E. B. White quotes

  • Trust me, Wilbur. People are very gullible. They'll believe anything they see in print.
    -- E. B. White

    #Believe #People #Trust Me

  • You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that.
    -- E. B. White

    #Life #Heaven #Trying

  • Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people-- people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.
    -- E. B. White

    #Book #People #Alive

  • Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.
    -- E. B. White

    #Beauty #Powerful #Creativity

  • A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book, you may find encouragement and comfort. A library is a good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided, for there, in a book, you may have your question answered. Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people - people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.
    -- E. B. White

    #Encouragement #Book #People

  • It's hard to know when to respond to the seductiveness of the world and when to respond to its challenge. If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between the desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.
    -- E. B. White

    #Morning #Seductive #Challenges

  • I admire anybody who has the guts to write anything at all.
    -- E. B. White

    #Writing #Admiration #Admire

  • Reading is the work of the alert mind, is demanding, and under ideal conditions produces finally a sort of ecstasy.
    -- E. B. White

    #Reading #Mind #Produce

  • I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.
    -- E. B. White

    #Life #Morning #Time

  • Creation is in part merely the business of forgoing the great and small distractions.
    -- E. B. White

    #Distraction #Creation

  • The city is like poetry; it compresses all life, all races and breeds, into a small island and adds music and the accompaniment of internal engines.
    -- E. B. White

    #Islands #Race #Cities

  • Writing is both mask and unveiling.
    -- E. B. White

    #Inspirational #Life #Writing

  • Genius is more often found in a cracked pot than in a whole one.
    -- E. B. White

    #Funny #Senior #Witty

  • The world is full of people who have never, since childhood, met an open doorway with an open mind.
    -- E. B. White

    #People #Childhood #Tolerance

  • I am pessimistic about the human race because it is too ingenious for its own good. Our approach to nature is to beat it into submission. We would stand a better chance of survival if we accommodated ourselves to this planet and viewed it appreciatively instead of skeptically and dictatorially.
    -- E. B. White

    #Inspirational #Life #Nature

  • Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it.
    -- E. B. White

    #Funny #Hilarious #Witty

  • Fern was up at daylight, trying to rid the world of injustice. As a result, she now has a pig. A small one to be sure, but nevertheless a pig. It just shows what can happen if a person gets out of bed promptly.
    -- E. B. White

    #Pigs #Trying #Bed

  • A poem compresses much in a small space and adds music, thus heightening its meaning.
    -- E. B. White

    #Art #Space #Add

  • A poet dares be just so clear and no clearer... He unzips the veil from beauty, but does not remove it. A poet utterly clear is a trifle glaring.
    -- E. B. White

    #Poetry #Doe #Veils

  • It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.
    -- E. B. White

    #Friendship #True Friend

  • In a man's middle years there is scarcely a part of the body he would hesitate to turn over to the proper authorities.
    -- E. B. White

    #Men #Years #Body

  • Once in everyone's life there is apt to be a period when he is fully awake, instead of half-asleep.
    -- E. B. White

    #Half #Periods #Awake

  • I have always felt that the first duty of a writer was to ascend - to make flights, carrying others along if you can manage it. To do this takes courage, even a certain conceit.
    -- E. B. White

    #Writing #Firsts #Flight

  • The living language is like a cowpath: it is the creation of the cows themselves, who, having created it, follow it or depart from it according to their whims or their needs. From daily use, the path undergoes change. A cow is under no obligation to stay
    -- E. B. White

    #Needs #Use #Cows

  • Americans are willing to go to enormous trouble and expense defending their principles with arms, very little trouble and expense advocating them with words. Temperamentally we are ready to die for certain principles (or, in the case of overripe adults, send youngsters to die), but we show little inclination to advertise the reasons for dying.
    -- E. B. White

    #Political #Dying #Adults

  • I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.
    -- E. B. White

    #Time #Nature #Fall

  • It sometimes takes days, even weeks, before a dog's nerves tire. In the case of terriers it can run into months.
    -- E. B. White

    #Funny #Running #Dog

  • Books hold most of the secrets of the world, most of the thoughts that men and women have had. And when you are reading a book, you and the author are alone together-just the two of you.
    -- E. B. White

    #Book #Reading #Men

  • Never hurry and never worry!
    -- E. B. White

    #Worry

  • A despot doesn't fear eloquent writers preaching freedom- he fears a drunken poet who may crack a joke that will take hold.
    -- E. B. White

    #Cracks #May #Poet

  • Anyone who writes down to children is simply wasting his time. You have to write up, not down. Children are demanding. They are the most attentive, curious, eager, observant, sensitive, quick, and generally congenial readers on earth.... Children are game for anything. I throw them hard words and they backhand them across the net.
    -- E. B. White

    #Children #Writing #Games

  • All writing is communication; creative writing is communication through revelation-it is the Self-escaping into the open.
    -- E. B. White

    #Communication #Writing #Escaping

  • Don't write about Man; write about a man.
    -- E. B. White

    #Writing #Men

  • And then, just as Wilbur was settling down for his morning nap, he heard again the thin voice that had addressed him the night before. "Salutations!" said the voice. Wilbur jumped to his feet. "Salu-what?" he cried. "Salutations!" repeated the voice. "What are they, and where are you?" screamed Wilbur. "Please, please, tell me where you are. And what are salutations?" "Salutations are greetings," said the voice. "When I say 'salutations,' it's just my fancy way of saying hello or good morning.
    -- E. B. White

    #Morning #Night #Naps

  • To achieve style, begin by affecting none.
    -- E. B. White

    #Style #Achieve

  • Every morning I awake torn between a desire to save the world and an inclination to savor it. This makes it hard to plan the day. But if we forget to savor the world, what possible reason do we have for saving it? In a way, the savoring must come first.
    -- E. B. White

    #Morning #Desire #World

  • But we have received a sign, Edith - a mysterious sign. A miracle has happened on this farm... in the middle of the web there were the words 'Some Pig'... we have no ordinary pig." "Well", said Mrs. Zuckerman, "it seems to me you're a little off. It seems to me we have no ordinary spider.
    -- E. B. White

    #Pigs #Miracle #Ordinary

  • I get up every morning determined to both change the world and to have one hell of a good time. Sometimes, this makes planning the day difficult.
    -- E. B. White

    #Success #Morning #Determination

  • Be obscure clearly! Be wild of tongue in a way we can understand.
    -- E. B. White

    #Way #Tongue #Obscure

  • The best writing is rewriting.
    -- E. B. White

    #Writing #Learning #Rewriting

  • I believe television is going to be the test of the modern world, and that in this new opportunity to see beyond the range of our vision, we shall discover a new and unbearable disturbance of the modern peace, or a saving radiance in the sky. We shall stand or fall by television - of that I am quite sure.
    -- E. B. White

    #Believe #Fall #Opportunity

  • Most people think of peace as a state of Nothing Bad Happening, or Nothing Much Happening. Yet if peace is to overtake us and make us the gift of serenity and well-being, it will have to be the state of Something Good Happening.
    -- E. B. White

    #Peace #Thinking #People

  • If a man is to be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most.
    -- E. B. White

    #Men #Sailing #Boat

  • The whole problem is to establish communication with ones self.
    -- E. B. White

    #Communication #Self #Problem

  • No one can write decently who is distrustful of the reader's intelligence or whose attitude is patronizing.
    -- E. B. White

    #Attitude #Writing #Reader

  • People are, if anything, more touchy about being thought silly than they are about being thought unjust.
    -- E. B. White

    #Motivation #Silly #People

  • From morning till night, sounds drift from the kitchen, most of them familiar and comforting. . . . On days when warmth is the most important need of the human heart, the kitchen is the place you can find it; it dries the wet sock, it cools the hot little brain.
    -- E. B. White

    #Morning #Heart #Night

  • I have one share in corporate Earth, and I am nervous about the management.
    -- E. B. White

    #Government #Earth #Management

  • I am often mad, but I would hate to be nothing but mad: and I think I would lose what little value I may have as a writer if I were to refuse, as a matter of principle, to accept the warming rays of the sun, and to report them, whenever, and if ever, they
    -- E. B. White

    #Hate #War #Thinking

  • Write about it by day and dream about it by night.
    -- E. B. White

    #Dream #Writing #Positivity

  • Make the work interesting and the discipline will take care of itself.
    -- E. B. White

    #Work #Learning #Discipline

  • Being the owner of Dachshunds, to me a book on dog discipline becomes a volume of inspired humor. Every sentence is a riot. Some day, if I ever get a chance, I shall write a book, or warning, on the character and temperament of the Dachshund and why he can't be trained and shouldn't be. I would rather train a striped zebra to balance an Indian club than induce a Dachshund to heed my slightest command. When I address Fred I never have to raise either my voice or my hopes. He even disobeys me when I instruct him in something he wants to do.
    -- E. B. White

    #Dog #Zebras #Book

  • Writers do not merely reflect and interpret life, they inform and shape life.
    -- E. B. White

    #Writing #Shapes

  • The first day of spring was once the time for taking the young virgins into the fields, there in dalliance to set an example in fertility for nature to follow. Now we just set the clocks an hour ahead and change the oil in the crankcase.
    -- E. B. White

    #Spring #Oil #Fertility

  • Writing is not an exercise in excision, it's a journey into sound.
    -- E. B. White

    #Writing #Exercise #Journey

  • There is no satisfactory explanation of style, no infallible guide to good writing, no assurance that a person who thinks clearly will be able to write clearly, no key that unlocks the door, no inflexible rules by which the young writer may steer his course. He will often find himself steering by stars that are disturbingly in motion.
    -- E. B. White

    #Stars #Writing #Thinking

  • It is deeply satisfying to win a prize in front of a lot of people.
    -- E. B. White

    #Winning #People #Prize

  • There is nothing harder to estimate than a writer's time, nothing harder to keep track of. There are moments—moments of sustained creation—when his time is fairly valuable; and there are hours and hours when a writer's time isn't worth the paper he is not writing anything on.
    -- E. B. White

    #Writing #Track #Scary

  • I am always humbled by the infite ingenuity of the Lord, who can make a red barn cast a blue shadow.
    -- E. B. White

    #Blue #Shadow #Barns

  • It is quite possible that an animal has spoken to me and that I didn't catch the remark because I wasn't paying attention.
    -- E. B. White

    #Animal #Attention #Pay Attention

  • But real life is only one kind of life—there is also the life of the imagination.
    -- E. B. White

    #Real #Imagination #Kind

  • A schoolchild should be taught grammar—for the same reason that a medical student should study anatomy.
    -- E. B. White

    #Taught #Students #Medical

  • Use the smallest word that does the job.
    -- E. B. White

    #Jobs #Writing #Doe

  • Advice to young writers wo want to get ahead without any annoying delays: don't write about Man, write about a man.
    -- E. B. White

    #Writing #Men #Advice

  • Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.
    -- E. B. White

    #Time #Prejudice #Facts

  • The essayist is a self-liberated man, sustained by the childish belief that everything he thinks about, everything that happens to him, is of general interest.
    -- E. B. White

    #Writing #Men #Thinking

  • A writer should concern himself with whatever absorbs his fancy, stirs his heart, and unlimbers his typewriter. ... A writer has the duty to be good, not lousy: true, not false; lively, not dull; accurate, not full of error. He should tend to lift people up, not lower them down.
    -- E. B. White

    #Heart #Writing #Typewriters

  • A really companionable and indispensable dog is an accident of nature. You can't get it by breeding for it, and you can't buy it with money. It just happens along.
    -- E. B. White

    #Dog #Silly #Breeding

  • English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment and education - sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across the street.
    -- E. B. White

    #Communication #Luck #Crafts

  • I don't know which is more discouraging, literature or chickens.
    -- E. B. White

    #Literature #Chickens #Discouraging

  • Whatever else an American believes or disbelieves about himself, he is absolutely sure he has a sense of humor.
    -- E. B. White

    #Believe #Humor #Sense Of Humor

  • Writing is hard work and bad for the health.
    -- E. B. White

    #Hard Work #Writing

  • There is nothing more likely to start disagreement among people or countries than an agreement.
    -- E. B. White

    #Country #Agreement #People

  • Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time.
    -- E. B. White

    #Freedom #People #Political

  • When I was a child people simply looked about them and were moderately happy; today they peer beyond the seven seas, bury themselves waist deep in tidings, and by and large what they see and hear makes them unutterably sad.
    -- E. B. White

    #Inspirational #Happiness #Happy

  • One of the most time-consuming things is to have an enemy.
    -- E. B. White

    #Inspirational #Inspiring #Enemy

  • I see nothing in space as promising as the view from a Ferris wheel.
    -- E. B. White

    #Science #Views #Space

  • A good farmer is nothing more nor less than a handy man with a sense of humus.
    -- E. B. White

    #Men #Farming #Farmers

  • Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.
    -- E. B. White

    #Inspiring #Faith #Writing

  • Old age is a special problem for me because I've never been able to shed the mental image I have of myself - a lad of about 19.
    -- E. B. White

    #Birthday #Special #Age

  • We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry.
    -- E. B. White

    #Running #Wine #Long

  • Everything in life is somewhere else, and you get there in a car.
    -- E. B. White

    #Funny #Witty #Humorous

  • A writer's style reveals something of his spirit, his habits, his capacites, his bias...it is the Self escaping into the open.
    -- E. B. White

    #Escaping #Self #Style

  • Why did you do all this for me?' he asked. 'I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you.' 'You have been my friend,' replied Charlotte. 'That in itself is a tremendous thing.
    -- E. B. White

    #Friendship #Change #Wisdom

  • Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society — things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed.
    -- E. B. White

    #Change #Dark #Clouds

  • Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.
    -- E. B. White

    #Inspiring #Wind #Another Day

  • A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word to paper.
    -- E. B. White

    #Waiting #Paper

  • Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness, natives give it solidity and continuity, but the settlers give it passion.
    -- E. B. White

    #Passion #Cities #Giving

  • new york provides not only a continuing excitation but also a spectacle that is continuing.
    -- E. B. White

    #New York #Continuing

  • You're terrific as far as I am concerned.
    -- E. B. White

    #Concerned

  • There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter — the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. ...Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion.
    -- E. B. White

    #New York #Passion #Night

  • Before the seed there comes the thought of bloom.
    -- E. B. White

  • I am reminded of the advice of my neighbor. "Never worry about your heart till it stops beating.
    -- E. B. White

    #Heart #Worry #Advice

  • Wilbur never forgot Charlotte. Although he loved her children and grandchildren dearly, none of the new spiders ever quite took her place in his heart. She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.
    -- E. B. White

    #Children #True Friend #Life Changing

  • As a writing man, or secretary, I have always felt charged with the safekeeping of all unexpected items of worldly and unworldly enchantment, as though I might be held personally responsible if even a small one were to be lost.
    -- E. B. White

    #Writing #Men #Might

  • Semi-colons only prove that the author has been to college.
    -- E. B. White

    #College #Prove

  • Deathlessness should be arrived at in a... haphazard fashion. Loving fame as much as any man, we shall carve our initials in the shell of a tortoise and turn him loose in a peat bog.
    -- E. B. White

    #Death #Fashion #Men

  • From three to four, he planned to stand perfectly still and think of what it was like to be alive.
    -- E. B. White

    #Thinking #Three #Alive

  • Life's meaning has always eluded me and I guess always will. But I love it just the same.
    -- E. B. White

  • Necessity first mothered invention. Now invention has little ones of her own, and they look just like grandma.
    -- E. B. White

    #Grandma #Looks #Littles