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Top 61 Wallace Stegner Quotes (NOVELIST)

Top 10 Most Famous Wallace Stegner Quotes (BEST)

“Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed… We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in.”

Wallace Stegner
Most things break, including hearts. The lessons of life amount not to wisdom, but to scar tissue and callus.
Most things break, including hearts. The lessons of life amount not to wisdom, but to scar tissue and callus.
Be proud of every scar on your heart, each one holds a lifetime’s worth of lessons.
Be proud of every scar on your heart, each one holds a lifetime’s worth of lessons.
Whatever landscape a child is exposed to early on, that will be the sort of gauze through which he or she will see all the world afterwards.
Whatever landscape a child is exposed to early on, that will be the sort of gauze through which he or she will see all the world afterwards.
Home is a notion that only nations of the homeless fully appreciate and only the uprooted comprehend.
Home is a notion that only nations of the homeless fully appreciate and only the uprooted comprehend.

“You can plan all you want to. You can lie in your morning bed and fill whole notebooks with schemes and intentions. But within a single afternoon, within hours or minutes, everything you plan and everything you have fought to make yourself can be undone as a slug is undone when salt is poured on him. And right up to the moment when you find yourself dissolving into foam you can still believe you are doing fine.”

Wallace Stegner
Wisdom... is knowing what you have to accept.
Wisdom… is knowing what you have to accept.
It is an easy mistake to think that non-talkers are non-feelers.
It is an easy mistake to think that non-talkers are non-feelers.
Faith can reclaim deserts as well as move mountains.
Faith can reclaim deserts as well as move mountains.
Some are born in their place, some find it, some realize after long searching that the place they left is the one they have been searching for.
Some are born in their place, some find it, some realize after long searching that the place they left is the one they have been searching for.

15 Inspirational Wallace Stegner Quotes (WILDERNESS)

“It is the beginning of wisdom when you recognize that the best you can do is choose which rules you want to live by, and it’s persistent and aggravated imbecility to pretend you can live without any.”

Wallace Stegner
We simply need that wild country available to us... For it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, a part of the geography of hope.
We simply need that wild country available to us… For it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, a part of the geography of hope.
National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.
National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.
Youth hasn't got anything to do with chronological age. It's times of hope and happiness.
Youth hasn’t got anything to do with chronological age. It’s times of hope and happiness.
Creation is a knack which is empowered by practice, and like almost any skill, it is lost if you don't practice it.
Creation is a knack which is empowered by practice, and like almost any skill, it is lost if you don’t practice it.
If you wanted something, you planned for it, worked for it, and made it happen.
If you wanted something, you planned for it, worked for it, and made it happen.
You can't retire to weakness - you've got to learn to control strength.
You can’t retire to weakness – you’ve got to learn to control strength.
Talent can't be taught, but it can be awakened.
Talent can’t be taught, but it can be awakened.

“I gave my heart to the mountains the minute I stood beside this river with its spray in my face and watched it thunder into foam, smooth to green glass over sunken rocks, shatter to foam again. I was fascinated by how it sped by and yet was always there; its roar shook both the earth and me.”

Wallace Stegner
He used to tell me, 'Do what you like to do. It'll probably turn out to be what you do best.'
He used to tell me, ‘Do what you like to do. It’ll probably turn out to be what you do best.’
I shall be richer all my life for this sorrow.
I shall be richer all my life for this sorrow.
Poetry ought to be a by-product of living, and you can't have a by-product unless you've got a product first.
Poetry ought to be a by-product of living, and you can’t have a by-product unless you’ve got a product first.
We’re all tougher than we think we are. We’re fixed so that almost anything heals.
We’re all tougher than we think we are. We’re fixed so that almost anything heals.
Habit is my true, my wedded wife.
Habit is my true, my wedded wife.
We are fossils in the making.
We are fossils in the making.

10 Wallace Stegner Quotes on Friendship and Relationship

“It is love and friendship, the sanctity and celebration of our relationships, that not only support a good life, but create one. Through friendships, we spark and inspire one another’s ambitions.”

Wallace Stegner
There it was, there it is, the place where during the best time of our lives friendship had its home and happiness its headquarters.
There it was, there it is, the place where during the best time of our lives friendship had its home and happiness its headquarters.
You'll do what you think you want to do, or what you think you ought to do. If you're very lucky, luckier than anybody I know, the two will coincide.
You’ll do what you think you want to do, or what you think you ought to do. If you’re very lucky, luckier than anybody I know, the two will coincide.
There is a sense in which we are all each other's consequences.
There is a sense in which we are all each other’s consequences.

“[Friendship] is a relationship that has no formal shape, there are no rules or obligations or bonds as in marriage or the family, it is held together by neither law nor property nor blood, there is no glue in it but mutual liking. It is therefore rare.”

Wallace Stegner
Our last impression of her as she turned the corner was that smile, flung backward like a handful of flowers.
Our last impression of her as she turned the corner was that smile, flung backward like a handful of flowers.
In a way, it is beautiful to be young and hard up. With the right wife, and I had her, deprivation became a game.
In a way, it is beautiful to be young and hard up. With the right wife, and I had her, deprivation became a game.
Do we respond only to people who seem to find us interesting
Do we respond only to people who seem to find us interesting?
You married me… but you didn't marry what you could make out of me.
You married me… but you didn’t marry what you could make out of me.
It is dangerous for a bride to be apologetic about her husband.
It is dangerous for a bride to be apologetic about her husband.

18 Wallace Stegner Quotes About Life that will Make You Think

“Touch. It is touch that is the deadliest enemy of chastity, loyalty, monogamy, gentility with its codes and conventions and restraints. By touch we are betrayed and betray others … an accidental brushing of shoulders or touching of hands… hands laid on shoulders in a gesture of comfort that lies like a thief, that takes, not gives, that wants, not offers, that awakes, not pacifies. When one flesh is waiting, there is electricity in the merest contact.”

Wallace Stegner
No life goes past so swiftly as an eventless one, no clock spins like a clock whose days are all alike.
No life goes past so swiftly as an eventless one, no clock spins like a clock whose days are all alike.
The brook would lose its song if we removed the rocks.
The brook would lose its song if we removed the rocks.
Towns are like people. Old ones often have character, the new ones are interchangeable.
Towns are like people. Old ones often have character, the new ones are interchangeable.
When we’re young, we take so casually every sacrifice offered by the old.
When we’re young, we take so casually every sacrifice offered by the old.

“We made plenty of mistakes, but we never tripped anybody to gain an advantage, or took illegal shortcuts when no judge was around. We have all jogged and panted it out the whole way.”

Wallace Stegner
Wherever you find the greatest good, you will find the greatest evil, because evil loves paradise as much as good.
Wherever you find the greatest good, you will find the greatest evil, because evil loves paradise as much as good.
Nothing is so safe as habit, even when habit is faked.
Nothing is so safe as habit, even when habit is faked.
There is no way to step off the tread mill. It is all treadmill.
There is no way to step off the tread mill. It is all treadmill.
Children from a big family have the benefit of a certain amount of neglect.
Children from a big family have the benefit of a certain amount of neglect.

“I know no way of discounting the doctrine that when you take something you want, and damn the consequences, then you had better be ready to accept whatever consequences ensue.”

Wallace Stegner
Hope was always out ahead of fact, possibility obscured the outlines of reality.
Hope was always out ahead of fact, possibility obscured the outlines of reality.
She had rooms in her mind that she would not look into.
She had rooms in her mind that she would not look into.
Satisfying natural desires is fine, but natural desires have a way of being both competitive and consequential.
Satisfying natural desires is fine, but natural desires have a way of being both competitive and consequential.

“You have to get over the color green; you have to quit associating beauty with gardens and lawns; you have to get used to an inhuman scale; you have to understand geological time.”

Wallace Stegner
His clock was set on pioneer time. He met trains that had not yet arrived, he waited on platforms that hadn't yet been built, beside tracks that might never be laid.
His clock was set on pioneer time. He met trains that had not yet arrived, he waited on platforms that hadn’t yet been built, beside tracks that might never be laid.
If you're going to get old, you might as well get as old as you can get.
If you’re going to get old, you might as well get as old as you can get.
There is one thing above all others that I despise. It is fingers, especially female fingers, messing around in my guts. My guts, like Victorian marriage, are private.
There is one thing above all others that I despise. It is fingers, especially female fingers, messing around in my guts. My guts, like Victorian marriage, are private.

6 Wallace Stegner Quotes on Writing and Learning

Hard writing makes easy reading.
Hard writing makes easy reading.
A writer is an organism that will go on writing even after its heart has been cut out.
A writer is an organism that will go on writing even after its heart has been cut out.
A teacher enlarges people in all sorts of ways besides just his subject matter.
A teacher enlarges people in all sorts of ways besides just his subject matter.
Well, there's so much to read, and I'm so far behind.
Well, there’s so much to read, and I’m so far behind.
We write to make sense of it all.
We write to make sense of it all.
In my experience, the world's happiest man is a young professor building bookcases.
In my experience, the world’s happiest man is a young professor building bookcases.

2 Wallace Stegner Quotes on Poems

Poems ought to reflect the work the poet does, and his relationships with other people, and family, and institutions, and organization.
Poems ought to reflect the work the poet does, and his relationships with other people, and family, and institutions, and organization.
A poem isn't selfish. It speaks to people.
A poem isn’t selfish. It speaks to people.

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