“The aphorism is a brief waste of time. The poem is a complete waste of time. The novel is a monumental waste of time.”

– Don Paterson

“Most of life is so dull that there is nothing to be said about it.”

– E.M. Forster

“Joy’s a subtle elf: I think man’s happiest when he forgets himself.”

– Thomas Middleton

“No iron spike can pierce a human heart as icily as a period in the right place.”

– Isaac Babel

“There is no rest, really there is no rest, there is just a joyous torment all your life of doing the wrong thing.”

– Derek Walcott

There are no such things as incontrovertible truths, and if there are, they’re boring.”

– Theodore Fontane

“I read poetry to save time.”

– Marilyn Monroe

“I have nothing to say and I am saying it.”

– John Cage

“Writing a novel is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay.”

– Flannery O’Connor

“God keep us all from the madness of popularity. I never knew one whom it did not injure. I have known strong men whom it killed.”

– Thomas Carlyle

“I would consent to have a limb amputated to recover my spirits.”

– Dr. Samuel Johnson

“Only fables present the world as it should be and as if it had meaning.”

– Kurt Gödel

“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”

– Hamlet

“My heart is a lonely hunter that hunts on a lonely hill.”

– Fiona Macleod

“History is after all only a pack of tricks we play on the dead.”

– Voltaire

“Being hysterical is like having an orgasm. It’s good for you.”

– Bette Davis

“Orgasm is good for you: it sharpens your thoughts, it widens your horizons, it helps your brain, makes it vivid and brilliant.”

– Benito Mussolini

“Beautiful as the chance meeting on a dissecting table of a sewing machine and an umbrella.”

– Isodore Ducasse

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face in marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

“Evil is simply the result of making decisions, whereas good has no logic to it.”

– Imre Kertész

“The artistic life is a long, lovely suicide.”

– Oscar Wilde

“Always remember this. If you have a success, you have it for the wrong reasons. If you become popular it is always because of the worst aspects of your work. They always praise you for the worst aspects. It never fails.”

– Ernest Hemingway

“If there is an alarming object in this world it is a writer delighted with something he has just written. There is no worse sign.”

– William Maxwell

“It takes a lot of time to be a genius, you have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing.”

– Gertrude Stein

“I never write more than half an hour a day but to be sure all day and every day you are waiting around to write that half hour a day.”

– Gertrude Stein

“We have art so we shall not die of reality.”

– Frederich Nietzche

“I need sex for a clear complexion, but I’d rather do it for love.”

– Joan Crawford

“All writing that isn’t autobiographical is plagiarism.”

– Pedro Almodovar

“No artist needs criticism, he only needs appreciation. If he needs criticism he is no artist.”

– Gertrude Stein

“What’s all this business about being a writer? It’s just putting one word after another.”

– Irving Thalberg

“A novel is a prose narrative of some length that has something wrong with it.”

– Randall Jarrell

“The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”

– Audrey Lourde

“Time is what prevents everything from happening at once.”

– John A. Wheeler

“The vote means nothing to women. We should be armed.”

– Edna O’Brien

“The literary imagination is a woman who can pause for ten minutes outside the door to a barracks, and then write a war novel.”

– Henry James

“Be humble for you are made of dung. Be noble for you are made of stars.”

– Serbian Proverb

“If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.”

– William Blake

“The artist is a detective of life. Who studies people, who observes the world to discover, to sniff out guilt. The guilt of pleasure, the guilt of loneliness. The artist’s life, without a doubt, a vicarious life. A life that trembles with anticipation for the next idea.”

– Kira Obolensky

“There is a splinter of ice in the heart of a writer.”

– Graham Greene

“Action is character.”

– F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure only death can stop it.”

– Ernest Hemingway

“Writing is not like painting where you add. It is not what you put on the canvas that the reader sees. Writing is more like a sculpture where you remove, you eliminate to make the work visible. Even those pages you remove somehow remain.”

– Elie Wiesel

Film Flyers from my Film Series at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies at Columbia 2002-2006