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"Herman Melville said that artists have to take a dive, and either you hit your head on a rock and you split your skull and you die, or that blow to the head is so inspiring that you come back up and you do the best work you ever did. But you have to take the dive, and you do not know what the result will be."

- Maurice Sendak

"To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself."

- Søren Kierkegaard

"Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand."

- Henry Miller

"If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?"

- T.S. Eliot

"Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly."

- Franz Kafka
What's So Funny?: The Science of Humor

"‘Talent only functions when it’s supported by a tough, unyielding mental and physical focus. All it takes is one screw in your brain to come loose and fall off, or some connection in your body to break down, and the concentration in your body vanishes, like the dew at dawn … The human body is that fragile. It’s a complex system that can be damaged by something very trivial. And in most cases when it’s damaged, it can’t easily be restored. A cavity or stiff shoulder you can get over, but there are a lot of things you can’t get past. If talent is the foundation you rely on, and yet it’s so unreliable that you have no idea what’s going to happen to it the next minute, what meaning does it have?’
‘Talent might be ephemeral,’ Haida replied. ‘And there aren’t many people who can sustain it their whole lives. But talent makes a huge spiritual leap possible. It’s an almost universal, independent phenomenon that transcends the individual.’"

- Haruki Marukami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage 
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