James A. Michener, fully James Albert Michener

James A.
Michener, fully James Albert Michener
1907
1997

Author, Winner of Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

Author Quotes

And no invader has ever conquered the heart of Poland, that spirit which is the inheritance of sons and daughters, the private passion of families and the ancient, unbreakable tie to all those who came before.

I have only one bit of advice to beginning writers: be sure your novel is read by Rodgers and Hammerstein.

In later years, it would become fashionable to say of the missionaries, "They came to the islands to do good, and they did right well." Others made jest of the missionary slogan, "They came to a nation in darkness; they left it in light," by pointing out: "Of course they left Hawaii lighter. They stole every goddamned thing that wasn't nailed down."

Russia, France, Germany and China. They revere their writers. America is still a frontier country that almost shudders at the idea of creative expression.

Therefore, men of Polynesia and Boston and China and Mount Fuji and the barrios of the Philippines, do not come to these islands empty-handed, or craven in spirit, or afraid to starve. There is no food here. In these islands there is no certainty. Bring your own food, your own gods, your own flowers and fruits and concepts. For if you come without resources to these islands you will perish... On these harsh terms the islands waited.

As a writer I have persisted in my uncertainty, alternating between novels which could charitably be considered literature and world reporting which by another stretch of objective standards might be called history.

I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.

It is difficult to be king when the gods are changing.

Scientists dream about doing great things. Engineers do them.

They were a group of two dozen nurses completely surrounded by 100,000 unattached American men.

Being goal-oriented instead of self-oriented is crucial. I know so many people who want to be writers. But let me tell you, they really don't want to be writers. They want to have been writers. They wish they had a book in print. They don't want to go through the work of getting the damn book out. There is a huge difference.

I think the bottom line is that if you get through a childhood like mine, it's not at all bad. Obviously, you come out a pretty tough turkey, and you have had all the inoculations you need to keep you on a level keel for the rest of your life. The sad part is, most of us don't come out.

It was his opinion that a man had to wait until he was dead to know the meaning of God, unless he happened to have known the sea in his youth.

Second, after a painful gap without any king, and a furious struggle by various foreign powers to elect men favorable to them, the Seym chose a pathetic Polish incompetent, who had the good sense to die rather promptly.

Things are going to go wrong, and I think we are false to life if we don't portray it. But there is also the hope that some lucky clown is going to come along and stumble into the gold mine. And I think you are also entitled to hold out that hope.

For some time now they had been suspicious of him.

I think the crucial thing in the writing career is to find what you want to do and how you fit in. What somebody else does is of no concern whatever except as an interesting variation.

It was the silent time before dawn, along the shores of what had been one of the most beautiful lakes in southern Africa.

Silence, much more powerful than before, much more shot through with the meaning of life and the accumulated wisdom of history.

This is not a promise, this is not threat, it's just the way it's gonna be!!!

He had obtained a clearer view of his homeland by leaving it and seeing it through the eyes of others.

I think young people ought to seek that differential experience that is going to knock them off dead center. I was a typical American school boy. I happened to get straight A's and be pretty good in sports. But I had no great vision of what I could be. And I never had any yearning.

Leonid Brezhnev needed a haircut, so he went down to the ground floor of the Kremlin and plopped into the chair. It was understood that at such times the barber was to say not a word, just cut hair. But this morning, after a few snips he said: "Comrade Brezhnev what are you going to do about Poland?" No reply. Some minutes later: "Comrade Brezhnev, what about Poland?" Again no reply. Then, pretty soon: "Comrade Brezhnev, you've got to do something about Poland." At this Brezhnev jumps out of the chair and tears away the cloth: "What's all this about Poland?" and the barber says: "It makes my job so much easier," and Brezhnev screams: "What do you mean?" and the barber says: "Every time I mention Poland your hair stands straight up on end."

Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing

To have courage. To have honor. Is very beautiful.

Author Picture
First Name
James A.
Last Name
Michener, fully James Albert Michener
Birth Date
1907
Death Date
1997
Bio

Author, Winner of Pulitzer Prize for Fiction