Of course all life is a process of breaking down, but the blows that do the dramatic side of the work – the big sudden blows that come, or seem to come, from outside – the ones you remember and blame things on and, in moments of weakness, tell your friends about, don’t show their effect all at once. There is another sort of blow that comes from within – that you don’t feel until it’s too late to do anything about it, until you realize with finality that in some regard you will never be as good a man again. The first sort of breakage seems to happen quick – the second kind happens almost without your knowing it but is realized suddenly indeed. Before I go on with this short history, let me make a general observation – the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.
—F. Scott Fitzgerald (American Novelist)
All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.
—Mark Twain (American Humorist)
If you call one thing good, you must call its opposite bad. If you think it wonderful to make a big profit in your business, you will also think it terrible if you incur a large loss. The idea is to live above the opposites.
What a luxury it is to spend time with old friends … talking, as old friends should talk, about nothing, about everything.
—Lillian Hellman (American Playwright)
I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.
—Kurt Vonnegut (American Novelist)
If everyone were clothed with integrity, if every heart were just, frank, kindly, the other virtues would be well-nigh useless, since their chief purpose is to make us bear with patience the injustice of our fellows.
—Moliere (French Playwright)
The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.
Things that were hard to bear are sweet to remember.
—Seneca the Younger (Lucius Annaeus Seneca) (Roman Philosopher)
Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart.
—Henry Clay (American Politician)