Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.

— August Wilson

The most successful August Wilson quotes that will add value to your life

You are responsible for the world that you live in.

It is not government's responsibility. It is not your school's or your social club's or your church's or your neighbor's or your fellow citizen's. It is yours, utterly and singularly yours.


Have a belief in yourself that is bigger than anyone's disbelief.


All you need in the world is love and laughter.

That's all anybody needs. To have love in one hand and laughter in the other.


When I first started writing plays I couldn't write good dialogue because I didn't respect how black people talked. I thought that in order to make art out of their dialogue I had to change it, make it into something different. Once I learned to value and respect my characters, I could really hear them. I let them start talking.


I think all in all, one thing a lot of plays seem to be saying is that we need to, as black Americans, to make a connection with our past in order to determine the kind of future we're going to have. In other words, we simply need to know who we are in relation to our historical presence in America.


I'm trying to take culture and put it onstage, demonstrate it is capable of sustaining you. There is no idea that can't be contained by life: Asian life, European life, certainly black life. My plays are about love, honor, duty, betrayal - things humans have written about since the beginning of time.


Your demons will cause your angels to sing. Use the pain as fuel.


The simpler you say it, the more eloquent it is.


Blues is the bedrock of everything I do.

All the characters in my plays, their ideas and their attitudes, the stance that they adopt in the world, are all ideas and attitudes that are expressed in the blues.


Use the pain as fuel, as a reminder of your strength.


I know some things when I start. I know, let's say, that the play is going to be a 1970s or a 1930s play, and it's going to be about a piano, but that's it. I slowly discover who the characters are as I go along.


What do you do with your legacy, and how do you best put it to use?


About August Wilson

Quotes 65 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Playwright
Birthday October 16

Blacks have traditionally had to operate in a situation where whites have set themselves up as the custodians of the black experience.


I am not a historian. I happen to think that the content of my mother's life - her myths, her superstitions, her prayers, the contents of her pantry, the smell of her kitchen, the song that escaped from her sometimes parched lips, her thoughtful repose and pregnant laughter - are all worthy of art.


What comes forth from you as an artist cannot be controlled.

But you have responsibilities as a global citizen. Your history dictates your duty. And by writing about black people, you are not limiting yourself. The experiences of African-Americans are as wide open as God's closet.


My greatest influence has been the blues.

And that's a literary influence, because I think the blues is the best literature that we as black Americans have.


I'm a black American playwright. I couldn't be anything else. I make my art out of black American culture; they're all cut out of the same cloth. That's who I am; that's who I write about.


I work as an artist, and I think the audience of one, which is the self, and I have to satisfy myself as an artist. So I always say that I write for the same people that Picasso painted for. I think he painted for himself.


I think that's the core of black aesthetics: the ability to improvise.

That is what has enabled our [black people's] survival.


I think that as a playwright, if I detail that environment, then I'm taking away something from them [designers]. I'm taking away their creativity and their ability to have input themselves, not just to follow what the playwright has written. So I do a minimum set description and let the designers create within that.


There are always and only two trains running.

There is life and there is death. Each of us rides them both. To live life with dignity, to celebrate and accept responsibility for your presence in the world is all that can be asked of anyone.


I don't go by what the law say. The law's liable to say anything. I go by if it's right or not. It don't matter what the law say. I take and look at it for myself.


I first got involved in theater in 1968, at the height of a social tumult. I was a poet.


There's no idea in the world that is not contained by black life.

I could write forever about the black experience in America.


Jazz in itself is not struggling. That is, the music itself is not struggling... It's the attitude that's in trouble. My plays insist that we should not forget or toss away our history.


I been with strangers all day and they treated me like family.

I come in here to family and you treat me like a stranger.


I write for myself and my goal is bringing that world and that experience of black Americans to life on the stage and giving it a space there.


You are responsible for the world that you live in.


Land [is] the only thing God ain't making no more of.


I dont write particularly to effect social change.

I believe writing can do that, but thats not why I write.


I cried a river of tears but he was too heavy to float on them.

So I dragged him with me these years across an ocean.


Freedom is heavy. You got to put your shoulder to freedom. Put your shoulder to it and hope your back holds up.


The blues are important primarily because they contain the cultural expression and the cultural response to blacks in America and to the situation that they find themselves in. And contained in the blues is a philosophical system at work. And as part of the oral tradition, this is a way of passing along information.


Style ain't nothing but keeping the same idea from beginning to end. Everybody got it.


All you need is the blues. To me, the blues is the book, it's the bible, it's everything.


The director works as an interpretive artist, but he's still an artist, so you also have to give him room to create and to put his vision of the play or his translation or interpretation of the material on the stage.


I ain't never found no place for me to fit.

Seem like all I do is start over. It ain't nothing to find no starting place in the world. You just start from where you find yourself.


Between speeches and awards, you can find something to do every other week.

It's hard to write. Your focus gets splintered. Once you put one thing in your calendar, that month is gone.


My influences have been what I call my four Bs - the primary one being the blues, then Borges, Baraka, and Bearden.


So somehow, things that seem extraneous to the play in reality are not.

The scene lasts 37 minutes, and you only need 12 minutes of that for the plot. But if you pull the rest of it out, it's not my play.


If you want to support a writer, produce the first five plays he writes.


I believe in the American theatre. I believe in its power to inform about the human condition, its power to heal ... its power to uncover the truths we wrestle from uncertain and sometimes unyielding realities.


The impulse to write the poem, that impulse is a great dramatic impulse.

But hell, anybody could write a play. I do know this: all writers are not dramatists. You may be a great writer, but that doesn't necessarily mean you're a dramatist. Very few people have done both.


Life don't owe you nothing.


The details of our struggle to survive and prosper, in what has been a difficult and sometimes bitter relationship with a system of laws and practices that deny us access to the tools necessary for productive and industrious life, are available to any serious student of history or sociology.


. . . what happened, of course, was that I was writing a play set in the 1940's that was supposed to be somehow representative of black American life, and I didn't have any women in there. And I knew that wasn't going to work.


You got to take the crookeds with the straights. That's what Papa used to say.


I don't write for a particular audience.


All of art is a search for ways of being, of living life more fully.

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