I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.

โ€” James A. Michener

The most provocative James A. Michener quotes that are easy to memorize and remember

Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.

68

Don't put off for tomorrow what you can do today because if you enjoy it today, you can do it again tomorrow.

54

The chief character in this narrative is the Caribbean Sea, one of the world's most alluring bodies of water, a rare gem among the oceans, defined by the islands that form a chain of lovely jewels to the north and east

49

Scientists dream about doing great things. Engineers do them.

42

The permanent temptation of life is to confuse dreams with reality. The permanent defeat of life comes when dreams are surrendered to reality.

38

I have never thought of myself as a good writer.

Anyone who wants reassurance of that should read one of my first drafts. But I'm one of the world's great rewriters.

36

I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter.

33

I was born to a woman I never knew and raised by another who took in orphans.

I do not know my background, my lineage, my biological or cultural heritage. But when I meet someone new, I treat them with respect.... For after all, they could be my people.

32

If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.

31

An age is called Dark, not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it.

29

Although most of us know Vincent van Gogh in Arles and Paul Gauguin in Tahiti as if they were neighbors -- somewhat disreputable but endlessly fascinating -- none of us can name two French generals or department store owners of that period. I take enormous pride in considering myself an artist, one of the necessaries.

16

America is a nation with many flaws, but hopes so vast that only the cowardly would refuse to acknowledge them.

15

About James A. Michener

Quotes 100 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Novelist
Birthday October 16

If a man happens to find himself, he has a mansion which he can inhabit with dignity all the days of his life.

15

We are never prepared for what we expect.

15

No invader has ever conquered the heart of Poland, that spirit which is the inheritance of sons and daughters, the private passion of families and the ancient, unbreakable tie to all those who came before.

13

I am always interested in why young people become writers, and from talking with many I have concluded that most do not want to be writers working eight and ten hours a day and accomplishing little; they want to have been writers, garnering the rewards of having completed a best-seller. They aspire to the rewards of writing but not to the travail.

10

A poet sees things in two ways: First, as a child who never saw it before, and Second, as a dying man who will never see it again.

10

Rampaging horsemen can conquer; only the city can civilize.

7

Only another writer, someone who had worked his heart out on a good book which sold three thousand copies, could appreciate the thrill that overcame me one April morning in 1973 when Dean Rivers of our small college in Georgia appeared at my classroom door

7

Public libraries have been a mainstay of my life.

They represent an individual's right to acquire knowledge; they are the sinews that bind civilized societies the world over. Without libraries, I would be a pauper, intellectually and spiritually.

6

The arrogance of the artist is a very profound thing, and it fortifies you.

6

I was a Navy officer writing about Navy problems and I simply stole this lovely Army nurse and popped her into a Navy uniform, where she has done very well for herself.

5

There are no insoluble problems. Only time-consuming ones.

5

I was brought up in the great tradition of the late nineteenth century: that a writer never complains, never explains and never disdains.

5

Russia, France, Germany and China. They revere their writers. America is still a frontier country that almost shudders at the idea of creative expression.

5

For all its enormous range of space, climate, and physical appearance, and for all the internal squabbles, contentions, and strivings, what you northerners never appreciate...is that Texas is so big that you can live your life within its limits and never give a damn about what anyone in Boston or San Francisco thinks.

3

In a small Polish farm community, during the fall planting season of 1981, events occurred which electrified the world, sending reverberations of magnitude to capitals as diverse as Washington, Peking and especially Moscow.

3

The extreme geniality of San Francisco's economic, intellectual and political climate makes it the most varied and challenging city in the United States.

3

Many people who want to be writers don't really want to be writers.

They want to have been writers. They wish they had a book in print.

3

...when men ignite in their hearts a religious fury, they inflict at the same time a blindness on their eyes.

2

The sense of belonging is one of the great gifts men get in battle.

2

Creative geniuses are a slap-happy lot. Treat Them with respect.

2

I was once asked if I'd like to meet the president of a certain country.

I said, "No, but I'd love to meet some sheepherders." The sheepherders, farmers and taxi drivers are often the most interesting people.

1

As a younger man I wrote for eight years without ever earning a nickel which is a long apprenticeship, but in that time I learned a lot about my trade.

1

Religious hatreds ought not to be propagated at all, but certainly not on a tax-exempt basis.

1

The really great writers are people like Emily Bronte who sit in a room and write out of their limited experience and unlimited imagination.

1

I donโ€™t know who my parents were. I know nothing about my inheritance. I could be Jewish; I could be part Negro; I could be Irish; I could be Russian. I am spiritually a mix anyway, but I did have a solid childhood fortunately, because of some wonderful women who brought me up. I never had a father or a man in the house, and that was a loss...

0

Every animal that walks the earth, or swims, or flies is precious beyond description, something so rare and wonderful that it equals the stars or the ocean or the mind of man.

0

The most sheer fun I ever had in sports was playing volleyball, a game I commend highly. I understand that an effort is under way to establish a national league of professional volleyball teams, and if you have ever seen the great women's teams of Japan and Russia or the equally good men's teams of Cuba and East Germany, you know how exciting this playground game, which requires so little equipment, can be.

0

An age is called Dark not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it.

0

I am a humanist because I think humanity can, with constant moral guidance, create reasonably decent societies. I think that young people who want to understand the world can profit from the works of Plato and Socrates, the behaviour of the three Thomases, Aquinas, More and Jefferson - the austere analyses of Immanuel Kant and the political leadership of Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt.

0

I thought that perhaps the most creative mix for a society would be nine parts solid worker from institutions like MIT to one part poet from Marrakech, but in spite of the fact that I myself had been trained to be one of the solid workers, which meant that all of my sympathies lay with that group, I would not surrender the poet. The problem was to find him.

0

First buy a cowboy hat and boots. Then you're on your way to being a Texan.

0

I feel myself the inheritor of a great background of people.

Just who, precisely, they were, I have never known. I might be part Negro, might be part Jew, part Muslim, part Irish. So I can't afford to be supercilious about any group of people because I may be that people.

0

I wish I could tell you about the South Pacific.

The way it actually was. The endless ocean. The infinite specks of coral we called islands. Coconut palms nodding gracefully toward the ocean. Reefs upon which waves broke into spray, and inner lagoons, lovely beyond description. I wish I could tell you about the sweating jungle, the full moon rising behind the volcanoes, and the waiting. The waiting. The timeless, repetitive waiting.

0

Not too many people work in a job where, waiting out there are three or four hundred people who are paid to tear apart what you've done. And often they are brighter than you are, or they know more about the subject than you do, or they wish they had written a book themselves, or done a lot better. Or they just don't like it! And you have to live with it.

0

During my lifetime I have met dozens of writers and photographers in dozens of different countries. But I have encountered no one who could both write and photograph with the artistry of Robert Vavra.

0

Writers turn dreams into print.

0

Animals form an inalienable fragment of nature, and if we hasten the disappearance of even one species, we diminish our world and our place in it.

0
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