Photo of Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski // "I spent weeks, months, years mulling about, passing my life away in tiny rooms and I was content with that... What a delicious thing it was to stretch out on a lumpy mattress in the dark on some second floor over an avenue, watching the headlights of cars work patterns across the ceiling... Rolling cigarettes in the dark, watching the red ash glow so red, it was magic even when a bit of ash would fall on your chest and burn you...shit!’d leap up laughing, then settle back down, wanting nothing, having nothing... I think I fattened my god damned soul in these rooms. All those hours of years...I suppose I was hiding, not wanting to be them, not wanting to be what my father had become...It looked like shit, it looked like waste... I hid, I hid, I hid, like a gopher, a mole, all I had was myself to feed upon and it filled me. I only became emptied when at times I had to enter the marketplace to sustain myself and I couldn’t believe those lives: men as slaves, doing monotonous and repetitive work they would never escape except by being discharged or dying but they accepted the horrible hours in order to make payment upon major necessities and minor luxuries. I preferred suicide, attempted several, failed, went back to the small rooms. And in those rooms, I blossomed again, like a flower, more like a flower on a cactus, but Christ it was marvelous, an out, a waiting, a calm place...I understood men who sat on mountain tops, who lived in caves. I understood that to have nothing was to have everything. The most valuable thing on earth was to have each hour as your own, that was all there was... To go up, fumble for your key, find it, fit it to the door, and the door opens and there is the dresser and there is the bed and there is the chair and there is the window and the dripping sink and there is the mouse sitting on the dresser, he has gotten bold, your eyes meet and his are much more beautiful than yours, and then with a lightning dart, he is gone and you are a young man in a very old world and you know it and it is absolutely strange and you sit down on the bed and take off your shoes and everything everywhere is quiet, final and perfect."

Photo of Patti Smith

Patti Smith // "We go through life. We shed our skins. We become ourselves."

Photo of Anais Nin

Anais Nin // "I could not live in any of the worlds offered to me…the world of my parents, the world of war, the world of politics. I had to create a world of my own, like a climate, a country, an atmosphere in which I could breathe, reign, and recreate myself... That, I believe, is the reason for every work of art. The artist is the only one who knows that the world is a subjective creation, that there is a choice to be made, a selection of elements. It is a materialization, an incarnation of his inner world."

Photo of Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen // "Take the word butterfly. To use this word it is not necessary to make the voice weigh less than an ounce or equip it with small dusty wings. It is not necessary to invent a sunny day or a field of daffodils. It is not necessary to be in love, or to be in love with butterflies. The word butterfly is not a real butterfly… Do not make so much of the word. Are you trying to suggest that you love butterflies more perfectly than anyone else, or really understand their nature? The word butterfly is merely data… Do not act out words. Never act out words. Never try to leave the floor when you talk about flying. Never close your eyes and jerk your head to one side when you talk about death… What is the expression which the age demands? The age demands no expression whatever… There is nothing you can show on your face that can match the horror of this time. Do not even try. You will only hold yourself up to the scorn of those who have felt things deeply… Everyone knows you are eating well and are even being paid to stand up there… This should make you very quiet. Speak the words, convey the data, step aside… You have nothing to teach them. You are not more beautiful than they are. You are not wiser… You are among the people. Then be modest… You are students of discipline. Do not act out the words. The words die when you act them out, they wither, and we are left with nothing but your ambition. Speak the words with the exact precision with which you would check out a laundry list. Do not become emotional about the lace blouse… The socks are not there to remind you of strange and distant voyages. It is just your laundry. It is just your clothes… Just wear them… Think of the words as science, not as art. They are a report... Do not work the audience for gasps and sighs. If you are worthy of gasps and sighs it will not be from your appreciation of the event but from theirs. It will be in the statistics and not the trembling of the voice or the cutting of the air with your hands. It will be in the data and the quiet organization of your presence. Avoid the flourish. Do not be afraid to be weak."

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."

Jonas Mekas // "In a meadow full of flowers you cannot walk through and breathe those smells and see all those colors and remain angry. We have to support the beauty, the poetry of life."

Photo of Mads Mikkelsen

Mads Mikkelsen // "My approach to what I do in my job…and it might even be the approach to my life…is that everything I do is the most important thing I do. Whether it’s a play or the next film. It is the most important thing. I know it’s not going to be the most important thing, and it might not be close to being the best, but I have to make it the most important thing. That means I will be ambitious with my job and not with my career. That’s a very big difference…because if I’m ambitious with my career, everything I do now is just stepping-stones leading to something…a goal I might never reach, and so everything will be disappointing. But if I make everything important, then eventually it will become a career. Big or small, we don’t know. But at least everything was important."

Photo of David Lynch

David Lynch // "No matter what the weather is, I wish for all of you blue skies and golden sunshine internally all along the way."

Photo of Albert Camus

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

Photo of River Phoenix

River Phoenix // "It’s not about a career. It’s about believing in something, it’s about prosperity. And it’s about caring and empathizing and wanting to create the best, the most true to life, the most real."

Photo of Sofia Coppola

Sofia Coppola // "I wanted to do an intimate story between…two characters and the idea that you can meet someone and spend two days with them and that can be just as important as someone you’ve known for years."

Photo of Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. // "One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of the status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. But today our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change."