April 6, 2011

Mark Twain, on Writing

The Writing Life

"I can live for two months on a good compliment."

"When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained."

"My books are like water; those of the great geniuses are wine. Fortunately everyone drinks water."

"I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened."

"All you need is ignorance and confidence and the success is sure."

"A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds."

"'Classic'. A book which people praise but don't read."

"A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't."

The Art and Craft

"A man's character my be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation."

"The difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug."

"Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream."

"Ideally a book would have no order to it, and the reader would have to discover his own."

"Words are like painted fire; a look is the fire itself."

And a few just for fun...

"I wouldn't have a girl I was worthy of. She wouldn't do. She wouldn't be respectable enough."

"Martyrdom covers a multitude of sins."

"The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated."


  1. Very good quotes, especially "I can live for two months on a good compliment."

  2. My favorite was "My books are like water; those of the great genuises are wine. Fortunately, everyone drinks water." LOL...EXACTLY how I feel about my books. ;)


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