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Quotes of the day

Published Wednesday, July 11, 2012 @ 6:03 AM EDT
Jul 11 2012

Quotes of the day- E.B. White:
E.B. White (July 11, 1899-October 1, 1985) was one of the most influential modern American essayists, largely through his work for the New Yorker magazine. He also wrote two children's classics (Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little) and revised William S. Strunk's The Elements of Style, widely used in college English courses. (Click for full article.)

A man who publishes his letters becomes a nudist- nothing shields him from the world's gaze except his bare skin. A writer, writing away, can always fix himself up to make himself more presentable, but a man who has written a letter is stuck with it for all time.

A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word to paper.

All dwellers in cities must live with the stubborn fact of annihilation; in New York the fact is somewhat more concentrated because of the concentration of the city itself, and because, of all targets, New York has a certain clear priority. In the mind of whatever perverted dreamer might loose the lightning, New York must hold a steady, irresistible charm.
(From Here is New York, 1949)

Americans are willing to go to enormous trouble and expense defending their principles with arms, very little trouble and expense advocating them with words.

An editor is a person who knows more about writing than writers do but who has escaped the terrible desire to write.

As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the one thing left to us in a bad time.

Be obscure clearly! Be wild of tongue in a way we can understand.

Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time.

Everything in life is somewhere else, and you get there in a car.

Genius is more often found in a cracked pot than in a whole one.

His words leap across rivers and mountains, but his thoughts are still only six inches long.

Home was quite a place when people stayed there.

Humor can be dissected, as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure scientific mind.

Humor plays close to the big, hot fire which is Truth.

I am a member of a party of one, and I live in an age of fear.

I am pessimistic about the human race because it is too ingenious for its own good. Our approach to nature is to beat it into submission. We would stand a better chance of survival if we accommodated ourselves to this planet and viewed it appreciatively instead of skeptically and dictatorially.

I can only assume that your editorial writer tripped over the First Amendment and thought it was the office cat.

I don't know which is more discouraging, literature or chickens.

I have occasionally had the exquisite thrill of putting my finger on a little capsule of truth, and heard it give the faint squeak of mortality under my pressure.

I have yet to see a piece of writing, political or non-political, that does not have a slant. All writing slants the way a writer leans, and no man is born perpendicular.

I remember what it is like to be in love before any of love’s complexities or realities or disturbances has entered in, to dilute its splendor and challenge its perfection.

I see nothing in space as promising as the view from a Ferris wheel.

I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.

I would really rather feel bad in Maine than feel good anywhere else.

If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world, and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.

In a free country it is the duty of writers to pay no attention to duty.

In every queen there's a touch of floozy.

It is easier for a man to be loyal to his club than to his planet; the bylaws are shorter, and he is personally acquainted with the other members.

Life is like writing with a pen. You can cross out your past but you can't erase it.

Life's meaning has always eluded me and I guess it always will. But I love it just the same.

Loneliness is a strange gift.

Luck is not something you can mention in the presence of self-made men.

Necessity first mothered invention. Now invention has little ones of her own, and they look just like grandma.

No man is born perpendicular, although many men are born upright.

No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky.

Old age is a special problem for me because I've never been able to shed the mental image I have of myself- a lad of about 19.

One of the most time-consuming things is to have an enemy.

People are, if anything, more touchy about being thought silly than they are about being thought unjust.

Semi-colons only prove that the author has been to college.

Television hangs on the questionable theory that whatever happens anywhere should be sensed everywhere. If everyone is going to be able to see everything, in the long run all sights may lose whatever rarity value they once possessed, and it may well turn out that people, being able to see and hear practically everything, will be specially interested in almost nothing.

The bonus is really one of the great give-aways in business enterprise. It is the annual salve applied to the conscience of the rich and the wounds of the poor.

The first day of spring was once the time for taking the young virgins into the fields, there in dalliance to set an example in fertility for Nature to follow. Now we just set the clock an hour ahead and change the oil in the crankcase.

The future, wave or no wave, seems to me no unified dream but a mince pie, long in the baking, never quite done.

The time not to become a father is eighteen years before a war.

The trouble with the profit system has always been that it was highly unprofitable to most people.

To achieve style, begin by affecting none.

We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry.

Whatever else an American believes or disbelieves about himself, he is absolutely sure he has a sense of humor.

When an American family becomes separated from its toothbrushes and combs and pajamas for a few hours it considers that it has had quite an adventure.

When I get sick of what men do, I have only to walk a few steps in another direction to see what spiders do. Or what the weather does. This sustains me very well indeed.

When you say something, make sure you have said it. The chances of your having said it are only fair.

Writing is both mask and unveiling.

Categories: E.B. White, Quotes of the day

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