Category Archives: Quotations and attributions

Here a just some of the more interesting, funny, thought-provoking, or wise words I have stumbled across over the years. Some of them I have read in books or heard in person, a good many of them are words I have not found anywhere else on the interwebz.

Quotations and attributions Uncategorized

Literary quotations

“If you can make your failure tragical through courage, it will not differ from success.”

Robert Louis Stevenson

“The quality which makes man want to write and be read is essentially a desire for self-exposure and masochism. Like one of those guys who has a compulsion to take his thing out and show it on the street.”

-James Jones

“It is not enough to live together in peace with one race on its knees.”

-Daniel Wilson

“If the storm moves neither to the left nor the right, you are in its path.”

Frank Herbert

“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”

Aldus Huxley

“They are dull because they have been made dull and they are vicious because they are afraid of losing what they have.”

-Charles Bukowski




Quotations and attributions

Quotes- on language

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.
– Nelson Mandela

When you go to a country, you must learn how to say two things: how to ask for food, and to tell a woman that you love her. Of these the second is more important, for if you tell a woman you love her she will certainly feed you.
– Louis L’Amour

I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my dog.
– Emperor Charles V

Not only does the English Language borrow words from other languages, it sometimes chases them down dark alleys, hits them over the head, and goes through their pockets.
– Eddy Peters

It’s no coincidence that in no known language does the phrase “As pretty as an airport” appear.
– Douglas Adams

Language is the means of getting an idea from my brain into yours without surgery.
– Mark Amidon

By words the mind is winged.
– Aristophanes

Translators are like ninjas. If you notice them, they’re no good.
– Etgar Keret (אֶתְגָּר קֶרֶת)

The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words.

-Philip K. Dick

Quotations and attributions

Dylan I

“…I’ll know my song well before I start singing…”

Now, I know there are more than one Dylan. Not the Brit, Thomas, but the American, Zimmerman. You must admit, if you’ve ever listened to him, he has far more quotable phrases than should be allowed one human being.

My wife has told me I should have been writing sooner but I always think of the above Dylan line as a response to such suggestions. Don’t get me wrong, I write. I actually write often, just not fiction. I have spent hours crafting fine, multi-paragraphed, liturgies on topics of politics, religion, sociology, and death. A little about sex. Not a favorite of mine for public consumption though, that last. To paraphrase Yeats, any conversation not about sex or death is inconsequential.

But for the writing, I practice. I think about stories and how they would work out. I lay them out in my head. I have spent many years trying to find my voice, as they say. There are so many things that come along with the writing that I thought it best to bone up on these other skills before setting out.

What’s amazing to me is that there are people such as Bob Dylan who know what they want to do and know how to work their craft from such a young age. I once told someone that Bob Dylan is more like Bob Dylan than I am like myself. What I mean is that there are those who hear their own voice so clearly and follow it so completely that they become what they were truly meant to be. Bob Dylan is a shining example of that person in my eyes.

Here are some of what I consider to be his gems:

“and the national bank, for a profit, sells road maps for the soul to the old folks home and the college.”

“The commander-in-chief says with a sigh, ‘death to all those who would whimper and cry’ and dropping a barbell, points to the sky saying, ‘the sun’s not yellow it’s chicken.”

“If I had the stars from the darkest night and the diamonds from the deepest ocean, I’d trade them all for your sweet kiss ‘for that’s all I’m wishing to be owning.”

“Grandpa died last week and now he’s buried in the rocks. Everybody still talks about how badly they are shocked. But me, I expected it to happen. I knew he’d lost control when he built a fire on main street and shot it full of holes.”

“God said to Abraham, ‘Kill me a son’. Abe said, ‘man, you must be puttin’ me on.’ God said, ‘no’. Abe said, ‘what?’ God said, ‘you can do what you want Abe but the next time you see me coming, you’d better run.’ Abe said, ‘where d’you want this killin’ done?’ God said, ‘out on highway 61’.”

“If you’re looking to get silly, man you’d better go back to where you came from because the cops don’t need you and man they expect the same.”

“They’re selling postcards of the hanging. They’re painting their passports brown. The beauty parlor’s filled with sailors: the circus is in town.”

“now I didn’t mean to be nosy but I went into a bank to get some bail for Arab and all the boys back in the tank. They asked me for some collateral and I pulled down my pants”

“But I mean no harm, nor put fault, in anyone who lives in a vault but it’s alright, Ma, if I can’t please him.”