odds

Art is a way of saying what it means to be alive, and the most salient feature of existence is the unthinkable odds against it. For every way that there is of being here, there are an infinity of ways of not being here. Historical accident snuffs out whole universes with every clock tick. Statistics declare us ridiculous. Thermodynamics prohibits us. Life, by any reasonable measure, is impossible, and my life, this, here, now, infinitely more so. Art is a way of saying, in the face of all that impossibility, just how worth celebrating it is to be able to say anything at all.

The artist and the multitude are natural enemies. They always will be, both ways. The artist is an enemy of the multitude, and the multitude is the enemy of the artist. And when the disguise comes off and they're both standing facing one another, they're just there at odds end.

Every day, a framed poster of a mountain climber given to me by my daughter Trudy reminds me to ‘climb with care and confidence.’ I wholeheartedly believe in this philosophy, which is why in all my years in the restaurant business, I have never tried to overextend. I’m satisfied stepping from one plateau to the next, making sure we’re doing everything right before moving on. That way of thinking has allowed us to grow steadily into a 1.5 billion-dollar business with more than 1,200 restaurants, while responding to the needs of people around us. I know the best way to grow our business is to climb with care and confidence.

You can know what's in your life when you know what's in your heart.

Although I cannot move and I have to speak through a computer, in my mind I am free.

What shakes the eye but the invisible? Running from God's the longest race of all.

I am constantly torn between the attitude of the conscientious journalist who is a recorder and interpreter of the facts and of the creative artist who often is necessarily at poetic odds with the literal facts.

I can’t stand these damn shows on museum walls with neat little frames, where you look at the images as if they were pieces of art. I want them to be pieces of life!

While the scientist sees everything that happens in one point of space, the poet feels everything that happens in one point of time.

We are related organically, and we have to live that relationship. To be attentive to the dynamics of the inner being is not creating a network of escapes to avoid responsibility. It is not continuing a false superiority that I am sensitive and you are not. It is simply recognizing that our personal relationships and collective relationships are miserable affairs, and that these relationships stimulate fear and anxieties and throw us on the defensive. However much we yearn for peace, emotionally we are not mature enough for peace, and our immaturity affects everything we do, every action we take, even the most worthy of actions.

We have moved very far away from love in our collective lives, dangerously near destruction, close to starvation. Perhaps we have the wisdom now, the awareness that love is as essential to human beings as the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. Love is the beauty, the delicate mystery, the soul of life, the radiant unspoiled purity that brings spontaneous joy, songs of ecstasy, poems, paintings, dances, dramas to celebrate its indescribable, never-to-be-fully-captured bliss of being. Can we bring love into the marketplaces, into the homes, the schools, the places of business, and transform them completely? You may call it a utopian challenge, but it is the only one that will make a significant difference or that is fully worthy of the potential of whole human beings.

Needless to say, the business of living interferes with the solitude so needed for any work of the imagination. Here's what Virginia Woolf said in her diary about the sticky issue: I've shirked two parties, and another Frenchman, and buying a hat, and tea with Hilda Trevelyan, for I really can't combine all this with keeping all my imaginary people going.

Not that she was striking; not beautiful at all; there was nothing picturesque about her; she never said anything specially clever; there she was, however; there she was.

The lake of my mind, unbroken by oars, heaves placidly and soon sinks into an oily somnolence.’ That will be useful.

There's no doubt in my mind that I've found out how to begin at this age to say in my own voice and that interests me so that I can go ahead without any praise.

We may enjoy our room in the tower, with the painted walls and the commodious bookcases, but down in the garden there is a man digging who buried his father this morning, and it is he and his like who live the real life and speak the real language.

What the fissure through which one sees disaster? The circle is unbroken; the harmony complete. Here is the central rhythm; here the common mainspring. I watch it expand, contract; and then expand again. Yet I am not included.

Here we bless your simplicity but do not envy your folly.

But now will canker sorrow eat my bud And chase the native beauty from his cheek, And he will look as hollow as a ghost, As dim and meagre as an ague's fit, And so he'll die; and rising so again, When I shall meet him in the court of heaven I shall not know him. The Life and Death of King John (Constance at III, iv)

O, woe is me to have seen what I have seen, see what I see!