"The great majority of artists are throwing themselves in with life-preservers around their necks, and more often than not it is the life-preserver which sinks them. Nobody can drown in the ocean of reality who voluntarily gives himself up to the experience. Whatever there be of progress in life comes not through adaptation but through daring, through obeying the blind urge. 'No daring is fatal,' said Rene Crevel, a phrase which I shall never forget"
- Henry Miller, Reflections on Writing
"With all your science can you tell how it is, and whence it is, that light comes into the soul?" - Thoreau, Notebooks, July 26, 1851
"Tell me if anything was ever done ... Tell me ... Tell me ... Tell me if ever I did a thing ... Tell me if anything was ever made." - Leonardo da Vinci, to himself in his notebooks
"... it bolted off like a runaway horse, taking far more trouble over itself than it ever did over anyone else; it gives birth to so many chimeras and fantastic monstrosities, one after another, without order or fitness, that, so as to contemplate at my ease their oddness and their strangeness, I began to keep a record of them, hoping in time to make my mind ashamed of itself." - Montaigne, On Idleness
Henry Miller: "If, say, a Zen artist is going to do something, he’s had a long preparation of discipline and meditation, deep quiet thought about it, and then no thought, silence, emptiness, and so on—it might be for months, it might be for years. Then, when he begins, it’s like lightning, just what he wants—it’s perfect. Well, this is the way I think all art should be done. But who does it? We lead lives that are contrary to our profession." Via The Paris Review
"I thought and pondered—vainly. I felt that blank incapability of invention which is the greatest misery of authorship, when dull Nothing replies to our anxious invocations. Have you thought of a story? I was asked each morning, and each morning I was forced to reply with a mortifying negative."