William Goldman · 608 pages
Rating: (4.2K votes)
“Writing is finally about one thing: going into a room alone and doing it. Putting words on paper that have never been there in quite that way before. And although you are physically by yourself, the haunting Demon never leaves you, that Demon being the knowledge of your own terrible limitations, your hopeless inadequacy, the impossibility of ever getting it right. No matter how diamond-bright your ideas are dancing in your brain, on paper they are earthbound.”
“You don't want to be rude but you have to be careful - there are a lot of strange people out there.
(Goldman attributes this quote to Cliff Robertson.)”
“Nobody knows anything...... Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what's going to work. Every time out it's a guess and, if you're lucky, an educated one.”
“The writing is never what takes the most time. It’s trying to figure what you’re going to put down that fills the days. With anger at your own ineptitude, with frustration that nothing is happening inside your head, with panic that maybe nothing will ever happen inside your head, with blessed little moments that somehow knit together so that you can begin to visualize a scene.”
“I don’t think most people realize—and there’s no reason they should—the amount of demeaning garbage you have to take if you want a career in the arts. I mean, going off to med school is something you can say with your head high. Or being a banker or going into insurance or the family business—no problem. But the conversations I had with grown-ups after college… “So you’re done with school now, Bill.” “That’s right.” “So what’s next on the agenda?” Pause. Finally I would say it: “I want to be a writer.” And then they would pause. “A writer.” “I’d like to try.” Third and final pause. And then one of two inevitable replies: either “What are you going to do next?” or “What are you really going to do?” That dread double litany… What are you going to do next?… What are you really going to do?… What are you going to do next?… What are you really going to do…?”
“It’s an accepted fact that all writers are crazy; even the normal ones are weird.”
“Writing is finally about one thing: going into a room alone and doing it. Putting words on paper that have never been there in quite that way before. And although you are physically by yourself, the haunting Demon never leaves you, that Demon being the knowledge of your own terrible limitations, your hopeless inadequacy, the impossibility of ever getting it right. No matter how diamond-bright your ideas are dancing in your brain, on paper they are earthbound. If you’re trying a screenplay, you know it’s never going to be Bergman. If it’s a novel, well, what kind of a novelist can you hope to be when Dostoevski was there before you. And Dickens and Cervantes and all the other masters that led you to the prison of your desk. But if you’re a writer, that’s what you must do, and in order to accomplish anything at all, at the rock bottom of it all is your confidence. You tell yourself lies and you force them into belief: Hey, you suckers, I’m going to do it this one time. I’m going to tell you things you never knew. I’ve—got—secrets!”
“The moment that judgement stops through acceptance of what it is, you are free of the mind. You have made room for love, for joy, for peace.”
“Instead of asking, 'What should a woman do—what is her role?' it would be far more helpful to ask, 'What is a woman—what is her design?' and, 'Why did God place Woman in our midst?”
“Forget Romeo and Juliet. This was much closer to The Taming of the Shrew.”
“In order for this to happen, your entire frame of reference will have to change, and you will be forced to surrender many things that you now scarcely know you have.”
“What will happen will happen. There is time for miracles until there is no more time, but time has no end.”
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