“Good advertising is written from one person to another. When it is aimed at millions it rarely moves anyone.”
Fairfax Mastic Cone (1903-1977) was a US businessman, advertising executive, and the former director of the American Association of Advertising Agencies

“The beginning is always today.”  Mary Woolstoncraft Shelley (1797-1851) – credited as a pioneer of early science fiction. Her best known work, the novel Frankenstein (Modern Prometheus), published in 1818, and then revised in 1831, blends philosophy with Gothic horror.


“Today you are You; that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is You-er than You.” Dr Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel, 1904-1991) Children’s author, poet, political cartoonist, illustrator, animator and film-maker


“We keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing new things because we are curious and curiosity leads us down new paths.” Walt Disney (1901-1966) American entrepreneur, writer, voice actor and film producer. Pioneer of the animation industry.


“Cleaning up the country cannot be the sole responsibility of sweepers. Do citizens have no role in this? We have to change this mindset.” Nanendra Damodandas Modi (1950 – ) Indian politician and currently the 14th Prime Minister of his country.


“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.” Joseph John Campbell (1904 – 1987) was an American professor of literature and a famed mythologist.  His best-known work is The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949), a book in which he discusses his theory of the archetypal hero


“Caged birds accept each other, but flight is what they long for.” Thomas Lanier Williams III (1911 – 1983), known by his pen name Tennessee Williams,  is considered to be among the three foremost playwrights of 20th-century American drama.


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead (1901-1978) was an American cultural anthropologist who made her mark in popular media as a speaker and author in the 1960s and 1970s. She is now regarded as the best known and most influential anthropologist of the 20th century. 


“Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” Barack Obama (1961-) American attorney and politician. Served as 44th President of the United States 2009-2017. Currently producing a Netflix series on Donald Trump’s impeachment. 


“Be brave. Remember that bravery is not the lack of fear but the ability to move forward in spite of fear.” Anonymous

“It’s only forever, not long at all.”  David Bowie, Labyrinth Musical Score. English singer, songwriter and actor, born David Robert Jones (1947-2016). The film Labyrinth (1986) in which he appeared and his associated musical soundtrack now have a cult following. 


“Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky.” [We fell them, turn them into paper, demonstrate our nothingness.] Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931) was born in Lebanon. His best-known book is The Prophet, 26 prose poetry fables written in English, and originally published in 1923 by the American publisher Alfred A. Knopf. 


“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” (John Winston Ono Lennon (1940-1980) Liverpool-born English singer, songwriter, poet, artist and peace activist who co-founded The Beatles)


“Synchronistic events, to me, point towards an organizational principle of the universe and suggest that our connection with a higher order of consciousness is never far from the surface of ordinary awareness.” (SAGE-ING WHILE AGE-ING, Atria Books, 2007) Shirley MacLaine (1934-) is an American-born award-winning stage and screen actress and activist, and the best-selling author of ten books who, over the years, has firmly established herself as a ‘fearless, iconoclastic thinker and seeker of truth’. She now divides her time between homes in California and New Mexico.


“Writers collect stories of rituals: John Cheever putting on a jacket and tie to go down to the basement, where he kept a desk near the boiler room. Keats buttoning up his clean white shirt to write in, after work.” Mona Simpson (1957-) is an acclaimed American novelist who in her twenties reunited with her older brother and Apple Inc founder Steve Jobs. The pair, despite their long separation as children, developed a close bond as adults. She was reportedly with Jobs when he died in 2011. At his funeral, Simpson delivered a eulogy praising her brother’s passion for his work and for his family.


“There are two kinds of guilt: the kind that drowns you until you’re useless, and the kind that fires your soul to purpose.” Formerly an editor for the Washington Post, Sabaa Tahir is a Pakistani-American young-adult fiction writer,  best known for her 2015 New York Times bestselling novel An Ember in the Ashes,  from which this is an extract.


“If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to ­music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.” Dame Hilary Mantel (1952-) much lauded and applauded English writer of personal memoir, short stories and historical fiction. Booker Prize winner in 2009 and 2013

“Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all.” Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American poet and short story writer, much influenced by his home city of Los Angeles


“Britney Spears became my talisman. I became obsessed with Britney T-shirts. I felt it would bring me luck. And it did.” Madonna Ciccone (1958) – is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman. Regarded as the Queen of Pop since the 1980s, she pushes the boundaries of lyrical content in mainstream popular music, as well as visual imagery in music videos and on stage.


“Publishing a book is like stuffing a note into a bottle and hurling it into the sea. Some bottles drown, some come safe to land, where the notes are read and then possibly cherished, or else misinterpreted, or else understood all too well by those who hate the message. You never know who your readers might be.” Margaret Atwood (1939 – ) is a Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, inventor, and environmental activist


“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” Michael Michalko is one of the most highly acclaimed creativity experts in the world and author of the best sellers Thinkertoys (A Handbook of Business Creativity), ThinkPak (A Brainstorming Card Deck),Cracking Creativity (The Secrets Of Creative Genius), and Creative Thinkering (Putting Your Imagination to Work).


“Modern life is, for most of us, a kind of serfdom to mortgage, job and the constant assault to consume. Although we have more time and money than ever before, most of us have little sense of control over our own lives. It is all connected to the apathy that means fewer and fewer people vote. Politicians don’t listen to us anyway. Big business has all the power; religious extremism all the fear. But in the garden or allotment we are king or queen. It is our piece of outdoors that lays a real stake to the planet.” Monty Don, My Roots: A Decade in the Garden. Montagu Denis Wyatt “Monty” Don (1955-) is a British television presenter, writer and speaker on horticulture, best known for presenting the BBC television series Gardeners’ World.


“I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back.” Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (1854 –1900) Irish playwright, novelist, essayist, poet and wit.


“Write even when you don’t want to, don’t much like what you are writing, and aren’t writing particularly well.” Agatha Christie (1890-1976) British crime novelist, short story writer, dramatist and poet. Credited in the Guinness Book of Records as the best-selling novelist in the world, with over two billion books sold, and third best seller after The Bible and Shakespeare.


“I wonder if the sap is stirring yet,

If wintry birds are dreaming of a mate,

If frozen snowdrops feel as yet the sun
And crocus fires are kindling one by one:
Sing, robin, sing;
I still am sore in doubt concerning Spring.

I wonder if the springtide of this year
Will bring another Spring both lost and dear;
If heart and spirit will find out their Spring,
Or if the world alone will bud and sing:
Sing, hope, to me;
Sweet notes, my hope, soft notes for memory.

The sap will surely quicken soon or late,
The tardiest bird will twitter to a mate;
So Spring must dawn again with warmth and bloom,
Or in this world, or in the world to come:
Sing, voice of Spring,
Till I too blossom and rejoice and sing.” Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), English poet and member of the pre-Raphaelite movement.


““In that distant beginning season, Sun Man’s warm magic flowed over all the land. Whenever he raised his arms, it was day. whenever he lowered them, it was night. The Bee People and the Elephant People and the Tic People loved the rhythm of Sun Man’s light. Their faces crinkled with pleasure in his heat.

But inside the dreamtime, Sun Man grew old. His back grew stiff and his knee joints ached. He rose later and later each morning. He napped soon after breakfast and went to bed in the afternoon.

“What’s going on here?” complained Grandfather Mantis. “I’m not getting heat anymore.” Grandfather Mantis sent the Bird People to find out. The Bird People returned, rumpled and solemn. Darkness was everywhere, even though it was supposed to be daytime. “Sun Man is getting old,” they explained. “This shining all the time is getting too much for him.”

“Well, I’m old,” snapped Grandfather Mantis. “Doesn’t stop me.”

His wife raised her eyebrows but said nothing.” Carolyn McVickar Edwards, The Return of the Light: Twelve Tales from Around the World for the Winter Solstice


“The writer can only explore the inner space of his characters by perceptively navigating his (or her) own.” Peter De Vries (1910 – 1993), an American editor and novelist known for his satiric wit.


“Adrian, parting branches to pick redcurrants from bushes planted over a century ago: ‘Oh, there are so many hiding in here!’

Me, walking the labyrinth alongside, ‘There are so many hiding out here too!’

I think about this as I continue and complete the walk. Shall I write about this? Do I need to explain further? Always writing far too much, I choose not.” Summer, 2015


“A poet told me that when her boys were small, she used to put her typewriter in the playpen and sit there and work while they tore up the house around her. Of course, she was an exceptionally energetic and resourceful person.” Ellen Gilchrist is an American novelist, short story writer, and poet. She won a National Book Award for her 1984 collection of short stories, Victory Over Japan.


“I had a dream that I went to live with an elephant, a rather fractious one. I made clothes for it. At first its trainer, who was a sort of concierge, thought I wouldn’t be able to handle the animal. But, in fact, the animal and I became quite fond of each other, used to each other. The place in which the elephant lived was a castle, or a prison on top of a mountain, and shaped like the elephant’s quarters in the zoo. No-one else could handle this elephant, but the keeper assumed I could.

The elephant is my book.” Lynn Freed (born 18 July 1945, Durban, South Africa) is an author and academic known for her work as a novelist, essayist, and writer of short stories


“7 June. Bad. Wrote nothing today. Tomorrow no time.” Franz Kafka (1883-1924). Czech-born German-language writer of novels and short stories; a major figure in the history of European literature


“When I was young, I pretended to know everything… One of the most useful discoveries I ever made was how easy it is to say: ‘I don’t know’.” W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965). British playwright, novelist and short story writer; reputedly the highest paid of his generation


“An idea has to have some dirt on its shoes, or it’s just air.” Marvin Bell (b.1937), American poet and teacher (http://www.poetrykit.org/iv98/bell.htm)


“When I was young, I expected people to give me more than they could – continuous friendship, permanent emotion. Now I have learned to expect less of them than they can give – a silent companionship. And their emotions, their friendship, and noble gestures keep their full miraculous value in my eyes: wholly the fruit of grace.” Albert Camus (1913-1960) – French Nobel Prize winning author, journalist and Absurdist philosopher  


“Jessie (aged three): Don’t read me a story. Tell me one with your mouth.” Charles Kenneth Williams (born 1936), American poet, critic and translator

“I am going to write because I cannot help it.” Charlotte Bronte (1816-1854), English poet and novelist

“Thank you for finding me while I am still alive.” Natsuko Kuroda, 75, on hearing she had been awarded the famed Akutagawa Prize, Japan’s most prestigious bi-annual literary award, 2013

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Maya Angelou: http://mayaangelou.com/

“Writing is not life, but I think that sometimes it can be a way back to life.” Stephen King, On Writing http://www.examiner.com/article/stephen-king-s-son-owen-to-join-father-at-writers-festival-toronto

“If you wait for inspiration, you’re not a writer, but a waiter.” Anon.