“We are all here on earth to help others, what on earth the others are here for I don’t know.”

– W.H Auden

“I came from a one syllable neighborhood.”

– Sammy Cahn (In speaking with pride that various of his lyrics had five syllables)

“Your duty is in bed.”

– General Douglas MacArthur (when asked by his mistress what she might contribute to the war effort)

“The streets don’t love nobody these days.”

– Anonymous Chicago crime victim:

“Be good and you will be lonesome.”

– Mark Twain

“I don’t want to go to heaven. None of my friends are there.”

– Oscar Wilde

“I gave up trying, it’s the first step toward failure.”

– Homer Simpson

“Whata you got?”

– Marlon Brando in the movie ‘The Wild Ones’ when asked ‘What are you rebelling against, Johnny?’

“To trust is good, not to trust is better.”

– Italian Proverb

“This is the stuff dreams are made of.”

– Humphrey Bogart’s character in The Maltese Falcon (Based on the Dashiell Hammett novel)

“What you need to do is spend less time composing a speech to deliver after winning the National Book Awards prize and more time writing the manuscript that you seem to think will get you there.”

-My friend Jackson on more than one occasion

“We’ll camp here.”

– John Wayne’s character after drunkenly falling off his horse while leading his troops in the pursuit of Indians

“Overtime, just when you depend on it they’ll cut the sonofabitch.”

– Part of an overheard conversation

“It isn’t what you call me but what I answer to that is important.”

– African saying

“If I’m not for myself, who will be? If I am for myself only, what will I be to others?”

– Thomas Aquinas

“The Borgias ruled for thirty years and produced Di Vinci and Michelangelo. In Switzerland they practiced brotherhood and equality for five centuries and produced the cuckoo clock.”

– Orson Welles’ character ‘Harry Lime’ in The Third Man

“Sooner or later we all sit down to a banquet of consequences.”

– Robert Louis Stevenson

“I think and therefore it is true that…”

– Don Quixote (Cervantes)

“She was once an ex-wife of mine.”

– Jerry Jeff Walker

“Practicing an art has nothing to do with fame or money. You are growing your soul.”

– Kurt Vonnegut

“It’s always funny until someone gets hurt. Then it’s just hilarious.”

– Bill Hicks

“Life is divided into the horrible and the miserable.”

– Woody Allen

“In its transient integument called man the song flows on like the waters of eternity, washing all away, giving birth to all.”

– Isaac Babel

“Only the mediocre are always at their best.”

– H.L. Mencken

“Writing is a calling, it is not a way to make a living like piloting an airplane or selling mutual funds. You do it because you can’t help doing it.”

– Paul Gruchow

“All that means is that the kid’s no good at sports.”

– My friend Jackson upon seeing a bumper sticker proclaiming “My Boy is on the Honor Roll”

“No, why should I?”

– Yankee pitcher Don Larsen when asked if he ever got tired of talking about how he pitched the only perfect game in World Series history

“Understand that heroic acts won’t come from common people, but small good acts will.”

– Gandhi

“You don’t build a movement without a mimeograph machine.”

– Maggie Kuhn, one of the founders of the Grey Panthers

“That makes eighteen straight whiskies. I believe that’s a record.”

Dylan Thomas, before passing out and falling into a coma from which he would not recover

“Never tell your problems to anyone, half of your listeners won’t care and the other half will be glad you have them.”

– Lou Holtz