B-17 Flying Fortress Quotes


“Without the B-17, we might have lost the war.”

General Carl Spaatz, Commander, US Strategic Air Forces in Europe, 1944

“She was a Stradivarius of an airplane…”

Colonel Robert Morgan, pilot of the Memphis Belle

“The plane can be cut and slashed almost to pieces by enemy fire and bring its crew home.”

Wally Hoffman, B-17 Pilot, 8th Air Force[1]

“This B-17 met a head-on attack by three Focke Wulf Fw 190 fighters. The gunners exploded two of them, and the top turret poured a stream of shells into the cockpit of the third. With a dead man at the controls, the fighter screamed in, and at a closing speed of 550 miles per hour smashed head-on into the number-three engine.

The tremendous impact of the crash tore off the propeller. It knocked the heavy bomber completely out of formation as though a giant hand has swatted a fly. The fighter cartwheeled crazily over the B-17.

It cut halfway through the wing, and then sliced a third of the way through the horizontal stabilizer. The top and ball turrets immediately jammed, the radio equipment was smashed to wreckage, and all the instruments “went crazy.” Pieces of metal from the exploding, disintegrating Focke Wulf tore through the fuselage, and a German gun barrel buried itself in the wall between the radio room and the bomb bay.

Crews of nearby bombers watched the collision. They saw a tremendous explosion, and the bomber hurtling helplessly out of control, tumbling as she fell. They reported when they returned to base that the Flying Fortress had blown up, and that the crew must be considered dead.

The old Queen hadn’t blown up, and the crew was far from dead. The pilots struggled wildly in the cockpit, and somehow between them, managed to bring their careening bomber back under control. The gunners shot down a fourth fighter that had closed in to watch the proceedings.

And then they brought her all the way back to England, and scraped her down for a belly landing on the runway.

Postscript: not a man was injured.

Martin Caidin, in his book Black Thursday[2]


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Writing Quotes

Quotes about Writing.


  • After being Turned Down by numerous Publishers, he had decided to write for Posterity.
    o George Ade, “Fables in Slang”, 1899

  • The tendinous part of the mind, so to speak, is more developed in winter; the fleshy, in summer. I should say winter had given the bone and sinew to literature, summer the tissues and the blood.
    o John Burroughs, The Snow-Walkers

  • Many books require no thought from those who read them, and for a very simple reason; they made no such demand upon those who wrote them.
    o Charles Caleb Colton, Lacon, 1820

  • Please write again soon. Though my own life is filled with activity, letters encourage momentary escape into others lives and I come back to my own with greater contentment.
    o Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, ‘A Woman of Independent Means’

  • You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.
    o Neil Gaiman. Where do you get your ideas? Essay. (1997).

  • Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.
    o Neil Gaiman. somewhat less sinister ducks Blog entry. (23 April 2004).

  • Well personally I like bad writing. I know this because no matter what I like, someone tells me that [it’s] badly written. I like bad acting too.
    o David Johnston, Usenet article (2006)

  • You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair–the sense that you can never completely put on the page what’s in your mind and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page.
    o Stephen King “On Writing” 2000

  • I have made this [letter] longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter.
    o Blaise Pascal, “Lettres provinciales”, letter 16, 1657

  • Thus, in a real sense, I am constantly writing autobiography, but I have to turn it into fiction in order to give it credibility.
    o Katherine Paterson, The Spying Heart, 1989

  • Any writer, I suppose, feels that the world into which he was born is nothing less than a conspiracy against the cultivation of his talent
    o James Baldwin “Autobiographical Notes” (1952); republished in Notes of a Native Son (1955)

  • I am a galley slave to pen and ink.
    o Honore de Balzac letter to Madame Zulma Carraud, 2 July 1832

  • The free-lance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps.
    o Robert Benchley, quoted by James Thurber in The Bermudian (November 1950).

  • It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.
    o Robert Benchley, quoted in Nathaniel Benchley Robert Benchley, ch. 1 (1955).

  • When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing.
    o Enrique Jardiel Poncela (Guillemets, Terri. The Quote Garden. Retrieved on 2003-01-07.)


  • Learn as much by writing as by reading.
    o Lord Acton

  • But it takes an awful long time to not write a book!
    o Douglas Adams

  • Science fiction is no more written for scientists than ghost stories are written for ghosts.
    o Brian Aldiss

  • You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you’re working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success – but only if you persist.
    o Isaac Asimov

  • Great literature must spring from an upheaval in the author’s soul. If that upheaval is not present then it must come from the works of any other author which happens to be handy and easily adapted.
    o Robert Benchley

  • Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time… The wait is simply too long.
    o Leonard Bernstein

  • About the most originality that any writer can hope to achieve honestly is to steal with good judgment.
    o Josh Billings

  • I take the view, and always have, that if you cannot say what you are going to say in twenty minutes you ought to go away and write a book about it.
    o Lord Brabazon

  • That so many writers have been prepared to accept a kind of martyrdom is the best tribute that flesh can pay to the living spirit of man as expressed in his literature. One cannot doubt that the martyrdom will continue to be gladly embraced. To some of us, the wresting of beauty out of language is the only thing in the world that matters.
    o Anthony Burgess

  • No one ever committed suicide while reading a good book, but many have tried while trying to write one.
    o Robert Byrne

  • I’ve only written a tenth of what I know– and they’re already screaming.
    o Albert Camus

  • It is not a bad idea to get in the habit of writing down one’s thoughts. It saves one having to bother anyone else with them.
    o Isabel Colegate

  • Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.
    o Cyril Connolly

  • The cure for writer’s cramp is writer’s block.
    o Inigo DeLeon

  • I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.
    o Joan Didion

  • The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it.
    o Benjamin Disraeli

  • Learn to write well, or not to write at all.
    o John Dryden

  • Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.
    o T. S. Eliot

  • All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.
    o F. Scott Fitzgerald

  • Getting even is one reason for writing.
    o William Gass

  • I write because I hate. A lot. Hard.
    o William Gass

  • The natural state of all writing is mediocrity.
    o Ira Glass

  • If any man wish to write in a clear style, let him be first clear in his thoughts; and if any would write in a noble style, let him first possess a noble soul.
    o Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

  • The first draft of anything is always shit.
    o Ernest Hemingway

  • The way you define yourself as a writer is that you write every time you have a free minute. If you didn’t behave that way you would never do anything.
    o John Irving

  • Writing is as much a work in progress as the writing itself.
    o Alexander Keyes

  • All of us learn to write in the second grade. Most of us go on to greater things.
    o Bobby Knight

  • Writing is no trouble, you just jot down ideas as they occur to you. The jotting is simplicity enough – it is the occurring which is difficult.
    o Stephen Leacock

  • Your life story would not make a good book. Don’t even try.
    o Fran Lebowitz

  • Being a real writer means being able to do the work on a bad day.
    o Norman Mailer

  • A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.
    o Thomas Mann

  • Writers should be read, but neither seen nor heard.
    o Daphne du Maurier

  • If you steal from one author, it’s plagiarism; if you steal from many, it’s research.
    o Wilson Mizner

  • An author is a fool who, not content with boring those he lives with, insists on boring future generations.
    o Charles de Montesquieu

  • You ask me why I do not write something….I think one’s feelings waste themselves in words, they ought all to be distilled into actions and into actions which bring results.
    o Florence Nightingale, in Cecil Woodham-Smith, 1951

  • When a man is tired of pens, he is tired of life.
    o Stephen Overbury

  • True ease in writing comes from art, not chance. As those move easiest who have learn’d to dance.
    o Alexander Pope

  • Words are like leaves; and where they most abound, much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.
    o Alexander Pope

  • Don’t write until you’re 25. Don’t write for the high school yearbook. Don’t write for the college literary magazine. Don’t write for any of that stuff; you never had any experiences, you don’t know anything. Just shut up.
    o Joe Queenan

  • Writers are made, not born.
    o Ayn Rand

  • Beneath the rule of men entirely great, The pen is mightier than the sword.
    o Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Richelieu

  • And lo, though I travel through the valley of the archetypes, I shall fear no evil, for I know that the author can’t kill me off for at least another 150 pages, no matter how stupid or trite I become, or he ruins the book.
    o Chuq Von Rospach, 1992

  • The only reason for being a professional writer is that you can’t help it.
    o Leo Rosten

  • Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader will be sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words or he will certainly misunderstand them.
    o John Ruskin

  • The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think.
    o Edwin Schlossberg

  • Every writer is a frustrated actor who recites his lines in the hidden auditorium of his skull.
    o Rod Serling

  • Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it.
    o Jesse Stuart

  • Writing is easy – until you become a professional.
    o Leonid S. Sukhorukov

  • How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.
    o Henry David Thoreau

  • The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!
    o Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes


  • Words are like eye glasses, blurring everything that they do not make clear.
    o Unknown

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    Screenwriting Quotes


  • [Screenwriting] is no more complicated than old French torture chambers, I think. It’s about as simple as that.
    o Writer/Director James L. Brooks in the documentary Dreams on Spec

  • It seems to me it’s the hardest thing ’cause you’re starting from nothing and creating something. Everybody else is interpreting what you’ve written. Everybody else is an interpretive artist. Even the best of them. Stanley Kubrick was an interpretive artist. The best actors in the world are interpreting what’s on the page, and they use it as a springboard to something else, but if it’s not there, there’s nothing to spring from. So the writer is the only person who’s taking absolutely nothing, and 120 pages of it, and dirtying it up in such a way that it’s gonna gross hundreds of millions of dollars and make a lot of people happy.
    o Screenwriter Paul Guay in the documentary Dreams on Spec

  • Well, Jack Warner may have been celebrated for calling writers “Schmucks with Underwoods,” but 20 years earlier Irving Thalberg … said, “The most important person in the motion picture process is the writer, and we must do everything in our power to prevent them from ever realizing it.”
    o Screenwriter Steven de Souza in the documentary Dreams on Spec

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    Poetry Quotes

    Quotes concerning Poetry

  • “Honesty is the best poetry.” ~ Gregory Alan Elliott
  • “A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom.” ~ Robert Frost
  • “A poet dares be just so clear and no clearer… He unzips the veil from beauty, but does not remove it. A poet utterly clear is a trifle glaring.” ~ E. B. White
  • “A poet looks at the world the way a man looks at a woman.” ~ Wallace Stevens
  • “An undevout poet is an impossibility” ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • “My life is the poem I would have writ/ But I could not both live and utter it” ~ Henry David Thoreau
  • “(In Poetry) growing old is dying young” ~ Edna St. Vincent Milay
  • “All poets are superior/ To ‘Rithmetic’s best guys./ They work with all the Alphabet/ Not just the ‘X’ and ‘y'” ~ J. Byron Kennedy
  • “A poet must leave traces of his passage, not proof.” ~ Rene Char
  • “A poet’s work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep.” ~ Salman Rushdie
  • “Always be a poet, even in prose.” ~ Charles Baudelaire
  • “As a poet I hold the most archaic values on earth . . . the fertility of the soil, the magic of animals, the power-vision in solitude, the terrifying initiation and rebirth, the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe. I try to hold both history and the wilderness in mind, that my poems may approach the true measure of things and stand against the unbalance and ignorance of our times.” ~ Gary Snyder
  • “Children and lunatics cut the Gordian knot which the poet spends his life patiently trying to untie.” ~ Jean Cocteau
  • “Even when poetry has a meaning, as it usually has, it may be inadvisable to draw it out… Perfect understanding will sometimes almost extinguish pleasure.” ~ A. E. Housman
  • “Everything one invents is true, you may be perfectly sure of that. Poetry is as precise as geometry.” ~ Gustave Flaubert
  • “Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.” ~ T. S. Eliot
  • “He lives the poetry that he cannot write. The others write the poetry that they dare not realise.” ~ Oscar Wilde
  • “He who draws noble delights from sentiments of poetry is a true poet, though he has never written a line in all his life.” ~ George Sand
  • “I think one of poetry’s functions is not to give us what we want… [T]he poet isn’t always of use to the tribe. The tribe thrives on the consensual. The tribe is pulling together to face the intruder who threatens it. Meanwhile, the poet is sitting by himself in the graveyard talking to a skull.” ~ Heather McHugh
  • “In Poetry I have a few axioms, and you will see how far I am from their center. I think Poetry should surprise by a fine excess and not by Singularity–it should strike the Reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a Remembrance-l” Its touches of Beauty should never be half way thereby making the reader breathless instead of content: the rise, the progress, the setting of imagery should like the Sun come natural natural too him–shine over him and set soberly although in magnificence leaving him in the Luxury of twilight–but it is easier to think what Poetry should be than to write it–and this leads me on to another axiom. That if Poetry comes not as naturally as the Leaves to a tree it had better not come at all.” ~ John Keats, Letter to John Taylor (27 Feb 1818)
  • “Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason.” ~ Novalis
  • “Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary.” ~ Kahlil Gibran
  • “Poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted.” ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • “Poetry is all that is worth remembering in life.” ~ William Hazlitt
  • “Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.” ~ Leonard Cohen
  • “Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.” ~ Rita Dove
  • “Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.” ~ Plato
  • “Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.” ~ T. S. Eliot
  • “Poetry is not an expression of the party line. It’s that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public, that’s what the poet does.” ~ Allen Ginsberg
  • “Poetry is ordinary language raised to the Nth power. Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words.” ~ Paul Engle
  • “Poetry is plucking at the heartstrings, and making music with them.” ~ Dennis Gabor
  • “Poetry is the art of uniting pleasure with truth.” ~ Samuel Johnson
  • “Poetry is the journal of the sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air. Poetry is a search for syllables to shoot at the barriers of the unknown and the unknowable. Poetry is a phantom script telling how rainbows are made and why they go away.” ~ Carl Sandburg
  • “Poetry is the one place where people can speak their original human mind. It is the outlet for people to say in public what is known in private.” ~ Allen Ginsberg
  • “Poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess about what is seen during the moment.” ~ Carl Sandburg
  • “Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal which the reader recognizes as his own.” ~ Salvatore Quasimodo
  • “Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.” ~ Edgar Allan Poe
  • “Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.” ~ Thomas Gray
  • “Poetry is what gets lost in translation.” ~ Robert Frost
  • “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.” ~ Robert Frost
  • “Poetry… should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance.” ~ John Keats
  • “Science is for those who learn; poetry, for those who know.” ~ Joseph Roux
  • “The poem is a little myth of man’s capacity of making life meaningful. And in the end, the poem is not a thing we see-it is, rather, a light by which we may see-and what we see is life.” ~ Robert Penn Warren
  • “The poet doesn’t invent. He listens.” ~ Jean Cocteau
  • “The poet is in the end probably more afraid of the dogmatist who wants to extract the message from the poem and throw the poem away than he is of the sentimentalist who says, “Oh, just let me enjoy the poem.” ~ Robert Penn Warren
  • “There is poetry as soon as we realize that we possess nothing.” ~ John Cage
  • “There’s no money in poetry, but then there’s no poetry in money, either.” ~ Robert Graves
  • “To have great poets, there must be great audiences.” ~ Walt Whitman
  • “Writing poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric.” ~ Theodor Adorno.
  • “You can tear a poem apart to see what makes it tick… You’re back with the mystery of having been moved by words. The best craftsmanship always leaves holes and gaps… so that something that is not in the poem can creep, crawl, flash or thunder in.” ~ Dylan Thomas
  • “You will find poetry nowhere unless you bring some of it with you.” ~ Joseph Joubert
  • “…I’m a poetry-skipper myself. I don’t like to boast, but I have probably skipped more poetry than any other person of my age and weight in this country — make it any other two persons. This doesn’t mean that I hate poetry. I don’t feel that strongly about it. It only means that those who wish to communicate with me by means of the written word must do so in prose.” ~ Will Cuppy, How to Get From January to December, 1951
  • “Poetry is the best of any language.” Nathaniel Wenger
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    Photography Quotes

    Photography is…

  • “an austere and blazing poetry of the real” — Ansel Adams
  • “the recording of strangeness and beauty with beguiling precision” — Sebastian Smee
  • “the preservation of the world” — Eliot Porter
  • “a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality” — Alfred Stieglitz
  • “the dominant and fascinating and only folk art of the twentieth century” — Sir John Rotherstein
  • “(a means by which we)…learn to see the ordinary” — David Bailey
  • “a contest between a photographer and the presumptions of approximate and habitual seeing. The contest can be held anywhere …” — John Szarkowski
  • “my meditation” — Czar Anthony Lopez

    A camera…

  • “is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera” — Dorothea Lange
  • “has interesting ideas of its own” — John Szarkowski.

    A photograph is…

  • “The basic material of photographs is not intrinsically beautiful. It’s not like ivory or tapestry or bronze or oil on canvas. You’re not supposed to look at the thing, you’re supposed to look through it. It’s a window.” — John Szarkowski.

    From the history of photography

    “Photography as a fad is well-nigh on its last legs, thanks principally to the bicycle craze” — Alfred Stieglitz, in the American Annual of Photography 1897.

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    Narratology Quotes


  • The hero [of a narrative] must be male, regardless of the gender of the text-image, because the obstacle, whatever its personification, is morphologically female….The hero, the mythical subject, is constructed as human being and as male; he is the active principle of culture, the establisher of distinction, the creator of differences. Female is what is not susceptible to transformation, to life or death; she (it) is an element of plot-space, a topos, a resistance, matrix and matter. And remember, the universe should always be considered a whole-sort-of-general-mish-mash.
    o Lauretis, Teresa de (1984). “Desire in Narrative”, Alice Doesn’t, p.118-119. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0253203163.

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    Literature Quotes


  • That doesn’t matter. Don’t you give up on this [library] card. Because books can be solid gold. Yeah, the great ones have gotten us through the nights for centuries. Just give a writer an hour to hook you and if he can’t wish him the best of luck and find someone else.
    o Anthony Hopkins, Hearts in Atlantis movie


  • [Literature is] an organised violence committed on ordinary speech.
    o Roman Jakobson

  • From the moment I picked up your book until I laid it down I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend to read it.
    o Groucho Marx on Dawn Ginsbergh’s Revenge by Sidney J. Perelman

  • Henry James writes fiction as if it were a painful duty.
    o Oscar Wilde

  • If my books had been any worse I should not have been invited to Hollywood, and if they had been any better I should not have come.
    o Raymond Chandler

  • It’s not that he ‘bites off more than he can chew’ but he chews more than he bites off.
    o Clover Adams on Henry James

  • The covers of this book are too far apart.
    o Ambrose Bierce

  • We have met too late. You are too old for me to have any effect on you.
    o James Joyce to W.B. Yeats

  • Where were you fellows when the paper was blank?
    o Fred Allen, after writers had heavily edited his script

  • Why don’t you write books people can read?
    o Mrs. Nora Joyce to her husband, James Joyce

  • Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good.
    o Samuel Johnson

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