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Quotes of the day: Willa Cather

Published Saturday, December 07, 2013 @ 6:46 AM EST
Dec 07 2013

Willa Sibert Cather (December 7, 1873 - April 24, 1947) was an American author who achieved recognition for her novels of frontier life on the Great Plains, in works such as O Pioneers!, My Ántonia, and The Song of the Lark. In 1923 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for One of Ours (1922), a novel set during World War I. Cather grew up in Nebraska and graduated from the University of Nebraska. She lived and worked in Pittsburgh for ten years, then at the age of 33 she moved to New York, where she lived for the rest of her life. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Desire is creation, is the magical element in that process. If there were an instrument by which to measure desire, one could foretell achievement.

Even in harmonious families there is this double life: the group life, which is the one we can observe in our neighbour's household, and, underneath, another- secret and passionate and intense- which is the real life that stamps the faces and gives character to the voices of our friends.

Give the people a new word and they think they have a new fact.

I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do.

It does not matter much whom we live with in this world, but it matters a great deal whom we dream of.

Love itself draws on a woman nearly all the bad luck in the world.

Men are all right for friends, but as soon as you marry them they turn into cranky old fathers, even the wild ones.

Men travel faster now, but I do not know if they go to better things.

Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen.

No one can build his security upon the nobleness of another person.

Only solitary men know the full joys of friendship. Others have their family- but to a solitary and an exile his friends are everything.

Only the stupid and the phlegmatic should teach.

People can be lovers and enemies at the same time, you know.

Pittsburgh was even more vital, more creative, more hungry for culture than New York. Pittsburgh was the birthplace of my writing.

Religion and art spring from the same root and are close kin. Economics and art are strangers.

Some memories are realities and are better than anything that can ever happen to one again.

Success is never so interesting as struggle.

The dead might as well try to speak to the living as the old to the young.

The fact that I was a girl never damaged my ambitions to be a pope or an emperor.

The great pines stand at a considerable distance from each other. Each tree grows alone, murmurs alone, thinks alone. They do not intrude upon each other.

The heart of another is a dark forest, always, no matter how close it has been to one’s own.

The stupid believe that to be truthful is easy; only the artist, the great artist, knows how difficult it is.

The world is always full of brilliant youth which fades into grey and embittered middle age: the first flowering takes everything. The great men are those who have developed slowly, or who have been able to survive the glamour of their early florescence and to go on learning from life.

There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before.

There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.

When kindness has left people, even for a few moments, we become afraid of them, as if their reason had left them.

When people ask me if it has been a hard or easy road, I always answer with the same quotation, the end is nothing, the road is all.

Where there is great love there are always miracles.

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