Fiona Apple’s letter to a young fan, 2000
One’s own free unfettered choice, one’s own caprice, however wild it may be, one’s own fancy worked up at times to frenzy - is that very “most advantageous advantage” which we have overlooked, which comes under no classification and against which all systems and theories are continually being shattered to atoms. And how do these wiseacres know that man wants a normal, a virtuous choice? What has made them conceive that man must want a rationally advantageous choice? What man wants is simply independent choice, whatever that independence may cost and wherever it may lead. And choice, of course, the devil only knows what choice.
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes From The Underground
I am amazed that truth really does triumph over deception. Despite the fact that we are physically here, we are freer than everyone sitting across from us on the side of the prosecution. We can say anything we want and we say everything we want.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, closing statement at the Moscow Khamovniki District Court, 2012
This land is your land and this land is my land, sure, but the world is run by those that never listen to music anyway.
Hugo Ball at Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich, 1916
There is the grand truth about Nathaniel Hawthorne. He says NO! in thunder; but the Devil himself cannot make him say yes. For all men who say yes, lie; and all men who say no — why, they are in the happy condition of judicious, unincumbered travellers in Europe; they cross the frontiers into Eternity with nothing but a carpet-bag — that is to say, the Ego. Whereas those yes-gentry, they travel with heaps of baggage, and, damn them! they will never get through the Custom House.
Herman Melville, in a letter to Nathaniel Hawthorne
If it works, it’s out of date.
At twenty-four she left all those opinions behind and went for the first time to live in Texas, where there were no trees to paint and no one to tell her how not to paint them. In Texas there was only the horizon she craved. In Texas she had her sister Claudia with her for a while, and in the late afternoons they would walk away from town and toward the horizon and watch the evening star come out. “That evening star fascinated me,” she wrote. “It was in some way very exciting to me. My sister had a gun, and as we walked she would throw bottles into the air and shoot as many as she could before they hit the ground. I had nothing but to walk into nowhere and the wide sunset space with the star. Ten watercolors were made from that star.” In a way one’s interest is compelled as much by the sister Claudia with the gun as by the painter Georgia with the star, but only the painter left us this shining record. Ten watercolors were made from that star.
Joan Didion, “Georgia O’Keeffe”, 1976
Richard Neville, Jim Anderson and Felix Dennis during Oz magazine’s obscenity trial, 1970
That’s what art does, that’s what it’s for — to show you that what you think can be erased, cancelled, turned on its head by something you weren’t prepared for — by a work, by a play, a song, a scene in a movie, a painting, a collage, a cartoon, an advertisement — something that has the power that reaches you far more strongly than it reaches the person standing next to you, or even anyone else on Earth — art that produces a revelation that you might not be able to explain or pass on to anyone else, a revolution that you desperately try to share in your own words, in your own work.