q: Do you have any positive message, in your opinion?
A: Indeed I do think that I do.
Q: Such as what?
A: The crying, almost screaming, need of a great worldwide human effort to know ourselves and each other a great deal better, well enough to concede that no man has a monopoly on right or virtue any more than any man has a corner on duplicity and evil and so forth. If people, and races and nations, would start with that self-manifest truth, then I think that the world could sidestep the sort of corruption which I have involuntarily chosen as the basic, allegorical theme of my plays as a whole.”

63. “Don’t look forward to the day you stop suffering, because when it comes you’ll know you’re dead.”

64. “You know, then that the public Somebody you are when you ‘have a name’ is a fiction created with mirrors and that the only somebody worth being is the solitary and unseen you that existed from your first breath.”

65. “Oh, you can’t describe someone you’re in love with!”

66. “Attempting to find in motion what was lost in space.”

67. “Hell is yourself and the only redemption is when a person puts himself aside to feel deeply for another person.”

68. “It is only in his work that an artist can find reality and satisfaction, for the actual world is less intense than the world of his invention and consequently his life, without recourse to violent disorder, does not seem very substantial. the right condition for him is that in which his work in not only convenient but unavoidable.”

69. “Young, gifted, and destitute.”

70. “Friends are God’s way of apologizing to us for our families.”

71. “It’s interesting, isn’t it?..the chandelier...it reminds me of mushroom soup.”

72. “I’ve got the guts to die. What I want to know is, have you got the guts to live?”

73. “Symbols are nothing but the natural speech of drama.”

74. “Oh, you weak, beautiful people who give up with such grace. What you need is someone to take hold of you - gently, with love, and hand your life back to you, like something gold you let go of - and I can! I’m determined to do it - and nothing’s more determined than a cat on a tin roof - is there?”

75. “I believe the way to write a good play is to convince yourself it is easy to do - then go ahead and do it with ease. Don’t maul, don’t suffer, don’t grown till the first draft is finished. A play is a phoenix and it dies a thousand deaths. Usually at night. In the morning it springs up again from its ashes and crows like a happy rooster. It is never as bad as you think. It is never as good. It is somewhere in between, and success or failure depends on which end of your emotional gamut concerning its value it approaches more closely. But it is much more likely to be good if you think it is wonderful while you are writing the first draft. An artist must believe in himself. Your belief is contagious. Others may say he is vain, but they are affected.”

76. “Stella:
And when he comes back I cry on his lap like a baby...
[she smiles to herself]
Blanche:
I guess that is what is meant by being in love”

77. “Why, man alive, Laura! Just look about you a little. What do you see? A world full of common people! What do you see? A world full of common people! All of ‘em born and all of em’ going to die! Which of them has one-tenth of your good points! Or mine! Or anyone else’s, as far as that goes - gosh! Everybody excels in some one thing. Some in many!”

78. “Openings come quickly, sometimes, like blue space in running clouds. A complete overcast, then a blaze of light...”

79. “People go to the movies instead of moving.”

80. “It’s like a switch, clickin’ off in my head. Turns the hot light off and the cool one on, and all of a sudden there’s peace.”

81. “I don’t want realism. I want magic! Yes, yes, magic. I try to give that to people. I do misrepresent things. I don’t tell truths. I tell what ought to be truth.”

82. “The future is called ‘perhaps,’ which is the only possible thing to call the future. And the only important thing is not to allow that to scare you.”

83. “My only point, the only point that I’m making, is life has got to be allowed even after the dream of life is - all - over.”

84. “Show me a person who hasn’t known any sorrow and I’ll show you a superficial.”

85. “The human animal is a beast that dies but the fact that he’s dying don’t give him pity for others.”

86. “Nobody knew my rose of the world but me...I had too much glory. They don’t want glory like that in nobody’s heart.”

87. “I met her last summer on a moonlight boat trip.”

88. “I know all about the tyranny of women.”

89. “t here there was only hot swing music and liquor, dance halls, ban, and movies, and sex that hung in the gloom like a chandelier and flooded the world with brief, deceptive rainbows.”

90. “Of course you always had that detached quality as if you were playing a game without much concern over whether you won or lost, and now that you’ve lost the game, not lost but just quit playing, you have that rare sort of charm that usually only happens in very old or hopelessly sick people, the charm of the defeated.”

91. “Being disappointed is one thing and being discouraged is something else. I am disappointed but I am not discouraged.”

92. “Blanche:
No, I have the misfortune of being an English instructor. I attempt to instill a bunch of bobby-soxers and drugstore Romeos with a reverence for Hawthorne and Whitman and Poe.”

93. “I have been corrupted as much as anyone else by the vast number of menial services which our society has grown to expect and depend on. We should do for ourselves or let the machines do for us, the glorious technology that is supposed to be the new light of the world. We are like a man who has bought a great amount of equipment for a camping trip, who has the canoe and the tent and the fishing lines and the axe and the guns, the mackinaw and the blankets, but who now, when all the preparations and the provisions are piled expertly together, is suddenly too timid to set out on the journey but remains where he was yesterday and the day before and the day before that, looking suspiciously through the white lace curtains at the clear sky he distrusts. Our great technology is a God-given chance for adventure and for progress which we are afraid to attempt. Our ideas and our ideals remain exactly what they were and where they were three centuries ago. No. I beg your pardon. It is no longer safe for a man to even declare them!”

94. “There is only one true aristocracy...and that is the aristocracy of passionate souls!”

95. “If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.”

96. “And it was about then, about that time, that I began to find life unsatisfactory as an explanation of itself and was forced to adopt the method of the artist of not explaining but putting the blocks together in some other way that seems more significant to him. Which is a rather fancy way of saying I started writing.”

97. “How long does it have to go on? This punishment? Haven’t I done time enough, haven’t I served my term? Can’t I apply for a-pardon?”

98. “If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.”

99. “For there was a conspiracy of dullness in the world, a universal plan to shut out the resurgences of spirit which might interfere with clockwork. Better to keep your elevation unseen until it is higher than strangers’ hands can reach to pull you down to their level.”

100. “...Don’t ever be so afraid of being lonely that you forget to be careful. Don’t forget that you will find it sometimes but other times you won’t be so lucky, and those are the times when you have got to be patient, since patience is what you must have when you don’t have luck.”

101. “The name of a person you love is more than language.”

102. “I don’t mean what other people mean when they speak of a home, because I don’t regard a home as a...well, as a place, a building, a house...of wood, bricks, and stone. I think of a home as being a thing that two people have between them in which each can...well, nest.”

103. “Life is all memory, except for the one present moment that goes by you so quickly you hardly catch it going.”

104. “You see, baby, after a glass or two of wine I’m inclined to extravagance.”

105. “Living with someone you love can be lonelier than living entirely alone, if the one that you love doesn’t love you.”

106. “Take by surprise and the world gives up resistance.”

107.. “I don’t believe anyone ever suspects how completely unsure I am of my work and myself and what tortures of self-doubting the doubt of others has always given me.”

108. “When things don’t change, their sameness becomes an accretion. That is why all society puts on flesh. Succumbs to the cubicles and begins to fill them.”

109. “In human character, simplicity doesn’t exist except among simpletons.”

110. “I believe that the silence of God, the absolute speechlessness of Him is a long, long, and awful thing that the whole world is lost because of.”

111. “The role of benefactor is worse than thankless, it’s the role of a victim, Doctor, a sacrificial victim, yes, they want your blood, Doctor, they want your blood on the alter steps of their outraged, outrageous egos!”

112. “You’re simple, straightforward and honest, a little bit on the primitive side, I should think. To interest you a woman would have to... - To lay her cards out on the table.”

113. “The great and only possible dignity of man lies in his power deliberately to choose certain moral values by which to live as steadfastly as if he, too, like a character in a play, were immured against the corrupting rush of time. Snatching the eternal out of the desperately fleeting is the great magic trick of human existence. As far as we know, as far as there exists any kind of empiric evidence, there is no way to beat the beat the game of being against non-being, in which non-being is the predestined victor on realistic levels.”

114. “I’m a poet. And then I put the poetry in the drama. I put it in short stories, and I put it in the plays. Poetry’s poetry. It doesn’t have to be called a poem, you know.”

115. “One does not escape that easily from the seduction of an effete way of life. You cannot arbitrarily say to yourself, I will now continue my life as it was before this thing. Success, happened to me. But once you fully apprehend the vacuity of a life without struggle you are equipped with the basic means of salvation. Once you know this is true, that the heart of man, his body and his brain, are forged in a white-hot furnace for the purpose of conflict (the struggle of creation) and that with the conflict removed, man is a sword cutting daisies, that not privation but luxury is the wolf at the door and that the fangs of this wolf are all little vanities and conceits and laxities that Success is heir to - why, then with this knowledge you are at least in a position to know where danger lies.”

116. “Did you suppose that fornication was the straight line upwards that I’d been trying to find?”

117. “Don’t you understand? I was PROCURING for him.”

118. “Distant singing is heard. Ghostly voices become audible: fragments of lectures remembered, the finely distilled wisdom and passion of seers and poets with which the modern young mind is tempered for the world that blows it to pieces.”

119. “A prayer for the wild at heart kept in cages.”

120. “Since that day, when people have spoken to me of ‘genus,’ I have felt the inside pocket to make sure my wallet’s still there.”

121. “Somebody said once or wrote, once: ‘We’re all of us children in a vast kindergarten trying to spell God’s name with the wrong alphabet blocks.”

122. “No, truth is something desperate, an’ she’s got it. Believe me, it’s something desperate, an’ she’s got it.”

123. “Caged birds accept each other, but flight is what they long for.”

124. “How beautiful it is and how easily it can be broken.”

125. “Kill all my demons, and my angels might die too.”

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