Influences, inspirations and ideals.

A self-portrait by the painter Vincent Van Gogh, showing himself with a bandaged ear. He is also wearing a hat with a fir trim and a heavy dark green coat, buttoned up at the top. Behind him there is a yellow wall with a Japanese print on it.

Vincent Van Gogh

“As far as I can judge, I am not actually mentally ill” Vincent Van Gogh, shortly after cutting off part of his ear and giving it to a prostitute.

A black and white photo of the writer George Bernard Shaw. He is a white man with dark hair, swept back and centre parted. He has a moustache and a long beard. he is wearing buttoned-up jacket.

George Bernard Shaw

“I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”

Also: “My way of joking is to tell the truth. It’s the funniest joke in the world.”

A black and white photo of the writer Oscar Wilde. He is a white man with long. dark hair parted in the middle. He is leaning against a wall wearing  a dark smoking jacket with a quilted satin collar, and dark trousers tucked into knee-length black boots.

Oscar Wilde

“A work of art is useless as a flower is useless. A flower blossoms for its own joy. We gain a moment of joy by looking at it. That is all that is to be said about our relations to flowers. Of course man may sell the flower, and so make it useful to him, but this has nothing to do with the flower. It is not part of its essence. It is accidental. It is a misuse.”

A monochrome engraving of the writer Henry David Thoreau. He is white man with his dark hair parted on one side. He has a heavy moustache and a long beard. He is wearing a coat with heavy lapels, a white shirt, and a bow tie or cravat.

Henry David Thoreau

Pretty much all of Walden, but especially:

“It is never too late to give up our prejudices… What everybody echoes or in silence passes by as true to-day may turn out to be falsehood to-morrow, mere smoke of opinion, which some had trusted for a cloud that would sprinkle fertilizing rain on their fields.”

“The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well?”

“No man ever stood the lower in my estimation for having a patch in his clothes; yet I am sure that there is greater anxiety, commonly, to have fashionable, or at least clean and unpatched clothes, than to have a sound conscience… I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.”

“Be rather the Mungo Park, the Lewis and Clark and Frobisher, of your own streams and oceans; explore your own higher latitudes—with shiploads of preserved meats to support you, if they be necessary; and pile the empty cans sky-high for a sign. Were preserved meats invented to preserve meat merely? Nay, be a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought. Every man is the lord of a realm beside which the earthly empire of the Czar is but a petty state, a hummock left by the ice.”

 “I have a great deal of company in my house; especially in the morning, when nobody calls.”

A black and white photo of the writer Dorothy Parker. She is a white woman with dark hair tied back, a fringe at the front. She is wearing a patterned blouse and is holding a pencil to her mouth as if she is thinking about what she will writer next.

Dorothy Parker

“Writing is the art of applying the ass to the seat.”

“I’d like to have money. And I’d like to be a good writer. These two can come together, and I hope they will, but if that’s too adorable, I’d rather have money.”

A black and white photo of the writer Simone de Beauvoir. She is a white woman with her dark hair tied up on the top of her head. She is smiling, wearing a knitted top, beads and dangling earrings.

Simone de Beauvoir

“I realised that even though we went on talking till Judgement Day, I would still find the time all too short.”

A black and white photo of the physicist Erwin Schrödinger. He is a middle aged white man with dark, swept back hair, round glasses, and wearing a white collared shirt, a dark bow tie and pale suit jacket.

Erwin Schrödinger

“If you cannot– in the long run– tell everyone what you have been doing, your doing has been worthless.”