William Saroyan Love Quotes and Sayings
#1 One Day in the Afternoon of the World, 1964
1. One day in the afternoon of the world, glum death will come and sit in you, and when you get up to walk, you will be as glum as death, but if you’re lucky, this will only make the fun better and the love greater.
#2 First Visit to Armenia, 1935
2. I love Armenian people — all of them. I love them because they are a part of the enormous human race, which of course I find simultaneously beautiful and vulnerable.
#3 Inhale and Exhale, 1936
3. I love Armenia and I love America and I belong to both, but I am only this: an inhabitant of the earth, and so are you, whoever you are.
#4 Here Comes There Goes You Know Who, 1961
4. In those days, there was something more to the world than there is now. Well, my kids were little, let’s put it that way, and of course if you like your kids, if you love them from the moment they begin, you yourself begin all over again, in them, with them, and so there is something more to the world again.
#5 Places Where I’ve Done Time, 1972
5. I was four years old, and had long since reasoned that it was folly to expect the big things from people. It was enough to get the little things. The biggest thing, of course, was love, the nearness of somebody you love when you need somebody to be near.
Excerpt from Wikipedia: William Saroyan (/səˈrɔɪən/; August 31, 1908 – May 18, 1981) was an Armenian-American novelist, playwright, and short story writer. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1940, and in 1943 won the Academy Award for Best Story for the film The Human Comedy. When the studio rejected his original 240-page treatment, he turned it into a novel, The Human Comedy.
Sayings by William Saroyan
#1 Preface, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze, 1934
1. The most solid advice for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.
#2 Three Times Three, 1936
2. Genius is play, and man’s capacity for achieving genius is infinite, and many may achieve genius only through play.
#3 The Fifty-Yard Dash
3. The race was over. I was last, by ten yards. Without the slightest hesitation I protested and challenged the runners to another race, same distance, back. They refused to consider my proposal, which proved, I knew, that they were afraid to race me. I told them they knew very well I could beat them.
#4 Letter to Robert E. Sherwood, 1946)
4. It is impossible not to notice that our world is tormented by failure, hate, guilt, and fear.
#5 One Day in the Afternoon of the World, 1964
5. I began to write in the first place because I expected everything to change, and I wanted to have things in writing the way they had been. Just a little things, of course. A little of my little.
#6 The William Saroyan Reader, 1958
6. The writer is a spiritual anarchist, as in the depth of his soul every man is. He is discontented with everything and everybody. The writer is everybody’s best friend and only true enemy — the good and great enemy. He neither walks with the multitude nor cheers with them. The writer who is a writer is a rebel who never stops.
#7 Short Drive, Sweet Chariot, 1966
7. I am interested in madness. I believe it is the biggest thing in the human race, and the most constant.
#8 Memories of the Depression, 1981
8. Everything and everybody is sooner or later identified, defined, and put in perspective. The truth as always is simultaneously better and worse than what the popular myth-making has it.
#9-10 A Cold day
9. If you can’t write a decent short story because of the cold, write something else. Write anything. Write a long letter to somebody.
10. What I intended to do was to burn a half dozen of my books and keep warm, so that I could write my story, but when I looked around for titles to burn, I couldn’t find any.
#11-12 Seventy Thousand Assyrians, 1934
11. I see life as one life at one time, so many millions simultaneously, all over the earth.
12. This is what drives a young writer out of his head, this feeling that nothing is being said.
#13-14 The Resurrection of a Life, 1935
13. There is no such thing as a soldier. I see death as a private event, the destruction of the universe in the brain and in the senses of one man, and I cannot see any man’s death as a contributing factor in the success or failure of a military campaign.
14. Every man in the world is better than someone else and not as good as someone else.
#15-19 Here comes, there goes, you know who [S]
15. I took to writing at an early age to escape from meaninglessness, uselessness, unimportance, insignificance, poverty, enslavement, ill health, despair, madness, and all manner of other unattractive, natural, and inevitable things.
16. I have managed to conceal my madness fairly effectively, and as far as I know it hasn’t hurt anybody badly, for which I am grateful.
17. The best thing we have is sleep, of course, and what is sleep except the putting aside of everything tentative for another interval of final and everlasting truth? Sleep isn’t dying, but it is certainly keeping in touch with it.
18. If you want to be welcome wherever you go, if you want people to smile when they see you, if you want them to marvel at everything you say, you can learn how to be that kind of man, woman, or child instead of the unfortunate man, woman, or child you have needlessly been for so long.
19. I care so much about everything that I care about nothing.
#20-21 The Time of Your Life
20. In the time of your life, live — so that in that good time there shall be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life your life touches. Seek goodness everywhere, and when it is found, bring it out of its hiding-place and let it be free and unashamed. Place in matter and in flesh the least of the values, for these are things that hold death and must pass away. Discover in all things that which shines and is beyond corruption. Encourage virtue in whatever heart it may have been driven into secrecy and sorrow by the shame and terror of the world. Ignore the obvious, for it is unworthy of the clear eye and the kindly heart. Be the inferior of no man, nor of any man be the superior. Remember that every man is a variation of yourself. No man’s guilt is not yours, nor is any man’s innocence a thing apart. Despise evil and ungodliness, but not men of ungodliness or evil. These, understand. Have no shame in being kindly and gentle, but if the time comes in the time of your life to kill, kill and have no regret. In the time of your life, live — so that in the wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it.
21. Don’t forget that some things count more than other things.
#22-23 The Human Comedy,1943
22. You must remember always to give, of everything you have. You must give foolishly even. You must be extravagant. You must give to all who come into your life. Then nothing and no one shall have power to cheat you of anything, for if you give to a thief, he cannot steal from you, and he himself is then no longer a thief. And the more you give, the more you will have to give.
23. I don’t expect you to understand anything I’m telling you. But I know you will remember this — that nothing good ever ends. If it did, there would be no people in the world — no life at all, anywhere. And the world is full of people and full of wonderful life.
#24 The Bicycle Rider In Beverly Hills, 1952
24. I can’t hate for long. It isn’t worth it.
#25 Sons Come and Go, Mothers Hang in Forever, 1976
25. I love to laugh. Laughter to me is being alive. I have had rotten times, and I have laughed through them. Even in the midst of the very worst times I have laughed.
#26 Obituaries, 1979
26. I did my best, and let me urge you to do your best, too. Isn’t it the least we can do for one another?
#27-29 My Heart’s in the Highlands, 1939 [S]
27. You can fool all of the people all of the time, but you can fool only the fool in them, which is no great feat of heroism, and nothing to get any blue ribbon for.
28. Don’t you see, poetry must be read to be poetry. It may be that one reader is all that I deserve. If this is so, I want that reader to be you.
29. It is better to be a good human being than to be a bad one. It is just naturally better.
#30 Explained to International News Service columnist Phyllis Battelle, Quoted in Newsweek, Volume 50, Issues 19-26, 1957 [S]
30. It’s such a long drawn-out affair that you can’t have candy every minutes of it. Therefore, I think the greatest happiness you can have is knowing that you do not necessarily require happiness. That is, there comes a time when the ups and downs do not drive you to despair. That’s as contented as you can get.
#31 Three Plays, Harcourt, Brace, 1940
31. What art needs is greater men, and what politics needs is better men.
#32 The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse
32. It wasn’t morning yet, but it was summer and with daybreak not many minutes around the corner of the world it was light enough for me to know I wasn’t dreaming.
Unsourced Quotes Attributed to William Saroyan
The below quote was attributed to William Saroyan in Wikiquote to be in My Heart’s in the Highlands, but I was not able to find these quotes in My Heart’s in the Highlands.
1. Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom through failure. We get very little wisdom from success, you know.