Willa Cather Quotes (71 Quotes)


    Sometimes a neighbor whom we have disliked a lifetime for his arrogance and conceit lets fall a single commonplace remark that shows us another side, another man, really; a man uncertain, and puzzled, and in the dark like ourselves.

    All the intelligence and talent in the world can't make a singer. The voice is a wild thing. It can't be bred in captivity. It is a sport, like the silver fox. It happens.

    Sometimes I wonder why God ever trusts talent in the hands of women, they usually make such an infernal mess of it. I think He must do it as a sort of ghastly joke.

    The condition every art requires is, not so much freedom from restriction, as freedom from adulteration and from the intrusion of foreign matter.

    No one can build his security upon the nobleness of another person.


    One cannot divine nor forecast the conditions that will make happiness one only stumbles upon them by chance, in a lucky hour, at the world's end somewhere, and hold fast to the days, as to fortune or fame.

    Ugly accidents happen . . . always have and always will. But the failures are swept back into the pile and forgotten. They dont leave any lasting scar in the world, and they dont affect the future. The things that last are the good things. The people who forge ahead and do something, they really count.

    Some memories are realities, and are better than anything that can ever happen to one again.

    Human love was a wonderful thing, he told himself, and it was most wonderful where it had least to gain.

    To note an artist's limitations is but to define his talent. A reporter can write equally well about everything that is presented to his view, but a creative writer can do his best only with what lies within the range and character of his deepest sympathies.

    What was any art but a mould in which to imprison for a moment the shining elusive element which is life itself - life hurrying past us and running away, too strong to stop, too sweet to lose.

    Where there is great love, there are always wishes.

    We all like people who do things, even if we only see their faces on a cigar-box lid.

    Paris is a hard place to leave, even when it rains incessantly and one coughs continually from the dampness.

    Give the people a new word and they think they have a new fact.

    Desire is creation, is the magical element in that process. If there were an instrument by which to measure desire, one could foretell achievement.

    Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen.

    It does not matter much whom we live with in this world, but it matters a great deal whom we dream of.

    I tell you there is such a thing as creative hate.

    I don't want anyone reading my writing to think about style. I just want them to be in the story.

    Art should simplify. That is very nearly the whole of the higher artistic process finding what conventions of form and what detail one can do without and yet preserve the spirit of the whole.

    There seemed to be nothing to see no fences, no creeks or trees, no hills or fields. If there was a road, I could not make it out in the faint starlight. There was nothing but land not a country at all, but the material out of which countries are made.

    Where are the loves that we have loved beforeWhen once we are alone, and shut the door

    Alcohol is perfectly consistent in its effects upon man. Drunkenness is merely an exaggeration. A foolish man drunk becomes maudlin a bloody man, vicious a coarse man, vulgar.

    I was something that lay under the sun and felt it, like the pumpkins, and I did not want to be anything more. I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge.

    Isn't it queer there are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before like the larks in this country that have been singing the same five notes over for thousands of years

    No one person knows much more about writing than another. I expect that when people think they know anything about it, then their case is hopeless.

    Elsewhere the sky is the roof of the world, but here the earth is the floor of the sky.

    I suppose there were moonless nights and dark ones with but a silver shaving and pale stars in the sky, but I remember them all as flooded with the rich indolence of a full moon.

    Old men are like that, you know. It makes them feel important to think they're in love with somebody.


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