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Willa Cather (1873 – 1947)


Among the most eminent American authors, known for her depictions of US life in her novels.
Willa Cather
I kept as still as I could. Nothing happened. I did not expect anything to happen. I was something that lay under the sun and felt it, like the pumpkins, and I did not want to be anything more. I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep.
Cather quotes
I could bear to suffer... so many have suffered. But why must it be like this? I have not deserved it. I have been true in friendship; I have faithfully nursed others in sickness... Why must I die like this, alone with my mortal enemy?
Cather
The heart of another is a dark forest, always, no matter how close it has been to one's own.




Cather Willa quotes
It is scarcely exaggeration to say that if one is not a little mad about Balzac at twenty, one will never live; and if at forty one can still take Rastignac and Lucien de Rubempre at Balzac's own estimate, one has lived in vain.
Cather Willa
Nearly all the Escapists in the long past have managed their own budget and their social relations so unsuccessfully that I wouldn't want them for my landlords, or my bankers, or my neighbors. They were valuable, like powerful stimulants, only when they were left out of the social and industrial routine.
Willa Cather quotes
I keep my mind on it. That's the whole trick, in so far as stage experience goes; keeping right there every second. If I think of anything else for a flash, I'm gone, done for. But at the same time, one can take things in with another part of your brain, maybe. It's different from what you get in study, more practical and conclusive. There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm. You learn the delivery of a part only before an audience.
Willa Cather
I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do.
Cather Willa quotes
Ain't it wonderful, Jim, how much people can mean to each other?
Cather
"Jim," she said earnestly, "if I was put down there in the middle of the night, I could find my way all over that little town; and along the river to the next town, where my grandmother lived. My feet remember all the little paths through the woods, and where the big roots stick out to trip you. I ain't never forgot my own country."
Cather Willa
No one can build his security upon the nobleness of another person. Two people, when they love each other, grow alike in their tastes and habits and pride, but their moral natures (whatever we may mean by that canting expression) are never welded. The base one goes on being base, and the noble one noble, to the end.
Willa Cather
The great pines stand at a considerable distance from each other. Each tree grows alone, murmurs alone, thinks alone. They do not intrude upon each other. The Navajos are not much in the habit of giving or of asking help. Their language is not a communicative one, and they never attempt an interchange of personality in speech. Over their forests there is the same inexorable reserve. Each tree has its exalted power to bear.




Willa Cather quotes
The "sayings" of a community, its proverbs, are its characteristic comment upon life; they imply its history, suggest its attitude toward the world and its way of accepting life. Such an idiom makes the finest language any writer can have; and he can never get it with a notebook. He himself must be able to think and feel in that speech it is a gift from heart to heart.
Willa Cather
Sometimes a neighbor whom we have disliked a lifetime for his arrogance and conceit lets fall a single commonplace remark that shows us another side, another man, really; a man uncertain, and puzzled, and in the dark like ourselves.
Cather quotes
From the time the Englishman's bones harden into bones at all, he makes his skeleton a flagstaff, and he early plants his feet like one who is to walk the world and the decks of all the seas. (16 September 1902)
Cather Willa
Writing ought either to be the manufacture of stories for which there is a market demand a business as safe and commendable as making soap or breakfast foods or it should be an art, which is always a search for something for which there is no market demand, something new and untried, where the values are intrinsic and have nothing to do with standardized values.
Cather Willa quotes
To note an artist's limitations is but to define his talent. A reporter can write equally well about everything that is presented to his view, but a creative writer can do his best only with what lies within the range and character of his deepest sympathies.
Willa Cather
I am sure I do not know why the beauty of Monte Carlo should not satisfy more than it does. The bluest of all seas is nowhere bluer than when you see it between the marble balustrades of the long white terrace before the casino, palms are nowhere greener than in that high garden which the mountain screen from every unkind breath, no colours could be more rich and various than those of the red and purple Alps that tower up behind the town, on whose summit such violent thunderstorms gather and break. But for me, at least, there was not at all the pleasure I had anticipated in this dazzling white and blue, these feathery palms and ragged Alps. ...I had a continual restless feeling that there was nothing at all real about Monte Carlo; that the sea was too blue to be wet, the casino too white to be anything but pasteboard, and that from their very greenness the palms must be cotton. ... in atmosphere and spirit the entire kingdom of Monaco is an extension of the casino.
Willa Cather quotes
The qualities of a second-rate writer can easily be defined, but a first-rate writer can only be experienced. It is just the thing in him which escapes analysis that makes him first-rate.
Willa Cather
On starlight nights I used to pace up and down those long, cold streets, scowling at the little, sleeping houses on either side, with their storm-windows and covered back porches. They were flimsy shelters, most of them poorly built of light wood, with spindle porch-posts horribly mutilated by the turning-lathe. Yet for all their frailness, how much jealousy and envy and unhappiness some of them managed to contain! The life that went on in them seemed to me made up of evasions and negations; shifts to save cooking, to save washing and cleaning, devices to propitiate the tongue of gossip. This guarded mode of existence was like living under a tyranny. People's speech, their voices, their very glances, became furtive and repressed. Every individual taste, every natural appetite, was bridled by caution. The people asleep in those houses, I thought, tried to live like the mice in their own kitchens; to make no noise, to leave no trace, to slip over the surface of things in the dark.
Cather Willa
People can be lovers and enemies at the same time, you know. We were... A man and woman draw apart from that long embrace, and see what they have done to each other... In age we lose everything; even the power to love.


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