Tennessee Williams Quotes

  1. All cruel people describe themselves as paragons of frankness.
  2. Enthusiasm is the most important thing in life.
  3. We are all sentenced to solitary confinement inside our own skins, for life.
  4. Mendacity is a system that we live in. Liquor is one way out an death’s the other.
  5. The only thing worse than a liar is a liar that’s also a hypocrite!
  6. To be free is to have achieved your life.
  7. Success and failure are equally disastrous.
  8. You can be young without money but you can’t be old without it.
  9. If I am no longer disturbed myself, I will deal less with disturbed people, but I don’t regret having concerned myself with them because I think most of us are disturbed.
  10. All your Western theologies, the whole mythology of them, are based on the concept of God as a senile delinquent.
  11. Why did I write? Because I found life unsatisfactory.
  12. Some mystery should be left in the revelation of character in a play, just as a great deal of mystery is always left in the revelation of character in life, even in one’s own character to himself.
  13. I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.
  14. I have always been pushed by the negative. The apparent failure of a play sends me back to my typewriter that very night, before the reviews are out. I am more compelled to get back to work than if I had a success.
  15. I have found it easier to identify with the characters who verge upon hysteria, who were frightened of life, who were desperate to reach out to another person. But these seemingly fragile people are the strong people really.
  16. Death is one moment, and life is so many of them.
  17. The most dangerous word in any human tongue is the word for brother. It’s inflammatory.
  18. There is a time for departure even when there’s no certain place to go.
  19. Luxury is the wolf at the door and its fangs are the vanities and conceits germinated by success. When an artist learns this, he knows where the danger is.
  20. Life is an unanswered question, but let’s still believe in the dignity and importance of the question.
  21. If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.
  22. Most of the confidence which I appear to feel, especially when influenced by noon wine, is only a pretense.
  23. When so many are lonely as seem to be lonely, it would be inexcusably selfish to be lonely alone.
  24. The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.
  25. Oh, you weak, beautiful people who give up with such grace. What you need is someone to take hold of you – gently, with love, and hand your life back to you.
  26. Luck is believing you’re lucky.
  27. A vacuum is a hell of a lot better than some of the stuff that nature replaces it with.
  28. We’re all of us guinea pigs in the laboratory of God. Humanity is just a work in progress.
  29. I can’t stand a naked light bulb, any more than I can a rude remark or a vulgar action.
  30. What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it’s curved like a road through mountains.
  31. We all live in a house on fire, no fire department to call; no way out, just the upstairs window to look out of while the fire burns the house down with us trapped, locked in it.
  32. Success is blocked by concentrating on it and planning for it… Success is shy – it won’t come out while you’re watching.
  33. The strongest influences in my life and my work are always whomever I love. Whomever I love and am with most of the time, or whomever I remember most vividly. I think that’s true of everyone, don’t you?
  34. In memory everything seems to happen to music.
  35. Hell is yourself and the only redemption is when a person puts himself aside to feel deeply for another person.
  36. All good art is an indiscretion.
  37. Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.
  38. For time is the longest distance between two places.
  39. All of us are guinea pigs in the laboratory of God. Humanity is just a work in progress.
  40. The future is called ‘perhaps’, which is the only possible thing to call the future. And the important thing is not to allow that to scare you.
  41. Don’t look forward to the day you stop suffering, because when it comes you’ll know you’re dead.
  42. Once you fully apprehend the vacuity of a life without struggle, you are equipped with the basic means of salvation.
  43. Life is all memory, except for the one present moment that goes by you so quickly you hardly catch it going.
  44. When I stop working the rest of the day is posthumous. I’m only really alive when I’m writing.
  45. A high station in life is earned by the gallantry with which appalling experiences are survived with grace.
  46. We have to distrust each other. It is our only defense against betrayal.

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