I already have an excellent Journalism Quotes page, but I am elevating a few of the best from that page and gathering a selection of my best quotes from the decades I have been writing P.S. A Column On Things, which, for most of its life at both MIT and on the web, has had a quote at the head (from a graffito on a wall at MIT) Some Things Are Impossible To Know, But It Is Impossible To Know These Things.
My Favorite Quotes
"What is true? The note I wrote on a slip of paper and put in the drawer of my bedside table after we broke it off that final time: ‘Long after you are gone, my stones will hold your warmth.'"
--Rosemary Howe Camozzi, New York Times Modern Love, March 18, 2022
"It’s not that you ever get to make the one, big dramatic decision that determines your future. Unfortunately, your life is ruled by 10,000 chickenshit, spur of the moment decisions that, over a period of time, add up to make your life what it is."
--Tom Wicker, Facing the Lions
“Love is blind and sexual attraction is irrational, which is why people fall in love with sheep and steamer trunks.”
—unknown; probably NY magazine circa 1970s (Gail Sheehy?)
“Love means not being able to stop your heart trampling all over your intelligence.”--Hervé Le Tellier, The Anomaly
"It is not true that life is one damn thing after another...It's one damn thing over and over."
-Edna St. Vincent Millay
“The reality is we have a sharp partisan divide in this country. And that divide is largely over reality.”
―Dan Rather’s Facebook
“Vision is not enough; it must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs.”
- Václav Havel
Newspaper Quotes from Tom Stoppard
“I'm with you on the free press. It's the newspapers I can't stand.”
“Do you know what I mean by a relatively free press, Mr. Wagner?... I mean a free press which is edited by one of my relatives.”
“No matter how imperfect things are, if you've got a free press, everything is correctable. Without it, everything is concealable.”
“Upstick protest asswards”
Stupidity in Public Office
"Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?"
—House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-TX), to three young hurricane evacuees from New Orleans at the Astrodome in Houston, Sept. 9, 2005
――begin quote from Rodham: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld ―――
“I don’t know if this sounds pathetic or conceited,” I [Hillary] said. “But I always hoped a man would fall in love with me for my brain.”
Again, Phyllis and Nancy exchanged a glance. Phyllis’s voice was kind as she said, “Hillary, no man falls in love with a woman’s brain.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Wrong, wrong, wrong. As a proud sapiosexual, who has informed all my lovers that it was their mind I fell in love with, I can firmly state that Phyllis was incorrect.
“Love is a feeling, marriage is a contract, and relationships are work.”
-- Lori Gordon, American Marriage Therapist
“Time doesn’t heal emotional pain, You need to learn how to let go.”
―Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
“No matter how much suffering you went through, you never wanted to let go of those memories.”
“When your happiness makes me happy, even at a distance, independent of me, that means I’m the right man for you.” “I am in her hands even when I’m not in her arms.”
“Women in love look the way Botticelli painted them. Men in love look like someone bonked them with a baseball bat.”
-- Garrison Keillor
“Falling in love is an exquisite State of stupidity and to have made such a wise choice in one’s stupor is excellent good luck.”
―Garrison Keillor from Serenity at 70, Gaiety at 80: Why you should keep on getting older
Great Quotes From Clair Horner
EDITOR’S NOTE: I highly recommend Clair Horner’s books of poetry and aphorism. They are hard to find because he was self-published and sold only a few thousand of each on the sidewalk in Venice, California. But if you go to Amazon and ABE, you are likely to find a copy.
Horner died too soon, at age 57, according to the Internet. His books are easier to understand if you read about his life.
“Some things are more impossible than others.”
“Why do most people seem to think they have to choose between never and forever?
“It is obvious things are intimately tied together in a loose sort of way.”
My real life is little pieces of broken memory.”
“To pass some tests too thoroughly is to fail them. This statement is true, not logical.”
“Understanding can go only so far… then comes acceptance, for, as in the case of the child, with the kitten, too thorough an investigation can destroy of the object of interest.”
“I’d rather be unhappy for a reason than happy for none.”
“Humility is for inferior people.”
‘You can’t get out of an affair more than you put into it, AND you can’t put more into it than the other person is capable of receiving.”
“Natural marriage: soul mates with universal benefits.”
“You think, therefore I am. You think, therefore I am, you think.”
“It’s a problem to find a place to store yourself when not in use.”
“I’ll be glad when they perfect space travel, so I can go home.”
“Man has two sides: he cannot love without loving himself.
For some people not to take what you don't want is the hardest thing in the world…”
“I have always been of the opinion that unpopularity earned by doing what is right is not unpopularity at all, but glory.”
--Marcus Tullius Cicero
“Life isn't always cruel. Sometimes it's just sarcastic.”
“God is not necessary to create guilt or punish. Our fellows are enough help by themselves.”
― Camus: La Chute (the fall)
“I found myself back in the sepulchral city resenting the sight of people hurrying through the streets to filch a little money from each other, to devour their infamous cookery, to gulp their unwholesome beer, to dream their insignificant and silly dreams. They trespassed upon my thoughts. They were intruders whose knowledge was an irritating pretense, because I felt so sure they could not know the things I knew.”
―Joseph Conrad: Heart of Darkness
“The moments during which we knew them… at every meeting we are meeting a stranger.
“There is certainly no purpose in remaining in the dark except long enough to clear from the mind the illusion of having ever been in the light.
“There’s a loss of personality; Or rather, you’ve lost touch with the person You thought you were. You no longer feel quite human. You’re suddenly reduced to the status of an object — A living object, but no longer a person.”
―T.S. Eliot: The Cocktail Party
“I never dreamed of any enormity greater than I have committed. I never knew, and never shall know, a worse man than myself.
I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.
I only know myself as a human entity; the scene, so to speak, of thoughts and affections and am sensible of a certain doubleness by which I can stand as remote from myself as from another. However intense my experience, I am conscious of the presence and criticism of a part of me, which, as it were, is not a part of me but a spectator sharing no experience, but taking note of it, and that is no more I than it is you.
Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains. I would drink deeper; fish in the sky, whose bottom is pebbly with stars.”
What sort of space is that which separates a man from his fellows and makes him solitary? I have found that no exertion of the legs can bring two minds much nearer to one another.
I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.
Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion. What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate.”
“Oh God,” he confides to his diary, 'If I’m anything by a clinical name, I’m a kind of paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy.'”
“I privately say to you, old friend... please accept from me this unpretentious bouquet of early-blooming parentheses: (((()))).”
“If I wished to stay by myself, I desired to find
Solitude, I did not desire such endless waiting.
The scattering of my soul to the horizon,
These lines, these colours, this silence.
There are moments when I have the impression that I have arrived at the goal, that everything is in its proper place, ready to sing together in accord. The machine just on the point of starting. In fact, I can imagine it actually in motion, a living thing, like something astonishingly new. But there is still something else; an infinitesimal impediment, a grain of sand, which grows smaller and smaller, but never so small as to disappear entirely. I do not know what I should say or what I should do…
And I have the unbearable feeling that all the rest of my life will not be enough to dissolve this drop within my soul. And I am haunted by the thought that, if they were to burn me alive, the last part of me to survive would be this insistent moment.”
“Nobody is waiting for me anywhere. I wander fro city to city, a stranger to all others and to myself, and the cities close again behind me like the waters of a pool.”
―Sartre: Les Mouches
“The plural of anecdote is not evidence.” [Ed Note: I failed to find the original quote, but discovered a lot of people think “The plural of anecdote IS data.”]
“Movies and theater, at their best, are equally great. But at their worst, theater is much worse. This is why: When a movie is bad, it’s usually because it’s imitative. It’s cheap. It’s trying to please in obvious ways and not succeeding. When theater is bad, it represents the collective effort of people to say every single thing they’ve ever wanted to say. It doesn’t try to please an audience; it begs the audience’s indulgence. Bad theater assumes that sincerity gives it the right to bore an audience to death for 2½ hours.”
―San Francisco Chronicle film editor Mick LaSalle
[Ed response:] I have always found films to be entertainment first/about something second, and theater to be about something first/entertainment second. And, although the hundreds of movies I’ve seen in my life don’t match Mick’s output from last year, I must say I’ve seen a lot more rotten film than rotten theater. Ask me to gamble on an unknown movie versus an unknown play, and I’ll pick the play every time.
“...when our heart changes, everything changes. And that change is not only in how we see the world, but in how the world sees us.”
And, “It's the same with wounds in our heart. We need to give them our attention so that they can heal. Otherwise, the wound continues to cause us pain. Sometimes for a very long time. We are all going to get hurt. That's just the way it is. But here's the trick about the things that hurt us and cause us pain―they also serve an amazing purpose... We grow through pain.”
―James R. Doty, M.D.: Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon's Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart
“Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.”
Original French, literal translation:
Toutes choses sont dites déjà; mais comme personne n'écoute, il faut toujours recommencer.
- Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again.
- Le Traité du Narcisse (The Treatise of the Narcissus)
“Happiness, not in another place but this place...not for another hour, but this hour.”
― Walt Whitman
"Sadness is caused by intelligence, the more you understand certain things, the more you wish you didn't understand them."