Hunger I was to experience many times, but it was reassuring to know others had survived, although most written accounts of hunger are by those who never experienced it. Knut Hamsun is the only one I can think offhand who wrote with any knowledge of the experience. In the movies, one always sees a hungry man stuffing himself with food when first he gets a chance. That's ridiculous, of course, for a truly hungry man eats very slowly, savouring every bite, and is almost overcome by having food at last. Moreover, hunger shrinks the stomach and one's capacity is slight. On the second and third day, of course, there is no satisfying him.
A mistake constantly made by those who should know better is to judge people of the past by our standards rather than their own. The only way men or women can be judged is against the canvas of their own time.
People are forever asking me where I get my ideas, but one has only to listen, to look, and to live with awareness. As I have said in several of my stories, all men look, but so few can see. It is all there, waiting for a passerby.
(on the qualities of those who live the pioneer life). Dignity. They all had dignity, a certain serenity and pride that was theirs completely. They might be poor, they might be eking...a precarious living, but they had dignity.
They knew where they had been and what they had done, and were content. Something was theirs, something within themselves that neither time passing nor man nor hard times could take from them. I have worked beside then, eaten at their tables, sat beside them in sunlight and moonlight and firelight. I never knew one of the old breed who did not have it.
"An idea upon which attention is peculiarly concentrated is an idea which tends to realize itself.' -Charles Baudouin.
(on education) We teach a child to creep when he should be running: education becomes a task rather than an excitement.
We do not at present educate people to have think but, rather, to have opinions, and that is something altogether different.
I studied purely for the love of learning.
A person or a situation can only be understood against the background of its own time.
Writing, however, is a learning process. One never knows enough, and one is never good enough.