‘Such searching has its own fascination. One ‘enjoys’ it even when tired, depressed, annoyed. But that is the nature of the creative process, perhaps even of life itself. Thus far have I come. It is for others to look for themselves in what I have done. Either way, we have all only just begun.’

– Anwar Jalal Shemza, quoted in: Calligraphic Abstraction by Iftikhar Dadi

‘He had not liked the book. He could not take it seriously. It was an able, intelligent, mildly perceptive tour de force and it would never mean anything to anyone. In the place in Vivaldo’s mind in which books lived, whether they were great, mangled, mutilated or mad, Richard’s book did not exist.’

– James Baldwin, Another country

‘I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life – and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.’

– Georgia O’Keeffe

‘They say you gotta stay hungry
Hey baby I’m just about starving tonight
I’m dying for some action
I’m sick of sitting ’round here trying to write this book’

– Bruce Springsteen, Dancing in the Dark

‘Be a much more ruthless editor but a much more careless artist.’

– Christoph Niemann, Abstract – The Art of Design 

‘Fiction needs its specifics, it’s anchors. It needs also to pass beyond them. It needs to be weighed down with characters we can touch and know, it needs to fly right through them into larger, universal space. This paradox makes work readable and durable, from its impossible tension, something harmonious is born.’

– Jeanette Winterson, Introduction to Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit

‘All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up.’

– James Baldwin

‘Earlier when I was working and I would feel frustrated I would throw away my brushes or work angrily. Now I swallow my anger and start working with coolness and concentration. The result is success.’

– Amrita Sher-Gil, read in Amrita Sher-Gil A Life by Yashodhara Dalmia

‘Little by little I realize that every person carries within herself a calling against which it is hopeless to fight.’

– Amrita Sher-Gil, read in Amrita Sher-Gil A Life by Yashodhara Dalmia

‘Writing is the greatest fun I’ve ever had. And I know this with painters, I know this with dancers: if it’s the hardest friggin’ work you’ve ever done, and the most fun you’ve ever had, and you can never resolve that, that’s it. That’s where you should be.’

Marlon James

“I read a science fiction story a long time ago where these people are exploring space and they finally find this habitable planet – and it turns out to be identical to Earth in every detail. And I thought that was the supreme irony: that they’d originally left to find something better and arrived in the end – which was actually the same place. Which is how I feel about myself. I’m always trying to project myself at a tangent and always seem eventually to arrive back at the same place. It’s a loop. You actually can’t escape.”

– Brian Eno (quoted by Geeta Dayal, Another Green World)

‘A sense of place is so critical in cinema, because you want to go into another world. Every story has its own world, and it’s own feel, and its own mood. So you try and put together all these things-these tiny details-to create that sense of place. It has a lot to do with light and sound. The sounds that come into a room can help paint a world there and make it so much fuller.’

– David Lynch, Catching the Big Fish (quoted by Geeta DayalAnother Green World)

‘The impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.’

– Annie Dillard (quoted by Austin Kleon, Show Your Work)

‘Yes, she felt a perfect animal inside her. The thought of one day setting this animal loose disgusted her. Perhaps for fear of lack of aesthetic. Or dreading a revelation… No, no, she repeated, you mustn’t be afraid to create.’

– Clarice Lispector, Near to the Wild Heart