Photo of James Dean

James Dean // "Only the gentle are ever really strong."

Photo of James Baldwin

James Baldwin // "I do not mean to be sentimental about suffering…but people who cannot suffer can never grow up, can never discover who they are. That man who is forced each day to snatch…his identity, out of the fire…knows, if he survives his effort, and even if he does not survive it, something about himself and human life that no school on earth…and indeed, no church…can teach. He achieves his own authority, and that is unshakable. This is because, in order to save his life, he is forced to look beneath appearances, to take nothing for granted, to hear the meaning behind the words."

Photo of Jean Cocteau

Jean Cocteau // "Listen carefully to first criticisms made of your work. Note just what it is about your work that critics don't like...then cultivate it. That's the only part of your work that's individual and worth keeping. What the public criticizes in you, cultivate. It is you."

Photo of Henry Miller

Henry Miller // "Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heartache when we read those lines written by the hand 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 profound truths."

Photo of Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver // "In creative work…creative work of all kinds…those who are the world’s working artists are not trying to help the world go around, but forward. Which is something altogether different from the ordinary. Such work does not refute the ordinary. It is, simply, something else. Its labor requires a different outlook…a different set of priorities. Certainly there is within each of us a self that is neither a child, nor a servant of the hours. It is a third self, occasional in some of us, tyrant in others. This self is out of love with the ordinary; it is out of love with time. It has a hunger for eternity… Intellectual work sometimes, spiritual work certainly, artistic work always…are forces…that must travel beyond the realm of the hour and the restraint of the habit… Its concern is the edge, and the making of a form out of the formlessness... He who does not crave that roofless place eternity should stay at home. Such a person is perfectly worthy, and useful, and even beautiful, but is not an artist. Such a person had better live with timely ambitions and finished work formed for the sparkle of the moment only… There is a notion that creative people are absentminded, reckless, heedless of social customs and obligations. It is, hopefully, true. For they are in another world altogether. It is a world where the third self is governor... The working, concentrating artist is an adult who refuses interruption from himself, who remains absorbed and energized in and by the work…who is thus responsible to the work… It is six A.M., and I am working. I am absentminded, reckless, heedless of social obligations, etc. It is as it must be… My responsibility is not to the ordinary, or the timely… My loyalty is to the inner vision, whenever and howsoever it may arrive... There is no other way work of artistic worth can be done. And the occasional success, to the striver, is worth everything. The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time."

Photo of Joan Didion

Joan Didion // "We flatter ourselves by thinking this compulsion to please others an attractive trait: a gift for imaginative empathy, evidence of our willingness to give...we play roles doomed to failure before they are begun, each defeat generating fresh despair at the necessity of divining and meeting the next demand made upon us... To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves...there lies the great singular power of self-respect."

Photo of Sinead O’Connor

Sinead O’Connor // "When I sing, it's the most solitary state… It's not about notes or scales, it's all about emotion."

Photo of Albert Camus

Albert Camus // "The realization that life is absurd cannot be an end, but only a beginning."

Photo of Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen // "You live your life as if it’s real... The evidence accumulates that you’re not running the show. You still have to make choices as if you were running the show, but you make your choices with the intuitive understanding that it’s unfolding as it must... And if you can relax in that...if you can even touch it, or if it asserts itself from time to time, then the invincible defeat is transcended."

Photo of Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan // "From now on, I want to write from inside me, and to do that I’m going to have to get back to writing like I used to when I was ten…having everything come out naturally. The way I like to write is for it to come out the way I walk or talk. Not that I even walk or talk yet like I’d like to."

Photo of Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo // "At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can."

Photo of Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee // "If you follow the classical pattern, you are understanding the routine, the are not understanding yourself."