Photo of Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami // "What we see before us is just one tiny part of the world. We get in the habit of thinking, this is the world, but that's not true at all. The real world is a much darker and deeper place than this, and much of it is occupied by jellyfish and things."

Photo of Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac // "Don't use the phone. People are never ready to answer it. Use poetry."

Photo of Martha Graham

Martha Graham // "I think it is best to face as a challenge…getting through the next twenty-four hours as brilliantly, as truthfully, as clearly, and as kindly as you possibly can. This is how goals are met; friends are made and retained; sanity is kept…your work matures; and you are seen in the clearest, truest light. The acceptance of genius comes in the long-term, but the work that might be labeled as such is done in tiny, deliberate steps…in the next twenty-four hours."

Photo of Sophia Loren

Sophia Loren // "Isn't it wonderful to be alive? You know, you can forget all about it. Then suddenly you remember, and think of all the things you can do. Here I am. I can walk around. I can talk. I can see things and remember things. I am alive. How wonderful."

Photo of Patti Smith

Patti Smith // "I think they have the right to be concerned. Some of the stuff pawned off as freedom of expression, let alone art, is just trash, just jerking off, with no real duty attached. No seeking to elevate. No self-censorship. No conscience."

Photo of Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski // "My life has hardly been pretty...the hospitals, the jails, the jobs, the women, the drinking. Some of my critics claim that I have deliberately inflicted myself with pain. I wish that some of my critics had been along with me for the journey. It’s true that I haven't always chosen easy situations but that's a hell of a long ways from saying that I leaped into the oven and locked the door. Hangover, the electric needle, bad booze, bad women, madness in small rooms, starvation in the land of plenty, god knows how I got so ugly, I guess it just comes from being slugged and slugged again and again, and not going down, still trying to think, to feel, still trying to put the butterfly back together again…it’s written a map on my face that nobody would ever want to hang on their wall. Sometimes I’ll see myself somewhere…suddenly…say in a large mirror in a supermarket…eyes like little mean bugs…face scarred, twisted, yes, I look insane, demented, what a mess…spilled vomit of skin…yet, when I see the 'handsome' men I think, my god my god, I’m glad I’m not them."

Photo of Jean-Paul Sartre

Jean-Paul Sartre // "'Hell is other people'…is only one side of the coin. The other side, which no one seems to mention, is also 'Heaven is each other.' Hell is separateness, uncommunicability, self-centeredness, lust for power, for riches, for fame. Heaven on the other hand is very simple, and very hard: caring about your fellow beings. And that’s possible on a sustained basis only in collectivity."

Photo of David Lynch

David Lynch // "The idea is the whole thing. If you stay true to the idea, it tells you everything you need to know, really. You just keep working to make it look like that idea looked, feel like it felt, sound like it sounded, and be the way it was. And it’s weird, because when you veer off, you sort of know it. You know when you’re doing something that is not correct because it feels incorrect. It says, 'No, no; this isn’t like the idea said it was.' And when you’re getting into it the correct way, it feels correct. It’s an intuition: You feel-think your way through. You start one place, and as you go, it gets more and more finely tuned. But all along it’s the idea talking. At some point, it feels correct to you. And you hope that it feels somewhat correct to others."

Photo of Albert Camus

Albert Camus // "The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion."

Photo of James Baldwin

James Baldwin // "Quite unpredictable things happen when the bulk of the population attains what we think of as a high cultural level... This, I think, is because the effort of a Schoenberg or a Picasso…or a William Faulkner or an Albert Camus…has nothing to do, at bottom, with physical comfort, or indeed with comfort of any other kind. But the aim of the people who rise to this high cultural precisely comfort for the body and the mind. The artistic objects by which they are surrounded cannot possibly fulfill their original function of disturbing the peace...which is still the only method by which the mind can be improved...they bear witness instead to the attainment of a certain level of economic stability and a certain thin measure of sophistication. But art and ideas come out of the passion and torment of experience: it is impossible to have a real relationship to the first if one’s aim is to be protected from the second."

Photo of Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy // "People usually think that progress consists in the increase of knowledge, in the improvement of life, but that isn't so. Progress consists only in the greater clarification of answers to the basic questions of life. The truth is always accessible to a man...because a man's soul is a divine spark, the truth itself. It's only a matter of removing from this divine spark, everything that obscures it. Progress consists, not in the increase of truth, but in freeing it from its wrappings. The truth is obtained like gold, not by letting it grow bigger, but by washing off from it everything that isn't gold."

Photo of Jonas Mekas

Jonas Mekas // "What I do, I take a stand for beauty! All those who lived before me, all the poets, troubadours, all the scientists, all the saints…they did everything so that humanity would become more subtle and more beautiful. So I can not betray them. I try to continue their work. I am with them. I am with you who lived before me. I did everything so that humanity would become more beautiful."