“If you’re trying to improve your mind, stop it! There’s no improving the mind. Look to your heart and gizzard–the brain is in the heart.”

“I am against action, for continual contradiction, for affirmation also. I am neither for nor against for I hate good sense. The work of creators spring from a real necessity on the part of the author, and for himself.”

‘By being crazy is understood losing one’s reason. Reason,  but not the truth, for there are madmen who speak truths while others keep silent.”

“One does not become an artist overnight. First, you have to be crushed, to have your conflicting points of view annihilated. You have to be wiped out as a human being to become an individual. You have to be carbonized and mineralized in order to work upwards from the last common denominator of the self.”

“Every man is working out his destiny in his own way, and nobody can be of any help except by being kind, generous, and patient.”

“A great work of art, if it accomplishes anything, serves to remind us, or let us say to set us dreaming, of all that is fluid and intangible. Which is to say, the Universe.”

“Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heartache when we read those lines written by the hands of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty.”

“Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering prolific truths.”

“The world would only begin to get something of value from me the moment I stopped being a serious member of society and became–myself.”

“From the little reading I had done I had observed that the men who were most in life, who were moulding life, who were life itself, ate little, slept little, owned little or nothing. They were interested in truth and truth alone. They recognized only one kind of activity–creation.”

“The seat of the soul is where inner world and outer world touch each other. For nobody knows himself, if he is only himself and not also another one at the same time.”

“The act of sitting down to write! The mind of a writer, no longer preoccupied with observing and knowing, wanders meditatively amidst a world of forms which are set spinning by a mere brush of his wings…the act of dreaming, like a draught of fresh air in an abandoned house, situates the furniture of the mind in a new ambiance.”

“Their aim and purpose was to open up life, to make man hungry for life, exalt life,–and to refer all questions back to life. They exhorted man to realize that he had all freedom in himself, that he was not to concern himself with fate of the world (which is not his problem) but to solve his own individual problem, which is a question of liberation.”

“What could he have done with the classics, had he succeeded in swallowing them? The classics! Slowly, slowly I am coming to them–not by reading them,  but by making them.”

“I made my choice. Having made it, there is no standing still. One becomes more and more alive, or more and more dead.”

“If we want to lad a creative life, it is absolutely just that we should be responsible for our own destiny.”

“I should hate to be a French writer, or a German or Russian or American writer. It must be hell. I am a cosmological writer, and when I open my trap, I broadcast to the world at once.”

“The art of of living involves the art of creating.”

“The writer lives between the upper and lower worlds: he takes the path in order eventually to become the path himself.”

“There is no progress: there is perpetual movement. Displacement, which, which is circular, spiral, endless. Every man has his own destiny: the only imperative is to follow it, to accept it, no matter where it leads him.”

“Like the spider, I return again and again to the task, conscious that the web I am spinning is made of my own substance, that it will never fail me, never run dry.”

“To live out one’s desires, and in doing so to subtly alter the quality of desire, is, it seems to me, the great purpose of living.”

“There are no dead things in the Universe–it is only our way of thinking which makes death. When we look to find life we discover it, even in the most inanimate object.”


Read Henry Miller on Writing, by (you guessed it) Henry Miller.

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