Inspirational Quotes from James A. Michener

Scientists dream about doing great things. Engineers do them.

James A. Michener

Hawaii and Fiji are two of the best island groups in the world to visit as a vacationer. The great hotels, the fascinating local people, the exciting history of the two contrasting island groups, and the unmatched scenery make these two of the most enticing stopovers.

James A. Michener

I attended seminars where many social issues were discussed abstractly, outside the pressures of an immediate situation, and there I developed certain attitudes which permitted me to face the real thing when it came along.

James A. Michener

The permanent temptation of life is to confuse dreams with reality. The permanent defeat of life comes when dreams are surrendered to reality.

James A. Michener

If you type adeptly with 10 fingers, you’re typing faster than your mind is working.

James A. Michener

If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.

James A. Michener

For this is the journey that men and women make, to find themselves. If they fail in this, it doesn’t matter much else what they find.

James A. Michener

Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.

James A. Michener

I missed a whole cycle of childhood, but I’ve never used it as a device for self-pity.

James A. Michener

If a man happens to find himself, he has a mansion which he can inhabit with dignity all the days of his life.

James A. Michener

There are no insoluble problems. Only time-consuming ones.

James A. Michener

I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.

James A. Michener

I know the world of opera so intimately: historical sweep, sharply defined characters, not too rational an explanation of what’s going on. It’s a feast.

James A. Michener

America is a nation with many flaws that only the stupid would deny, but with hopes so vast that only the cowardly would refuse to acknowledge them.

James A. Michener

My work as a naval officer in World War II enabled me to serve on 49 different South Pacific islands so that I came to know the area about as well as anyone.

James A. Michener

They were a group of two dozen nurses completely surrounded by 100,000 unattached American men.

James A. Michener

Russia, France, Germany and China. They revere their writers. America is still a frontier country that almost shudders at the idea of creative expression.

James A. Michener

I am the product of the American education system. It is a system that has always been on the lookout for bright boys and girls. It spotted me when I was 14, and I owe a tremendous debt to my alma mater.

James A. Michener

I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.

James A. Michener

I was a Navy officer writing about Navy problems and I simply stole this lovely Army nurse and popped her into a Navy uniform, where she has done very well for herself.

James A. Michener

The arrogance of the artist is a very profound thing, and it fortifies you.

James A. Michener

The really great writers are people like Emily Bronte who sit in a room and write out of their limited experience and unlimited imagination.

James A. Michener

I think the crucial thing in the writing career is to find what you want to do and how you fit in. What somebody else does is of no concern whatever except as an interesting variation.

James A. Michener

An age is called Dark not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it.

James A. Michener

I was brought up in the great tradition of the late nineteenth century: that a writer never complains, never explains and never disdains.

James A. Michener

It takes courage to know when you ought to be afraid.

James A. Michener

It takes courage to know when you ought to be afraid.

James A. Michener

Whatever I did, there was always someone around who was better qualified. They just didn’t bother to do it.

James A. Michener

I can’t remember how old I was, maybe 13, 14, and to see these fellows and hear their stories and to see life come to such a drab ending – my God, a poorhouse in those days was something. You would have to be inert not to respond to it.

James A. Michener

I’m just a guy up on a hill writing.

James A. Michener

If I were a young man today, I might be lured into the moviemaking industry. You can really make a statement there.

James A. Michener

Very early on in life, I decided the hell with it: material things weren’t for me. Christmas would come, and other kids would have all these presents, and it wouldn’t bother me a bit.

James A. Michener

When I first pitched my Navy tent on the island of Espiritu Santo to the north of Vila, the natives on nearby Malakula were cannibals. Today, they have representation in the United Nations.

James A. Michener

Honest to God, I do all the research on these books myself.

James A. Michener

If there was a turning point for me, it was ‘The Bridges at Toko-Ri.’ It is a very fine short novel. But it gave me very little satisfaction. Really. I decided I wasn’t going to go down that avenue.

James A. Michener

Whenever I start a book, I swear it’s going to be a short one. But then it’s, ‘Who was his grandfather? And how did he get there in the first place? And what kind of animals is he chasing?’

James A. Michener

I have only one bit of advice to the beginning writer: Be sure your novel is read by Rodgers and Hammerstein.

James A. Michener