William Maxwell quotes

  • If I had had to write only about imaginary people, I would have had to close up my typewriter. I wrote about my life in less and less disguise as I grew older, and finally with no disguise - except the disguise we create for ourselves, which is self-deception.
    -- William Maxwell

    #Writing #Typewriters #Self

  • The view after seventy is breathtaking. What is lacking is someone, anyone, of the older generation to whom you can turn when you want to satisfy your curiosity about some detail of the landscape of the past. There is no longer any older generation. You have become it, while your mind was mostly on other matters
    -- William Maxwell

    #Past #Views #Curiosity

  • His sadness was of the kind that is patient and without hope.
    -- William Maxwell

    #Sadness #Patient #Kind

  • My younger daughter told me recently that when she was a child she thought the typewriter was a toy that I went into my room and closed the door and played with.
    -- William Maxwell

    #Daughter #Children #Typewriters

  • Love, even of the most ardent and soul-destroying kind, is never caught by the lens of the camera.
    -- William Maxwell

    #Soul #Cameras #Lenses

  • Happiness is the light on the water. The water is cold and dark and deep.
    -- William Maxwell

    #Sunset #Dark #Light

  • What we, or at any rate what I, refer to confidently as memory--meaning a moment, a scene, a fact that has been subjected to a fixative and thereby rescued from oblivion--is really a form of storytelling that goes on continually in the mind and often changes with the telling. Too many conflicting emotional interests are involved for life ever to be wholly acceptable, and possibly it is the work of the storyteller to rearrange things so that they conform to this end. In any case, in talking about the past we lie with every breath we draw.
    -- William Maxwell

    #Memories #Lying #Past

  • Reading is rapture (or if it isn't, I put the book down meaning to go on with it later, and escape out the side door).
    -- William Maxwell

    #Book #Reading #Doors

  • It's deprivation that makes people writers, if they have it in them to be a writer.
    -- William Maxwell

    #People #Deprivation

  • Sometimes she goes out to work as a practical nurse, and comes home and sits by the kitchen table soaking her feet in a pan of hot water and Epsom salts. When she gets into bed and the springs creak under her weight, she groans with the pleasure of lying stretched out on an object that understands her so well.
    -- William Maxwell

    #Spring #Lying #Home

  • Your reader is at least as bright as you are
    -- William Maxwell

    #Literature #Reader

  • It was lovely when you found students who responded to things you were enthusiastic about.
    -- William Maxwell

    #Lovely #Students #Found

  • People often ask themselves the right questions. Where they fail is in answering the questions they ask themselves, and even there they do not fail by much...But it takes time, it takes humility and a serious reason for searching.
    -- William Maxwell

    #Humility #People #Serious

  • I am the cat that walks alone.
    -- William Maxwell

    #Cat #Walks

  • The nail doesn't choose the time or the circumstances in which it is drawn to the magnet
    -- William Maxwell

    #Nails #Circumstances #Magnet

  • In talking about the past, we lie with every breath we draw.
    -- William Maxwell

    #Lying #Past #Talking

  • A writer is a reader who is moved to emulation.
    -- William Maxwell

    #Emulation #Reader #Moved

  • If you turn the imagination loose like a hunting dog, it will often return with the bird in its mouth.
    -- William Maxwell

    #Dog #Hunting #Imagination

  • A gentleman doesn't have one set of manners for the house of a poor man and another for the house of someone with an income incomparable to his own.
    -- William Maxwell

    #Men #House #Gentleman

  • Who knows what oversensitive is, considering all there is to be sensitive to.
    -- William Maxwell

    #Sensitive #Considering

  • I had inadvertently walked through a door that I shouldn’t have gone through and couldn’t get back to the place I hadn’t meant to leave.
    -- William Maxwell

    #Doors #Gone

  • The reason life is so strange is that so often people have no choice,
    -- William Maxwell

    #People #Choices #Strange

  • Satin and lace and brown velvet and the faint odor of violets. That was all which was left to him of his love.
    -- William Maxwell

    #His Love #Violet #Lace

  • My father represented authority, which meant—to me—that he could not also represent understanding.
    -- William Maxwell

    #Father #Understanding #Authority

  • What we refer to confidently as memory is really a form of storytelling that goes on continually in the mind and often changes with the telling.
    -- William Maxwell

    #Memories #Mind #Goes On