Pete Hamill

  • “I don’t ask for the meaning of the song of a bird or the rising of the sun on a misty morning. There they are, and they are beautiful.”
  • “The culture of drink endures because it offers so many rewards: confidence for the shy, clarity for the uncertain, solace to the wounded and lonely, and above all, the elusive promises of friendship and love.”
  • “There are 10,000 books in my library, and it will keep growing until I die. This has exasperated my daughters, amused my friends and baffled my accountant. If I had not picked up this habit in the library long ago, I would have more money in the bank today; I would not be richer.”
  • “Don’t tell me about the world. Not today. It’s springtime and they’re knocking baseball around fields where the grass is damp and green in the morning and the kids are trying to hit the curve ball.”
  • “In the end, the only thing the true New Yorker knows about New York is that it is unknowable.”
  • “For those without money, the road to the treasure house of the imagination begins at the public library.”
  • “My ambition was to embrace those general qualities that Ernest Hemingway, a former newspaperman, once said should be present in all good books: ‘the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was.'”
  • “Writing is the hardest work in the world not involving heavy lifting.”
  • “Just like that. Gone forever. They will not grow old together. They will never live on a beach by the sea, their hair turned white, dancing in a living room to Billie Holiday or Nat Cole. They will not enter a New York club at midnight and show the poor hip-hop fools how to dance. They will not chuckle together over the endless folly of the world, its vanities and stupid ambitions. They will not hug each other in any chilly New York dawn. Oh, Mary Lou. My baby. My love.”
  • “One thing is certain: for many of those who came back from WWII, the music of Frank Sinatra was no consolation for their losses. Some had lost friends. Some had lost wives and lovers. All had lost portions of their youth. More important to the Sinatra career the girls started marrying the men who came home. Bobby socks vanished from many closets. The girls who wore them had no need anymore for imaginary lovers; they had husbands. Nothing is more embarrassing to grownups than the passions of adolescence, and for many, Frank Sinatra was the passion.”
  • “They all laughed. I drew their pictures and they asked for copies and I handed them out as if they were my tickets to the show. In the Navy Yard, I could drink with men because I worked with men; in the Parkview, I could drink with men because I drew their pictures. The world was a grand confusion. Finally, when I was bleary, when my hand wouldn’t do what I wanted it to do, I went home. I would lie alone in the dark, feeling that I was a character in a story that had lost its plot.”
  • “Human beings want to know too much abut each other, and that’s why there are so many lies.”
  • “What libraries give you is all three tenses – the past tense – the present tense in which we live and the future that we can only imagine. These places have teachers who are living and dead and we are lucky to have them. If I sit here and read Aristotle, he is speaking to me across a thousand years – more than a thousand years. That sense that I am in the company of the great greatest people who ever lived is a humbling experience but a liberating experience.”
  • “Say what you will about him Ed Koch is still the best show in town.”
  • “The library is a place where most of the things I came to value as an adult had their beginnings.”
  • “The only way to fight nostalgia is to listen to somebody else’s nostalgia”
  • “He tried to imagine the sound of the color red.”
  • “It’s odd being an American now. Most of us are peaceful, but here we are again, in our fifth major war of this century.”
  • “There is something elegantly sinister about the Rolling Stones. They sit before you at a press conference like five unfolding switchblades; their faces set in rehearsed snarls; their hair studiously unkempt and matted; their clothes part of some private conceit; and the way they walk and talk and the songs they sing all become part of some long mean reach for the jugular.”
  • “The best newspapermen I know are those most thrilled by the daily pump of city room excitements; they long fondly for a good murder; they pray that assassinations, wars, catastrophes break on their editions.”
  • “More than anything, it’s a game of innocence. Politicians may come and go, but they always get booed at the ballpark.”
  • “There is a growing feeling that perhaps Texas is really another country, a place where the skies, the disasters, the diamonds, the politicians, the women, the fortunes, the football players and the murders are all bigger than anywhere else.”
  • “Today there are a lot of novelists who seem to be writing to be reviewed, not read.”
  • “The goal is to be both disciplined and loose, so that the writing does not turn into a task or a chore. To leave myself behind, along with the mechanics, and disappear into the lives of my characters.”
  • “This is truly marvelous work full of mystery, nostalgia, joy, The Color of Whimsy.”

This post was last modified on August 31, 2019 11:48 pm

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