Ho Ho Ho

We’ve successfully navigated the winter solstice here in the northern hemisphere, and, even as you read this, the sunlight is returning and the days are getting longer.

If you’re idly surfing, scroll down for a random sampling of my favorite quotes and quips. In no particular order. With apologies for any duplications, misattributions, etc.

And finally, go here for the news on the inaugural season of the Wolf Trap Opera Studio program for undergraduate singers.

And that’s my holiday week placeholder.

See you in 2007!


Live your questions now, and perhaps, even without knowing it, you will live along some distant day into your answers. Rilke

And if I’m a great teacher, who will know it? You, your students, God. Not a bad audience, that. Sir Thomas Moore

Nobody can do two things at once, you know. Lewis Carroll

Chance favors the prepared mind. Louis Pasteur

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Where there is great love there are always miracles. Willa Cather

When once you have tasted flight you will always walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward; for there you have been and there you will always be. Leonardo da Vinci

Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people. George Bernard Shaw

If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable. Seneca

The basis of optimism is sheer terror. Oscar Wilde

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go. Oscar Wilde

Not all who wander are lost. Tolkien

There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. Leonard Cohen

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. Emerson

Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work. Mark Twain

Patience, n. A minor form of despair, disguised as a virtue.” Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary, 1911

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. Aristotle

Generosity is not giving me that which I need more than you do, but it is giving me that which you need more than I do. Kahlil Gibran

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. F. Scott Fitzgerald

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be. Douglas Adams

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of the dream.
Wandering by lone sea breakers, and sitting by desolate streams.
World losers and world forsakers, for whom the pale moon gleams.
Yet we are movers and the shakers of the world forever it seems. Arthur O’Shaunessey

Whether you believe you can or you believe that you can’t, you are right. Henry Ford

To the man who only has a hammer in the toolkit, every problem looks like a nail. Abraham Maslow

He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever. Chinese Proverb

Use what talent you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best. Henry Van Dyke

I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is to try to please everyone. Bill Cosby

When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. Franklin D. Roosevelt

Fall seven times, stand up eight. Japanese Proverb

A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water. Eleanor Roosevelt

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Einstein

I am not afraid of storms, for I have learned how to sail my ship. Louisa May Alcott

Art is either plagiarism or revolution. Paul Gauguin

I haven’t understood a bar of music in my life; but I have felt it. Stravinsky

The old is not good just because it’s past
Nor is the new supreme because we live with it;
And never yet a man felt greater joy than he could bear or truly comprehend.
Your task it is, amid confusion, rush, and noise
To grasp the lasting, calm, and meaningful,
And finding it anew, to hold and treasure it. Hindemith

Acting is a masochistic form of exhibitionism. It is not quite the occupation of an adult. Sir Laurence Olivier

Music is the lyre and opera is the underworld of passion and romance that everyone desires but which daily life rarely offers. Robertson Davies

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. Scott Adams

If ya ain’t got it in ya, ya can’t blow it out. Louis Armstrong

Practice means to perform, over and over again in the race of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired. Martha Graham

The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work. Émile Zola

When told by a violinist that a difficult passage in the violin concerto was virtually unplayable, Stravinsky is supposed to have said: “I don’t want the sound of someone playing this passage, I want the sound of someone trying to play it!”

“Whom the gods wish to destroy, they give unlimited resources. Twyla Tharp

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is on a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others. Martha Graham

It is important that we are occasionally, perhaps even frequently, depressed by books, challenged by films, shocked by paintings, maybe even disturbed by music. But do they have to do all these things all the time? Can’t we let them console, uplift, inspire, move, cheer? Please? Just every now and then, when we’ve had a really shitty day? Nick Hornby

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Blog