Charles de Lint quotes:

  • Stone walls confine a tinker; cold iron binds a witch; but a musician's music can never be fettered, for it lives first in her heart and mind.

  • The beginning of a friendship, the fact that two people out of the thousands around them can meet and connect and become friends, seems like a kind of magic to me. But maintaining a friendship requires work. I don't mean that as a bad thing. Good art requires work as well.

  • I do believe in an everyday sort of magic -- the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we're alone.

  • I think you're all mad. But that's part and parcel of being an artistic genius, isn't it?

  • Often the magical elements in my books are standing in for elements of the real world, the small and magical-in-their-own-right sorts of things that we take for granted and no longer pay attention to, like the bonds of friendship that entwine our own lives with those of other people and places.

  • I'm not Chinese. I thrive in interesting times.

  • Don't forget - no one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell.

  • Growing up, I'd already decided I wanted to be a beatnik. A Bohemian poet, I thought. Or a musician. Maybe an artist. I'd dress in black turtlenecks and smoke Gitanes. I'd listen to cool jazz in clubs, getting up to read devastating truths from my notebook, leaning against the microphone, cigarette dangling from my hand.

  • One expected growth, change; without it, the world was less, the well of inspiration dried up, the muses fled.

  • There's bad apples in whatever way you want to group people - doesn't matter if it's religious, political or social. The big mistake is generalizing.

  • A long time ago a bunch of people reached a general consensus as to what's real and what's not and most of us have been going along with it ever since.

  • Why did men worship in churches, locking themselves away in the dark, when the world lay beyond its doors in all its real glory?

  • As far as I'm concerned, the only difference between fact and what most people call fiction is about fifteen pages in the dictionary.

  • It's easy to believe in magic when you're young. Anything you couldn't explain was magic then. It didn't matter if it was science or a fairy tale. Electricity and elves were both infinitely mysterious and equally possible - elves probably more so.

  • Life is like art. You have to work hard to keep it simple and still have meaning.

  • When all's said and done, all roads lead to the same end. So it's not so much which road you take, as how you take it.

  • You know how we'd get along better? If everybody'd just remember how we're all related. White, black, Asian, skin. No difference. All the bloodlines go back to that one old mama in Africa.

  • Let it go on record that any confusion arose simply because we lacked certain commonalities of reference.

  • The past scampers like an alley cat through the present, leaving the paw prints of memories scattered helter-skelter.

  • The best artists know what to leave out.

  • The best artists know what to leave out. They know how much of the support should show through as the pigment is applied, what details aren't necessary.

  • We're so quick to cut away pieces of ourselves to suit a particular relationship, a job, a circle of friends, incessantly editing who we are until we fit in.

  • Well, while I didn't have the more extreme experiences of some of my characters, I didn't exactly come from the most normal of households. Or rather, it was normal, in that dysfunctional families appear to be the norm.

  • The problem with children is that you have to put up with their parents.

  • Can you remember how you felt when you were communicating through your artwork? Not just the sense of completion, but the sense of rightness- the sense that you had brought to life something that could live beyond your sphere of being, that held in it far more potential than you ever realized you were imbuing in the work?

  • There are few joys to compare with the telling of a well-told tale.

  • I never even considered writing a career option. I just liked the play of words. I was certainly interested in story, but the stories I was telling then were in narrative verse and prose poems, short and succinct, except for one novel-length poem written in narrative couplets.

  • The road leading to a goal does not separate you from the destination; it is essentially a part of it.

  • What I want to do is travel deep and deeper into the dreamlands, to find that place that I know is waiting for me here. My home.

  • Once upon a time there was what there was, and if nothing had happened there would be nothing to tell.

  • We call them faerie. We don't believe in them. Our loss.

  • The faerie represent the beauty we don't see, or even choose to ignore. That's why I'll paint them in junkyards, or fluttering around a sleeping wino. No place or person is immune to spirit. Look hard enough, and everything has a story. Everybody is important."- Jilly Coppercorn

  • The fey wonders of the world only exist while there are those with the sight to see them.

  • Like legend and myth, magic fades when it is unused -- hence all the old tales of elfin kingdoms moving further and further away from our world, or that magical beings require our faith, our belief in their existence, to survive. That is a lie. All they require is our recognition.

  • Fortune-telling doesn't reveal the future; it mirrors the present. It resonates against what your subconscious already knows and hauls it up out of the darkness so you can get a good look at it.

  • Gina always believed there was magic in the world. "But it doesn't work in the way it does in fairy tales," she told me. "It doesn't save us. We have to save ourselves.

  • The thing with pretending you're in a good mood is that sometimes you can.

  • Look inside yourself for the answers - you're the only one who knows what's best for you. Everybody else is only guessing.

  • I don't want to live in the kind of world where we don't look out for each other. Not just the people that are close to us, but anybody who needs a helping hand. I cant change the way anybody else thinks, or what they choose to do, but I can do my bit.

  • I want to be magic. I want to touch the heart of the world and make it smile. I want to be a friend of elves and live in a tree. Or under a hill. I want to marry a moonbeam and hear the stars sing. I don't want to pretend at magic anymore. I want to be magic.

  • I was a misfit, but I think most teenagers feel that way. I don't care if you were a popular jock or the kid who spent his lunch hours in a stairwell reading a book, we all seem to have dealt with insecurities of one kind or another throughout our high school years.

  • Like legend and myth, magic fades when it is unused.

  • That's the thing about magic; you've got to know it's still here, all around us, or it just stays invisible for you.

  • There are as many stories to be told as there are people to tell them about; only the mean-spirited would consider there to be a competition at all.

  • Without mysteries, life would be very dull indeed. What would be left to strive for if everything were known?

  • Books and music saved me as a teenager because it was through them that I realized that I wasn't alone in my obsessive love for words and music.

  • It's all a matter of paying attention, being awake in the present moment, and not expecting a huge payoff. The magic in this world seems to work in whispers and small kindnesses.

  • I was going through the motions of life, instead of really living, and there's no excuse for that. It's not something I'll let happen to me again.

  • She shrugged. Everybody makes the same mistake. Fortune-telling doesn't reveal the future; it mirrors the present. It resonates against what your subconscious already knows and hauls it up out of the darkness so that you can get a good look at it.

  • The thing to remember when you're writing is, it's not whether or not what you put on paper is true. It's whether it wakes a truth in your reader.

  • Remember the quiet wonders. The world has more need of them than it has for warriors.

  • Everybody's got the potential for great good and great wrong in them, but it's thechoices we make that define who we really are.

  • I want to touch the heart of the world and make it smile.

  • But if I could just get som ehint, some sign..." Conchita smiles, without humor, but with great affection. "That's the point behind faith," she says. "It's not something you can prove....I know you hate to hear this, but you either have it, or you don't.

  • When one of my characters becomes aware of a magical element, it might be because the world is wider than we assume it to be, but it might also be a reminder to pay attention to what is here already, hidden only because it's been forgotten.

  • Compromise is necessary ... so long as you never give up who you are. That isn't compromise; that's spiritual death. You have to remain true to yourself.

  • You've got to spread out as far as you can, cut down a whole forest, irrigate a whole desert, just to make sure that you won't accidentally stumble upon a place that's still in its natural state.

  • There's never an easy route to the things that matter.

  • It reminded me of that tongue-in-cheek quick history of art I'd overheard...Used to be people couldn't draw very well, then they could, and now they can't again.

  • The family we choose for ourselves is more important than the one we were born into; that people have to earn our respect and trust, not have it handed to them simply because of genetics.

  • Witchery is merely a word for what we are all capable of.

  • Witchery is merely a word for what we are all capable of -- heightened nightsight, an empathy shared with the beasts, a utilization of the more obscure abilities of our minds. Nothing that science can't explain away. Wizardry is spells and enchantments. Fairy tales.

  • I like living in the city where I have all my books and music and can go out to buy that night's dinner or easily see a band. But I also like the wild places, especially hiking in the desert and the Eastern woodlands. Do I have to choose?

  • I'd say that any character or setting can be given a bit of an otherworldly sheen and be the better for it. The one thing I insist on with my own writing is that I won't let magic solve my characters' real world problems. The solutions have to come from the characters themselves.

  • Writing music uses a whole different process that involves a lot of noodling and just seeing what comes.

  • Not everything has to mean something. Some things just are.

  • The few wonders of the world only exist while there are those with the sight to see them.

  • If you're not ready to die, then how can you live?

  • But what the evil people do, that's their responsibility. The burden they have to carry. Sure, when we see 'em starting on causing some hurt, we've got to try and stop 'em, but mostly what the rest of us should be concerning ourselves with is doing right by others. Every time you do a good turn, you shine the light a little further into the dark. And the thing is, even when we're gone, that light's going to keep shining on, pushing the shadows back.

  • You've got to find yourself first. Everything else'll follow.

  • When you're touched by magic, nothing's ever quite the same again. What really makes me sad is all those people who never have the chance to know that touch. They're too busy, or they just don't hold with make-believe, so they shut the door without really knowing it was there to be opened in the first place.

  • If you don't believe that the world has a heart, then you won't hear it beating, you won't think it's alive and you won't consider what you're doing to it.

  • Everything has a spirit and it's all connected. If you think about that, if you live your life by it, then you're less likely to cause any hurt. It's like how our bodies go back into the ground when we die, so that connects us to the earth. If you dump trash, you're dumping it on your and my ancestors. Or to bring it down to its simplest level: treat everything and everybody the way you want to be treated, because when you hurt someone, you're only hurting yourself.

  • There are no happy endings... There are no endings, happy or otherwise. We all have our own stories which are just part of the one Story that binds both this world and Faerie. Sometimes we step into each others stories - perhaps just for a few minutes, perhaps for years - and then we step out of them again. But all the while, the Story just goes on.

  • There are people who take the heart out of you, and there are people who put it back.

  • It is so easy for your people to forget that everything has a spirit, that all are equal. That magic and mystery are a part of your lives, not something to store away in a child's bedroom, or to use as an escape from your lives.

  • I've always been aware of the otherworld, of spirits that exist in that twilight place that lies in the corner of our eyes, of fairie and stranger things still that we spy only when we're not really paying attention to them, whispers and flickering shadows, here one moment, gone the instant we turn our heads for a closer look. But I couldn't always find them. And when I did, for a long time I thought they were only this excess of imagination that I carry around inside me, that somehow it was leaking out of me into the world.

  • The real problem is, people think life is a ladder, and it's really a wheel.

  • I don't think the world is the way we like to think it is. I don't think it's one solid world, but many, thousands upon thousands of them--as many as there are people--because each person perceives the world in his or her own way; each lives in his or her own world. Sometimes they connect, for a moment, or more rarely, for a lifetime, but mostly we are alone, each living in our own world, suffering our small deaths.

  • As children, we come into the world with a natural desire to both speak and draw. Society makes sure that we learn language properly, right from the beginning, but art is treated as a gift of innate genius, something we either have or don't.

  • We end up stumbling our way through the forest, never seeing all the unexpected and wonderful possibilities and potentials because we're looking for the idea of a tree, instead of appreciating the actual trees in front of us.

  • Magic's never what you expect it to be, but it's often what you need.

  • The magic in this world seems to work in whispers and small kindnesses.

  • Beauty isn't what you see on TV or in magazine ads or even necessarily in art galleries. It's a lot deeper and a lot simpler than that. It's realizing the goodness of things, it's leaving the world a little better than it was before you got here. It's appreciating the inspiration of the world around you and trying to inspire others.

  • Every time you do a good deed you shine the light a little farther into the dark. And the thing is, when you're gone that light is going to keep shining on, pushing the shadows back.

  • I believe a good writer can write a good book with any sort of character, in any sort of setting, but I prefer to write about the outsider. It might just be because I've been one (or perceived myself to be one) for so much of my life. But the simple fact of being marginalized immediately brings conflict to a story before the narrative even begins, and that's gold for a writer because it means that your character already has depth before events begin to unfold.

  • Only fools think they're wise; the rest of us just muddle through as we can.

  • It was all cheese and applause.

  • When you're invisible, no one can see that you're different.

  • The puppet thinks: It's not so much what they make me do as their hands inside me.

  • Under the skin, intense fires burn.

  • Most times we only see things for the way we are. But we're good at lying to ourselves. Sometimes we need somebody who's not living in our skin to point out how things really are.

  • Life's an act of magic, too. Claire Hamill sings a line in one of her songs that really sums it up for me: 'If there's no magic, there's no meaning.' Without magic- or call it wonder, mystery, natural wisdom- nothing has any depth. It's all just surface. You know: what you see is what you get. I honestly believe there's more to everything than that, whether it's a Monet hanging in a gallery or some old vagrant sleeping in an alley.

  • ... we chase after ghosts and spirits and are left holding only memories and dreams. It's not that we want what we can't have; it's that we've held all we could want and then had to watch it slip away.

  • You can't stand up to the night until you understand what's hiding in its shadows.

  • I'm a writer and this is what I do no matter what name we put to it. Year by year, the world is turning into a darker and stranger place than any of us could want. This is the only thing I do that has potential to shine a little further than my immediate surroundings. For me, each story is a little candle held up to the dark of night, trying to illuminate the hope for a better world where we all respect and care for each other.

  • Magic lies in between things, between the day and the night, between yellow and blue, between any two things.

  • Children are the brightest treasures we bring forth into this world, but too large a percentage of the population continues to treat them as inconveniences and nuisances, when they're not treating them as possessions or toys.

  • She knew this music--knew it down to the very core of her being--but she had never heard it before. Unfamiliar, it had still always been there inside her, waiting to be woken. It grew from the core of mystery that gives a secret its special delight, religion its awe. It demanded to be accepted by simple faith, not dissected or questioned, and at the same time, it begged to be doubted and probed.

  • Tattoos...are the stories in your heart, written on your skin.

  • It's not all about getting your own way. Sometimes there's a bigger picture.

  • Most children are given far too much praise for their early drawings, so much so that they rarely learn the ability to refine their first crude efforts the way their early attempts at language are corrected.

  • What we take from the spirit world is only a reflection of what lies inside ourselves.

  • How hard would it be to ask children what they see in their heads? How big should the house be in comparison to the family standing in front of it? What is it about the anatomy of the people that doesn't look right? Then let them try it again. Teach them to learn how to see and ask questions.

  • Write from the heart, what has meaning to you personally; have the patience and discipline to sit down and do it every day whether you're feeling inspired or not; never be afraid to take chances, in fact, make sure you take chances. As soon as you become complacent, you become boring ... . Read as much as possible, not simply in the genre, or what you think you're interested in, but other things as well.

  • Wisdom never comes to those who believe they have nothing left to learn.

  • It's the questions we ask, the journey we take to get to where we are going that is more important than the actual answer.

  • Fairy tales and mythology have always been an exaggerated distillation of the real world. Think of them as blueprints for how to deal with a multitude of situations that can arise in a person's life. The beauty of them is that their analogies resonate so deeply and they also entertain while they teach.

  • There isn't a single day I don't do some writing -- if you don't, you won't have a book. When you're self-employed it is very easy to burn away your time instead -- answering e-mails, surfing the Internet, or hanging out with friends. You really must have the discipline to sit down and write every day. Most of what I am writing is living in the back of my head or in my subconscious. I find if I write every day, my subconscious will do the job for me.

  • The only real reason for self-referencing is the fun factor. It's fun for the writer, getting little peeks at what old characters might be up to. And it's fun for readers to spot a familiar face, or pick up on a made-up book title or something from an earlier story. I don't know that it does -- or even should -- contribute to the story in hand being any better than it would have been without it.

  • I wouldn't like to live in a world where everything's as cut-and-dried as most people think it is

  • The old gods and their magics did not dwindle away into murky memories of brownies and little fairies more at home in a Disney cartoon; rather, they changed. The coming of Christ and Christians actually freed them. They were no longer bound to people's expectations but could now become anything that they could imagine themselves to be. They are still here, walking among us. We just don't recognize them anymore.

  • It's good to have mysteries. It reminds us that there's more to the world than just making do and having a bit of fun.

  • My characters seem real because they are drawn from the realities of my life. I didn't have to research their pain; I just tapped into my own.

  • By enlarging your knowledge of things, you will find your knowledge of self is enlarged.

  • I've always been interested in the outsider.

  • I've always known and been interested in people who are a little bit off the norm. I like to call attention to the idea that they are there, that they are real people, not invisible.