Sex is like money; only too much is enough.
Art is like baby shoes. When you coat them with gold, they can no longer be worn.
Most of American life consists of driving somewhere and then returning home, wondering why the hell you went.
A healthy male adult bore consumes each year one and a half times his own weight in other people's patience.
Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.
We do survive every moment, after all, except the last one.
Each morning my characters greet me with misty faces willing, though chilled, to muster for another day's progress through the dazzling quicksand the marsh of blank paper.
Perfectionism is the enemy of creation, as extreme self-solitude is the enemy of well-being.
How do you write women so well? I think of a man and I take away reason and accountability.
Natural beauty is essentially temporary and sad; hence the impression of obscene mockery which artificial flowers give us.
Our brains are no longer conditioned for reverence and awe. We cannot imagine a Second Coming that would not be cut down to size by the televised evening news, or a Last Judgment not subject to pages of holier-than-thou second-guessing in The New York Review of Books.
I would especially like to recourt the Muse of poetry, who ran off with the mailman four years ago, and drops me only a scribbled postcard from time to time.
I think ''taste'' is a social concept and not an artistic one. I'm willing to show good taste, if I can, in somebody else's living room, but our reading life is too short for a writer to be in any way polite. Since his words enter into another's brain in silence and intimacy, he should be as honest and explicit as we are with ourselves.
Life is like an overlong drama through which we sit being nagged by the vague memories of having read the reviews.
The creative writer uses his life as well as being its victim; he can control, in his work, the self-presentation that in actuality is at the mercy of a thousand accidents.
To say that war is madness is like saying that sex is madness: true enough, from the standpoint of a stateless eunuch, but merely a provocative epigram for those who must make their arrangements in the world as given.
What more fiendish proof of cosmic irresponsibility than a Nature which, having invented sex as a way to mix genes, then permits to arise, amid all its perfumed and hypnotic inducements to mate, a tireless tribe of spirochetes and viruses that torture and kill us for following orders?
Celebrity is a mask that eats into the face. As soon as one is aware of being somebody, to be watched and listened to with extra interest, input ceases, and the performer goes blind and deaf in his over animation. One can either see or be seen.
"Upon shaving off one's beard." The scissors cut the long-grown hair; the razor scrapes the remnant fuzz. Small-jawed, weak-chinned, bug-eyed, I stare at the forgotten boy I was.
I would rather have as my patron a host of anonymous citizens digging into their own pockets for the price of a book or a magazine than a small body of enlightened and responsible men administering public funds. I would rather chance my personal vision of truth striking home here and there in the chaos of publication that exists than attempt to filter it through a few sets of official, honorably public-spirited scruples.
It was one of history's great love stories, the mutually profitable romance which Hollywood and bohunk America conducted almost in the dark, a tapping of fervent messages through the wall of the San Gabriel Range.
He had a sensation of anxiety and shame, a sensitivity acute beyond usefulness, as if the nervous system, flayed of its old hide of social usage, must record every touch of pain.
Hemingway described literary New York as a bottle full of tapeworms trying to feed on each other.
The artist brings something into the world that didn't exist before and he does it without destroying something else.
Now that I am sixty, I see why the idea of elder wisdom has passed from currency.