He loved her because it was his nature to do so, but there were times when he could not endure her love for him. There were times when it became nothing but pure idiot mystery…
Accepting oneself does not preclude an attempt to become better.
Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.
I don’t deserve any credit for turning the other cheek as my tongue is always in it.
Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days.
She would’ve been a good woman,” said The Misfit, “if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.
Total non-retention has kept my education from being a burden to me.
If you live today, you breath in nihilism … it’s the gas you breathe. If I hadn’t had the Church to fight it with or to tell me the necessity of fighting it, I would be the stinkingest logical positivist you ever saw right now.
You know,” Daddy said, “it’s some that can live their whole life out without asking about it and it’s others has to know why it is, and this boy is one of the latters. He’s going to be into everything!
The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.
You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.
The truth is not distorted here, but rather a distortion is used to get at truth.
When there is a tendency to compartmentalize the spiritual and make it resident in a certain type of life only, the spiritual is apt gradually to be lost.
The operation of the Church is entirely set up for the sinner; which creates much misunderstanding among the smug.”(August 9, 1955)
People without hope not only don’t write novels, but what is more to the point, they don’t read them.
Fiction is about everything human and we are made out of dust, and if you scorn getting yourself dusty, then you shouldn’t try to write fiction. It’s not a grand enough job for you.
Our age not only does not have a very sharp eye for the almost imperceptible intrusions of grace, it no longer has much feeling for the nature of the violences which precede and follow them.
There is no excuse for anyone to write fiction for public consumption unless he has been called to do so by the presence of a gift. It is the nature of fiction not to be good for much unless it is good in itself.
Everywhere I go, I am asked if I think university stifles writers. My opinion is that it doesn’t stifle enough of them.
We are now living in an age which doubts both fact and value. It is the life of this age that we wish to see and judge.
…I have to write to discover what I am doing. Like the old lady, I don’t know so well what I think until I see what I say; then I have to say it again.
I think it is safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted.
Children know by instinct that hell is an absence of love, and they can pick out theirs without missing.
Your beliefs will be the light by which you see, but they will not be what you see and they will not be a substitute for seeing.
A working knowledge of the devil can be very well had from resisting him.
If you want to get anywhere in religion, you got to keep it sweet.
She had observed that the more education they got, the less they could do. Their father had gone to a one-room schoolhouse through the eighth grade and he could do anything.
The boy knew that escaping school was the surest sign of his election.
The old woman was the kind who would not cut down a large old tree because it was a large old tree.
He and the girl had almost nothing to say to each other. One thing he did say was, ‘I ain’t got any tattoo on my back.”What you got on it?’ the girl said.’My shirt,’ Parker said. ‘Haw.”Haw, haw,’ the girl said politely.
No one can be an atheist who does not know all things. Only God is an atheist.
Dogma is the guardian of mystery. The doctrines are spiritually significant in ways that we cannot fathom.
That belief in Christ is to some a matter of life and death has been a stumbling block for readers who would prefer to think it a matter of no great consequence.
Art transcends its limitations only by staying within them.
I do not like the raw sound of the human voice in unison unless it is under the discipline of music.
Hazel Motes sat at a forward angel on the green plush train seat, looking one minute at the window as if he might want to jump out of it, and the next down the aisle at the other end of the car.
The world was made for the dead. Think of all the dead there are…There’s a million times more dead than living and the dead are dead a million times longer than the living are alive…
When something is finished, it cannot be possessed. Nothing can be possessed but the struggle.
The theologian is interested specifically in the modern novel because there he sees reflected the man of our time, the unbeliever, who is nevertheless grappling in a desperate and usually honest way with intense problems of the spirit.
Lord, I believe; help my unbelief’… is the most natural and most human and most agonizing prayer in the gospels, and I think it is the foundation prayer of faith.
Virtue must be the only vigorous thing in our lives. Sin is large and stale. You can never finish easting it nor ever digest it. It has to be vomited.
My intellect is so limited, Lord, that I can only trust in You to preserve me as I should be.
When we get our spiritual house in order, we’ll be dead. This goes on. You arrive at enough certainty to be able to make your way, but it is making it in darkness. Don’t expect faith to clear things up for you. It is trust, not certainty.
It seems that the fiction writer has a revolting attachment to the poor, for even when he writes about the rich, he is more concerned with what they lack than with what they have.
In yourself right now is all the place you’ve got.
Our spiritual character is formed as much by what we endure and what is taken from us as it is by our achievements and our conscious choices.
The woods are full of regional writers, and it is the great horror of every serious Southern writer that he will become one of them.
The isolated imagination is easily corrupted by theory, but the writer inside his community seldom has such a problem.
When people have told me that because I am a Catholic, I cannot be an artist, I have had to reply, ruefully, that because I am a Catholic I cannot afford to be less than an artist.
Art requires a delicate adjustment of the outer and inner worlds in such a way that, without changing their nature, they can be seen through each other.
Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to never was there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it
His plate was full but his fists sat motionless like two dark quartz stones on either side of it.
The thing you do with a boy it is to show him all the to show. Don’t hold nothing back.
It was love without reason, love for something futureless, love that appeared to exist only to be itself, imperious and all demanding, the kind that would cause him to make a fool of himself in an instant.
Mrs. Hopewell had no bad qualities of her own but she was able to use other people’s in such a constructive way that she never felt the lack.
That’s the trouble with you preachers,” he said. “You’ve all got too good to believe in anything,” and he drove off with a look of disgust and righteousness.
There won’t be any biographies of me, for only one reason, lives spent between the house and the chicken farm do not make for exciting copy.
So many people can now write competent stories that the short story is in danger of dying of competence.
He had measured five feet four inches of pure gamecock.
If you don’t hunt it down and kill it, it will hunt you down and kill you.
I came from a family where the only emotion respectable to show is irritation.
The fiction writer has to engage in a continual examination of conscience. He has to be aware of the freak in himself.
You have to quit confusing a madness with a mission.
You can’t just say NO,” he said. “You got to do NO. You got to show it. You got to show you mean it by doing it. You got to show you’re not going to do one thing by doing another. You got to make an end of it. One way or another.
It’s always wrong of course to say that you can’t do this or you can’t do that in fiction. You can do anything you can get away with, but nobody has ever gotten away with much.
Those who are long on logic, definitions, abstractions, and formulas are frequently short on a sense of the concrete.
Some people might enjoy drain water if they were told it was vodka.
I like to walk in the woods and see what Mother Nature is wearing.
He had a winning smile and it was evident that he didn’t think he was any better than anybody else even though he was.
He had a look of composed dissatisfaction, as if he understood life thoroughly.
…free will does not mean one will, but many wills conflicting in one man. Freedom cannot be conceived simply.
Remember what you won’t get if you don’t mind,” her grandfather remarked.
The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it emotionally.
And if the student finds that this is not to his taste well that is regrettable. Most regrettable. His taste should not be consulted it is being formed.
It is better to be young in your failures than old in your successes.
Conviction without experiences makes for harshness.
If you do the same thing every day at the same time for the same length of time you’ll save yourself from many a sink. Routine is a condition of survival.
To expect too much is to have a sentimental view of life and this is a softness that ends in bitterness.
I am a writer because writing is the thing I do best.
I am much younger now than I was at twelve or anyway less burdened.
The basic experience of everyone is the experience of human limitation.
Remember that you don’t write a story because you have an idea but because you have a believable character.
To know oneself is, above all, to know what one lacks.
There’s many a bestseller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.
Conviction without experience makes for harshness.
Writing a novel is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay.
I preach there are all kinds of truth, your truth and somebody else’s. But behind all of them there is only one truth and that is that there’s no truth.
Faith is what someone knows to be true, whether they believe it or not.
The basis of art is truth, both in matter and in mode.