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It was my 16th birthday - my mom and dad gave me my Goya classical guitar that day. I sat down, wrote this song, and I just knew that that was the only thing I could ever really do - write songs and sing them to people.
They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for one's country. But in modern war, there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason.
When I wrote 'The Giver,' it contained no so-called 'bad words.' It was set, after all, in a mythical, futuristic, and Utopian society. Not only was there no poverty, divorce, racism, sexism, pollution, or violence in the world of 'The Giver'; there was also careful attention paid to language: to its fluency, precision, and power.
For my first show at 'SNL', I wrote a Bill Clinton sketch, and during our read-through, it wasn't getting any laughs. This weight of embarrassment came over me, and I felt like I was sweating from my spine out. But I realized, 'Okay, that happened, and I did not die.' You've got to experience failure to understand that you can survive it.
Abstract painting is abstract. It confronts you. There was a reviewer a while back who wrote that my pictures didn't have any beginning or any end. He didn't mean it as a compliment, but it was.
I never even thought of myself as deadpan until someone wrote an article about me about a year after I was doing comedy. There was a paper called the 'Boston Phoenix,' and someone wrote a description of what I was doing and that's where I first saw 'deadpan.'
I have a graduate degree from Penn State. I studied at Penn State under a noted Hemingway scholar, Philip Young. I had an interest in thrillers, and it occurred to me that Hemingway wrote many action scenes: the war scenes in 'A Farewell to Arms' and 'For Whom the Bell Tolls' come to mind. But the scenes don't feel pulpy.
I did not write it. God wrote it. I merely did his dictation.
Harriet Beecher Stowe
When I was ten, I wrote an essay on what I would be when I grew up and said I would be a professional soccer player and a comedian in off season.
What is wonderful about great literature is that it transforms the man who reads it towards the condition of the man who wrote.
E. M. Forster
The Founders didn't mention political parties when they wrote the Constitution, and George Washington in essence warned us against them in his Farewell Address.
And that's why I wrote the book, because our country really needs to understand, if people in this nation understood what our foreign policy is really about, what foreign aid is about, how our corporations work, where our tax money goes, I know we will demand change.
I liked to write from the time I was about 12 or 13. I loved to read. And since I only spoke to my brother, I would write down my thoughts. And I think I wrote some of the worst poetry west of the Rockies. But by the time I was in my 20s, I found myself writing little essays and more poetry - writing at writing.
When I wrote 'The World Is Flat,' I said the world is flat. Yeah, we're all connected. Facebook didn't exist; Twitter was a sound; the cloud was in the sky; 4G was a parking place; LinkedIn was a prison; applications were what you sent to college; and Skype, for most people, was a typo.
One day, I got so disgusted that I sat down and wrote a list called 'Justin's list of things to do before he kicks the bucket.' I wrote it for myself and shortened it to 'Justin's Bucket List.' It was there on the wall, not as a story idea but as a motivational tool for myself, which actually ended up working pretty well.
It was that famous joke: What's the last thing the drummer said before he got kicked out of the band? 'Hey, I wrote a song.'
I was very, very religious. And of course I wrote about it in 'Night.' I questioned God's silence. So I questioned. I don't have an answer for that. Does it mean that I stopped having faith? No. I have faith, but I question it.
When I was in sixth grade there was a talent show, and I wrote my first sketch, 'The Dentist.' I played the dentist, and I had my friend play a patient. It was sort of what can go wrong at the dentist, and I just remember I had lots of fake blood and everything.
I think that Poe is so resonant because he represents that part of us that is in misery or sorrowful or wants to explore the darkness. He wrote a great story called 'The Imp of the Perverse' about the instinct towards self-destruction. Poe is the godfather of Goth literature and that whole movement.
The universe is a symphony of strings, and the mind of God that Einstein eloquently wrote about for thirty years would be cosmic music resonating through eleven-dimensional hyper space.
I'm an actor who they said was wrinkled and balding and everything else when I was in my early 30's. Most of the people who wrote that who thought they were younger than me are now bald and wrinkled.
I wrote '('Til) I Kissed You' about a girl I met in Australia. Her name was Lilian, and she was very, very inspirational. I was married, but... I wrote the song about her on the way back home.
The moment I was introduced to my wife, Emma, at a party I thought, here she is - and 20 minutes later I told her she ought to marry me. She thought I was as mad as a rat. She wouldn't even give me her telephone number - and she wrote in her diary: 'A funny little man asked me to marry him.'
For email, the old postcard rule applies. Nobody else is supposed to read your postcards, but you'd be a fool if you wrote anything private on one.
On 'Saturday Night Live,' I never really wrote. You know, I would just - I would let the writers cast me into the show. So my strength - and I put all my energies into performance. I just couldn't deal with the rejection, you know, getting your sketches cut, and it was hard for me.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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