Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?

— Ernest Gaines

The most jittery Ernest Gaines quotes that will activate your desire to change

The artist must be like a heart surgeon.

He must approach something with sympathy, but with a sort of coldness and work and work until he finds some kind of perfection in his work. You can't have blood splashing all over the place. Things must be done very cleanly.

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Question everything. Every stripe, every star, every word spoken. Everything.

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I write to try to find out who I am. One of my main themes is manliness. I think I'm trying to figure out what manliness really is.

19

Nietzsche said without music, life would be a mistake.

To me, without books, life would be a mistake.

14

Words mean nothing. Action is the only thing. Doing. That's the only thing.

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The Six Golden Rules of Writing: Read, read, read, and write, write, write.

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There will always be men struggling to change, and there will always be those who are controlled by the past.

8

In all my stories and novels, no one ever escapes Louisiana.

Maybe that is because my soul never left Louisiana, although my body did go to California.

7

I think I'm a very religious person. I think I believe in God as much as any man does. I don't only believe in God, I know there's God.

6

A myth is an old lie that people believe in.

White people believe that they're better than anyone else on earth - and that's a myth.

4

I still don't even know if the sheriff will let me see him.

And suppose he did; what then? What do I say to him? Do I know what a man is? Do I know how a man is supposed to die? I'm still trying to find out how a man should live. Am I supposed to tell someone how to die who has never lived?

3

I have learned as much about writing about my people by listening to blues and jazz and spirituals as I have by reading novels.

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About Ernest Gaines

Quotes 50 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Writer
Birthday October 16

When I'm sitting in the church alone, I can hear singing of the old people.

I can hear their singing and I can hear their praying, and sometimes I hum one of their songs.

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If I were to give one piece of advice, I would say to never accept anything that you hear or see at face value. As a general rule of thumb, then the more you question, the better.

1

What I miss today more than anything else - I don't go to church as much anymore - but that old-time religion, that old singing, that old praying which I love so much. That is the great strength of my being, of my writing.

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I write with as much objectivity as I can.

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Now, about that mulatto teacher and me.

There was no love there for each other. There was not even respect. We were enemies if anything. He hated me, and I knew it, and he knew I knew it. I didn't like him, but I needed him, needed him to tell me something that none of the others could or would.

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He told us that most of us would die violently, and those who did not would be brought down to the level of beasts.

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I like the sound of people's voices, and I think what a man says can very well tell what he's thinking, whether he's lying or not.

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All writers write about the past, and I try to make it come alive so you can see what happened.

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Without love for my fellow man and respect for nature, to me, life is an obscenity.

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We looked at each other, and I could see in those big reddened eyes that he was not going to scream. He was full of anger - and who could blame him? - but he was no fool. He needed me, and he wanted me here, if only to insult me.

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We wait till now? Now, when we're old men, we get to be brave?

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I suppose I started writing seriously at 16 years old.

I thought I wrote a novel at 16 and sent it to New York! They sent it back because it wasn't novel.

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Anytime a child is born, the old people look in his face and ask him if he's the One.

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I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to say something about home.

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How do people come up with a date and a time to take life from another man? Who made them God?

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We all have much more in common than we have difference.

I would say that about people all over the world. They don't know how much in common that they have

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Sometimes you got to hurt something to help something.

Sometimes you have to plow under one thing in order for something else to grow.

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...my heart may have been in it but my soul was not.

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Don't tell me to believe. Don't tell me to believe in the same God or laws that men believe in who commit these murders. Don't tell me to believe that God can bless this country and that men are judged by their peers. Who among his peers judged him? Was I there? Was the minister there? Was Harry Williams there? Was Farrell Jarreau? Was my aunt? Was Vivian? No, his peers did not judge him, and I will not believe.

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I knew I wanted to be a writer and I knew if I had a wife and family, I would neglect something, and I was afraid it wouldn't be the writing.

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Today I must write a paragraph or a page better than I did yesterday.

0

You learn from music, from watching great athletes at work - how disciplined they are, how they move. You learn these things by watching a shortstop at work, how he concentrates on one thing at a time. You learn from classic music, from the blues and jazz, from bluegrass. From all this, you learn how to sustain a great line without bringing in unnecessary words.

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You've got to bend with the wind or you're broken.

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And I thought to myself, What am I doing? Am I reaching them at all? They are acting exactly as the old men did earlier. They are fifty years younger, maybe more, but doing the same thing those old men did who never attended school a day in their lives. Is it just a vicious circle? Am I doing anything?

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I try to write something that would interest anybody and keep them turning the page. You must have a plot and good storyline.

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"You going back," she said. "You ain't going to run away from this, Grant."

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Only when the mind is free has the body a chance to be free.

Yes, they must believe, they must believe. Because I know what it means to be a slave. I am a slave.

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The sharecropper may lower his eyes, but not because he's less of a man.

That's just a condition of society that such things exist.

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The mark of fear is not easily removed.

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Everything's been said, but it needs saying again.

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I had to see and feel and be with the thing that I wanted to write about.

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I want you to show them the difference between what they think you are and what you can be.

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And that's all we are Jefferson, all of us on this earth, a piece of drifting wood. until we - each of us, individually- decide to become something else. I am still that piece of drifting wood, and those out there are no better. But you can be better.

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But let us say he was (guilty). Let us for a moment say he was (guilty). What justice would there be to take his life? Justice, gentlemen? Why, I would just as soon put a hog in the electric chair as this.

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I have no more to say except this: We must live with our own conscience.

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"What for?" I said. "What for, Tante Lou? He treated me the same way he treated her. He wants me to feel guilty, just as he wants her to feel guilty. Well, I'm not feeling guilty, Tante Lou. I didn't put him there. I do everything I know how to do to keep people like him from going there. He's not going to make me feel guilty."

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I have learned as much about writing about my people by listening to blues and jazz and spirituals as I have from reading novels. The understatements in the tenor saxophone of Lester Young, the crystal, haunting, forever searching sounds of John Coltrane, and the softness and violence of Count Basie's big band - all have fired my imagination as much as anything in literature.

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