the world according to my heroes – Isaac Asimov, part 3

For those not familiar with this series: I extrapolate quotations from those who influence me strongly to apply to playwrighting and theater.  And life.

[on the unreliable narrator] Many a prophecy, by the mere force of its being believed, is transmuted to fact.

[on keeping an open mind] Knowledge is indivisible. When people grow wise in one direction, they are sure to make it easier for themselves to grow wise in other directions as well. On the other hand, when they split up knowledge, concentrate on their own field, and scorn and ignore other fields, they grow less wise — even in their own field.

[on community] Once, when a religionist denounced me in unmeasured terms, I sent him a card saying, “I am sure you believe that I will go to hell when I die, and that once there I will suffer all the pains and tortures the sadistic ingenuity of your deity can devise and that this torture will continue forever. Isn’t that enough for you? Do you have to call me bad names in addition?”

[on writing unsympathetic characters] There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save.

[on transformation] The cure for advanced gullibility is to go to sleep and consider matters again the next day.

[on interesting characters] Words are a pretty fuzzy substitute for mathematical equations.

[on one writing choice] When asked for advice by beginners. Know your ending, I say, or the river of your story may finally sink into the desert sands and never reach the sea. [with which I do not agree]

[on focus] Nothing interferes with my concentration. You could put on an orgy in my office and I wouldn’t look up. Well, maybe once.

[on arc] The downtrodden are more religious than the satisfied.

[on story goal] Anything you make forbidden gains sexual attractiveness. Would you be particularly interested in women’s breasts if you lived in a society in which they were displayed at all times?

[on magic realism] Any planet is “Earth” to those that live on it.

[on a character being their own obstacle] The most hopelessly stupid man is he who is not aware that he is wise.

[on tension] Any fool can tell a crisis when it arrives.

[on the hook]  The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ (I found it!) but ‘That’s funny’.

[on goal pursuit] Postulates are based on assumption and adhered to by faith. Nothing in the Universe can shake them.

[on the dramatic question] A good question is, of course, the key by which infinite answers can be educed.

[on produceability] A poor idea well written is more likely to be accepted than a good idea poorly written.

[on work ethic] Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.

[on professional behavior] My belief is that in life people will take you at your own reckoning.

[and my current favorite] It has been my philosophy of life that difficulties vanish when faced boldly.


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