Photo of Joan Didion

Joan Didion // "See enough and write it down, I tell myself. And then some morning, when the world seems drained of wonder, some day when I’m going through the motions of doing what I am supposed to do… On that bankrupt morning, I will simply open my notebook and there it will all be, a forgotten account with accumulated interest. Paid passage back to the world out there. It all comes back. Remember what it is to be me."

Photo of James Baldwin

James Baldwin // "The church was packed, of course, incredibly so. Far in the front, I saw Harry Belafonte sitting next to Coretta King… In the pew directly before me sat Marlon Brando, Sammy Davis, Eartha Kitt…and Sidney Poitier, in the same pew, or nearby… The atmosphere was black, with a tension indescribable…as though something, perhaps the heavens, perhaps the earth, might crack. Everyone sat very still. The actual service sort of washed over me, in waves. It wasn’t that it seemed unreal; it was the most real church service I’ve ever sat through in my life, or ever hope to sit through; but I have a childhood hangover thing about not weeping in public, and I was concentrating on holding myself together. I did not want to weep for Martin, tears seemed futile. But I may also have been afraid, and I could not have been the only one, that if I began to weep I would not be able to stop. There was more than enough to weep for, if one was to weep…so many of us, cut down, so soon. Medgar, Malcolm, Martin: and their widows, and their children… I had not been aware of the people when I had been pressing past them to get to the church. But, now, as we came out, and I looked up the road, I saw them. They were all along the road, on either side, they were on all the roofs, on either side. Every inch of ground, as far as the eye could see, was black with black people, and they stood in silence. It was the silence that undid me. I started to cry, and I stumbled, and Sammy grabbed my arm… I don’t think that any black person can speak of Malcolm and Martin without wishing that they were here. It is not possible for me to speak of them without a sense of loss and grief and rage; and with the sense, furthermore, of having been forced to undergo an unforgivable indignity, both personal and vast. Our children need them, which is, indeed, the reason that they are not here: and now we, the blacks, must make certain that our children never forget them. For the American republic has always done everything in its power to destroy our children’s heroes, with the clear (and sometimes clearly stated) intention of destroying our children’s hope."

Photo of Andrei Tarkovsky

Andrei Tarkovsky // "My films are not a personal expression, but a prayer. When I make a film, it’s like a holy day. As if I were lighting a candle in front of an icon, or placing a bouquet of flowers before it. The spectator always ends up by understanding when you are sincere in what you are telling him. I don’t invent any language to appear simpler, stupider, or smarter. A lack of honesty would destroy the dialogue... When people understood I was speaking a natural language, that I wasn’t pretending, that I didn’t take them for imbeciles, that I only say what I think, then they became interested in what I was doing."

Photo of Tennessee Williams

Tennessee Williams // "There is a time for departure even when there’s no certain place to go."

Photo of Ricardo Bofill

Ricardo Bofill // "The ideal city is impossible to create, just as the ideal island is impossible to build. The ideal is forever in flux; it must always be evolving. From there, I thought, 'Since total utopia is not possible, since total change leads to disaster, we’re going to divvy up utopia by theme and ensure that every architectural exercise is the development of one of those themes.' So, I changed strategies and tried to focus on concrete subjects to conduct partial experiments. I think each of the multiple projects I’ve done constitutes a part of a total city that has not been…and can never be…built. Each of my projects is a part of a possible city. These parts are the partial realization of what is possible…but not the manifestation of an overall utopia, as such utopias are always doomed to disaster and failure. This is the strategy that has stimulated me and enabled me to preserve an ambition…but with greater humility. I’ve abandoned my former conception of things, where I wanted to conceive a whole. A totality is impossible to conceive, so you instead conceive a part. Hence…my projects are the realization of utopia’s impossibility, of partial utopias, attempts to avert their inevitable failure, but with an inner logic."

Photo of Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou // "Because of the routines we follow, we often forget that life is an ongoing adventure...and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art: to bring all our energies to each encounter, to remain flexible enough to notice and admit when what we expected to happen did not happen. We need to remember that we are created creative and can invent new scenarios as frequently as they are needed."

Photo of James Baldwin

James Baldwin // "The place in which I'll fit will not exist until I make it."

Photo of David Lynch

David Lynch // "You don't know yourself by talking to yourself or looking in the mirror. You know yourself by diving in and experiencing the self."

Photo of Björk

Björk // "I realized I could have an easy life...just have a glass of Cognac and good books and two jobs and do my songs in the evening, but I would be such a consumer, taking it all in and not giving anything back. I thought: Ok...if I don’t go on a mission now and make some sacrifices, as these people did, I will never forgive myself."

Photo of Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski // "Those faces you see every day on the streets were not created entirely without hope: be kind to them."

Photo of David Bowie

David Bowie // "Something that I’ve had a real push-pull relationship all my life is the idea of being trapped and pinned down and categorized. I always felt it would be like prison to me…if I got to, 'Oh, he’s that.' It would sort of rip my guts out as a writer…because my writing is based on the idea of transience. My writing is a very clear understanding that nothing in this world is a real reality. It’s not something you can hold on to. It can be something you can enjoy briefly, tentatively for the moment that it’s there…love or a sunset or whatever…but like a sunset…it’s a transitory thing. And I didn’t want to get locked into being this one thing… Once I’ve done something and said it the way I felt it should be said, drop it and move on."

Photo of Sidney Poitier

Sidney Poitier // "While collectively you can change things, you can do that only if you firmly believe that you, as an individual can make a difference… I am not suggesting that you devote your life to being a missionary. You are entitled to your share of love and joy and leisure and pure happiness. But within the warm periphery of your life, there should be room for passionate involvement. As the Italian poet Antonio Porchia put it: 'In a full heart there is room for everything, and in an empty heart there is room for nothing.'"