• “How extraordinarily interesting one could make the story, if one were to going to die the day before it was published.”
– William Morris


Commonplace Book
Dominoes (Art & Entertainment)
Great Player Characters of History
Shorthand (Design Theory & Criticism)





Commonplace Book

A ledger of common wit and wisdom encountered in my literary travels. These are on a variety of subjects and have been chosen for one reason only: because they interest me (and not necessarily, I would stress, because I like them). They are unedited except in cases of poor recollection or the vain idea that I could improve them by doing so. Attribution has been to the character only when I believe their words do not in any way reflect those of the writer. They are unsorted as to categorize them would go against the spirit of the collection; you are invited to pick and read bits at random, to simulate just how they first came to me.
“If you want a job done right, give it to a busy man.”
“If I achieved some success in the discipline I was studiying, for that I am indebted not a little to this good old man, who, though dreaming of the transmutation of lead into gold, did not forget, however, to mine silver out of the pockets of others by more conventional methods.”
– Valery Briusov
“I had on the shelves dozens of very bad books which I didn’t throw away in case I ever needed an example of a book I thought was bad.”
– Alberto Manguel
“His way of keeping a diary was to deal with the day’s events in a brief five or six lines for four or five days, then to devote one entry to describing the past few days in greater detail. He had first devised this scheme, which he liked to call his “stopstart” method, so that on evenings when he was late home from work and too sleepy to do anything more, he could allow himself to dismiss the day in a few lines.”
Masuji Ibuse
“I do what I say. Which is why I don’t say much.”
Christopher Beuhlman
“Although not a  very old man, I have yet lived a great deal in my life, and I have known sorrow too bitter and joy too keen to allow me to become either cast down or elated for more than a brief period over any success or defeat.”
– Theodore Roosevelt
“Literature exists so that where one man has lived finely ten thousand may afterwards live finely.”
– Arnold Bennett
“’You know what they say about werewolves,’ she said, ‘there’s always a tree between you and it, but never a tree between it and you.”
– Kim Newman
“Even bees, the little almsmen of spring-bowers,
Know there is richest juice in poison flowers.”
– John Keats

“’Many thanks,’ he said, ‘and God bless you —he won’t forget.’ As far as I was concerned, the more God forgot the better.”
– Junichi Saga
“If a man looks sharply and attentively, he shall see Fortune; for though she is blind, she is not invisible.”
– Francis Bacon
“Death will discipline him. Death takes no excuses.”
– Anne Carson
“True, of  course, that as a long-married couple we fitted rather neatly, like two close trees whose trunks have grown upwards together as a single shaft, mutually distorting, but mutually supporting.”
– Olaf Stapledon
“Like a suit you buy off the rack, tradition offers a one-size-fits-all package deal of answers. How do I live my life? Live it like the people lived theirs in the past. What do I believe the purpose of existence is? You believe what people believed in the past.”
Dale Beran
“A man near Fayetteville, Arkansas, told me of a desolate region where the trees are so far apart that the woodpeckers have to carry their own lunches.”
– Vance Randolph
“In middle age, it seems, we become acutely aware of pleasure as a problem.”
– Josh Cohen
“I eventually got a handle on the drinking. It happens as you get older, or you don’t get older.”
– Adam Roberts
“Any worthwhile change requires committment, courage, and cash, in that order.”
– Martin Kihn
“There is probably no more terrible instant of enlightenment than the one in which you discover your father is a man —with human flesh.”
– Frank Herbert
“The Brazilian swimsuit is to nudity what the innuendo is to confession.”
– Jean-Luc Hennig
“We shall not busy ourselves with what men ought to have admired, what they ought to have written, what they ought to have thought, but with what they did think, write, and admire.”
– George Saintsbury
“They know that work ought to be necessary; it ought to be good; it ought to be satisfying and dignifying to the people who do it; and genuinely useful and pleasing to the people for whom it is done.”
– Wendell Berry
“When you teach a child something, you take away forever his chance of discovering it himself.”
– Jean Piaget
“If you put away those who report accurately, you’ll keep only those who know what you want to hear. I can think of nothing more poisonous than to rot in the stink of your own reflections.”
– Frank Herbert
“Do not fall into the error of the artisan who boasts of twenty years experience in his craft while in fact he has had only year of experience —twenty times.”
– Trevanian
“She wore the professional smile which she picked up outside the door like a surgical gown and left there when she departed.”
– Margaret Millar
Alien Trespass is a sincere attempt to make a film that looks like one of those 1950s B movies where a monster from outer space terrorized a small town, which was almost always in the desert. Small, to save on extras and travel. In the desert, because if you headed east from Hollywood that’s where you were, and if you headed west you were making a pirate movie.”
– Roger Ebert
“There is no wine without the goblet, or the bottle, the cork, the vat, the grape press. The goblet and the wine need each other. To a designer, design never disappears or becomes invisible. We are attuned to the fact that each form is predicated on a series of decisions, personalities, resource-intensive production, tastes, disorganized hard drives, beliefs, conversations — and bitter arguments. Behind every object is a plethora of containers, and now we can add: Behind every container is a messy and very physical process of becoming.”
Sasha Portis

“In well over 20 years of keeping hens running outdoors, I have yet to find out what poultry disease is, with the exception of blackhead in turkeys. Our old hens go on laying year after year until I get fed up with seeing them, and put them in the pot.”
– John Seymour
“For life is too short to resign ourselves to reading poorly written books and sleeping with women we don’t love.”
– Anne Garretta
“I make it possible for readers to stop reading whenever they want to. If one sentence steps over, readers who are weary of reading must turn over the page. I sense that this is contemptible, because not interest to the story but physical factor force readers to read.”
– Natsuhiko Kyogoku
“To the linotype operator: forgive all the typing mistakes. First, it’s because my right hand was badly burned. And second, well I have no idea really. 

A request: please don’t correct me. Punctuation is the breath of the sentence, and that’s how my sentence breathes. And if you find me odd, respect that too. Even I have been forced to respect myself. 

Writing is a curse.”
– Clarice Lispector

“And if one asks thee after me, 
Say: he’s a true and noble knight, 
Fair woman’s slave in song and fight.“
– Friedrich de La Motte Fouque
“Altogether I think we ought to read only books that bite and sting us. If a book we are reading does not shake us awake like a blow on the skull, why bother reading it in the first place? A book must be an axe for the frozen sea within us.”
– Franz Kafka
“But to loot a pair of breeches from a frozen corpse is not so easy as it may appear to a mere theorist.”
– Joseph Conrad
“It takes great courage to willfully die. It takes greater courage to live.”
– Gail Tsukiyama
“Never mind about inflation. You can still buy yourself a million dollars’ worth of trouble for ten bucks.”
– Robert Bloch
“Darling, if I happen to mention that, as a process, autumn follows summer, it does not follow that I am all for getting a ladder and pulling the leaves off the trees.”
John Wyndham
“Honestly, the only retirement option I might have ever considered was sold by the caliber.”
Gus Moreno
“I recollect that I said something then that I wouldn’t want written down as my last words on this Earth.”
– Manly Wade Wellman
“The arranding of funerals, the choosing of tombs and the pomp of obsequies are consolations for the living rather than supports for the dead.”
– Michel de Montaigne

“One thing I have learned, namely, that a man needs to have much silver before he can go in search of gold.”
– Frans G. Bengtsson

“Whenever I find myself growing vapourish, I rouse myself, wash and put on a clean shirt, brush my hair and clothes, tie my shoe strings neatly and in fact adonize as I were going out — then all clean and comfortable I sit down to write. This I find the greatest relief.”
– John Keats
“Younger, much more handsome, open and smiling —everything that I was not —Sergei reigned his horse and dismounted. I was taller, I noted.”
– P. N. Elrod
“We are but dreams, and dreams possess no life by their own right. See, I am wounded. When my wound heals, it will be gone. Should it with its bloody lips say it is sorry to heal?”
– Gene Wolfe
“Ultimately there is nothing so offensive in art as the desire not to offend.”
Brigid Brophy
“The concentration of the Shuberts on their business is looked upon by most theatrical people as unsporting. If the brothers were going to work so hard, these critics say, they should have taken up a trade instead of the theater.”
– Abbott Joseph Liebling
“Deputy Director Teresa Haaki-Byrd has a whole save-the-people-shoot-all-the-aliens vibe that I, as a people, can really get behind.” 
– Lesley Nneka Arimah
“Surround yourself with human beings, my dear James. They are easier to fight for than principles.”
– Ian Fleming
“If ordinary art has a personal stamp, this means that is incomplete. The artist has not gotten past his mistakes or arrived at the typical solution that is just as ordinary and natural in form as a Yale lock, a fountain pen, a scythe, a shovel.” 
– Poul Henningsen
“Love leads to immoderate acts and to the illusion of perfect understanding.”
– Ken Greenhall
“We should be able to think about life and death at the same level. Everyone should constantly think about how they want to die.”
– Naomi Shibata
“The Bible was a cruel thing. They had copped out when it came time for Jesus to have a sex life. They had simply skipped that part of Jesus’ life, and picked the story up when Christ knew where his life was heading and what he had to do. They had left out anything about Jesus being unsure of himself, or needful of female companionship, or interested in anything but saving souls. And that was a strange thing, because Jesus was Christ, yes, but Jesus had also been born human. And why had the human race been robbed of answers to questions that must’ve perplexed even Christ?”
– Robert R. McCammon
“Nevertheless he waged an inexorable war against his debtors by means of a series of letters which he called his P.N.S. system (Polite, Nasty, Solicitor’s) and in which he had great faith.”
– James Herriott
“The little birds turned their heads to look at him using one eye at a time. Their songs were the Baltic dialect he heard in the woods at home. ‘They’re just like us,’ he said. ‘They can smell the others cooking, and still they try to sing.’”
– Thomas Harris
“To say that women often engage in unwanted sex with men is paradoxically both to state the obvious and to speak the unspeakable.” 
– Rachel O’Neill
“It is better to share profits than fight over them. You have to be willing to go to war, but if violence is your only skill, you will lose in the end and die. Murder is bad because it attracts attention. If police search your place, stay calm; do not act cocky; do not say more than necessary. Live modestly, dress modestly, drive modestly, do not carry a gun. Do not use drugs. If you want to gamble and whore around, that’s fine, but do it somewhere far away, like Monaco or Marbella. Go with French women or Spanish. Here in Secondigliano, don’t fuck around casually with other men’s wives and daughters. Here in Secondigliano, the only sound we should hear is the patter of cash.”
– Anonymous Camorra capo
“He is jealous of me because I live well and am successful with women, copulate a lot, and enjoy life, while at a similar age he was a miserable and wretchedly tormented servant of Laufenauer, going about in frayed trousers and unable to even dream of owning Persian rugs.”
– Géza Csáth
“Sure, sample my stuff... ain’t a better time to get paid than when you’re my age. You know what to do with money. You don’t buy as much pussy or drugs with it — you just buy some.”
– George Clinton
'We shall do good work. At a profit if we can, at a loss if we must, but always good work.'
– W. P. Baker
“Here are three things that 95 percent of designers don’t have that Aaron does: 

(1) Work Ethic: he sits in front of his goddamn computer twelve hours a day, and if he is not in front of that he is doodling in his notebook. It’s done wonders for his health and social skills. 

(2) Passion: he has been into design since he was a child. He sees things that most designers don’t realize are even there. 

(3) Salesmanship: his father was amazing at it and he is, too. It’s his best quality — the art of bullshitting. 

So set down your Apple products and unfollow your blogs and go get a real job. Draplin’s got you beat, and there are too many of you.”
– Dale Allen Dixon

“In 1967 I got my first job at an Argentine publishing company that had a staff of two. I quickly became the third most important person in the company.”
– Alberto Manguel
“The Gods weave misfortunes for men so that the generations to come will have something to sing about.”
– Homer
“Go into the kitchen and open the first drawer you come to and the odds are you will find the wooden spoon that is used to stir soups and sauces. If this spoon is of a certain age you will see that it no longer has its original shape. It has changed, as if a piece has been cut obliquely off the end. Part of it is missing. We have (though not all at once, of course) eaten the missing part mixed up in our soup. It is continual use that has given the spoon its new shape, the shape it should have had from the beginning.”
Bruno Munari
“I don’t want to mix music and computers. Just like it’s not good to mix friends and work and sex.”
Haruki Murakami
“The two greatest problems in history are how to account for the rise of Rome, and how to account for her fall.”
– William Rosen
“Forget the goal; think only of the surrounding country; and after a period, perhaps when you least expect it, you will suddenly find yourself in a lovely town on a hill.”
– Arnold Bennett
“Nothing, but nothing, is as overwhelmingly attention getting as an elephant that has just decided he doesn’t like you; and nothing in the animal world is better equipped to do something about it.“
– Peter Hathaway Capstick

“The pig is a magnificient animal and truly the pioneer of any holding. He will eat anything, and in his efforts to find food he will plow land, clear undergrowth, devour all surpluses, and convert the whole amount into bacon.” 
– John Seymour

“What ever will I do when there aren’t any more books to read, or when I can’t find another role model to imitate?”
– Osamu Dazai
“If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody this is it: have nothing in your house that do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
– William Morris
“Except for the fact that John Irving was sick and half-starving and his gums were bleeding and he feared that two of his side teeth were loose and he was so tired that he was afraid he would collapse in his tracks at any moment, this was one of the happiest days of his life.”
– Dan Simmons
“Still whatever the subject matter of the book may be, and however bare it may be of decoration, it can still be a work of art, if the type be good and attention be paid to its general arrangement.”
– William Morris
“No divinity in which I would wish to believe would declare itself by means of what we would recognize as evidence. If there is a god, we should not be able to find it. If I detected proof of a diety, I would distrust that diety on the grounds that a god should be smarter than that.”
– Christopher Toth
“I do not mind seeing the artist naked, but I hate to see him undressing. Show your cock. That’s all right with me. But don’t striptease.”
– Orson Welles
“So why, I asked myself, weary the mind with small reproaches? Sufficient unto the day was the evil.”
– Richard Byrd
“People live to be remembered by others, no matter in what form. People die. But death is not defeat. The significance of our deeds will live on, passed like echoes from one person to the next.”
– Hideo Kojima
“Despite the enthusiasm of the speaker, the mood of the room grew heavy and the questions fewer. They knew he was a bright guy; they wished he’d stop telling them.”
– James P. Hogan
“Mamadu’s parents have gone back to their village: if you have to die of hunger, you might as well do it close to your own family, in the place where you were born.”
– Roberto Saviano
“You’ve never done nothin’ but the best you could, and you’ve gotten shit to show for it.”
– Corey Ryan Forrester
“Everything is as it always was; only now, as Doyle and the reader know, something weird has happened.”
– Mark Fisher
“The one-eyed view of our universe says you must not look far afield for problems. Such problems may never arrive. Instead, tend to the wolf within your fences. The packs ranging outside may not even exist.”
– Frank Herbert
“Advice helps only him who gives it, and that only insofar as it lightens the burdens of conscience.”
– Trevanian
“I told her I would spill my blood
She said it would be on your own head.
I shall set fire to the horizon, I said
Sa’di will not catch fire, she said.”
– Sa’di
“She was a blend of cheer and melancholy and was watching me with the eyes (how would a bad writer put it?) of a fawn. Of a fawn? Ah, well... it’s just that, as we were walking, she looked up at me because I was taller than she was. And that was it. Any woman who looks at you from below looks like Bambi.”
– Umberto Eco
“’What are the key attributes a designer needs?’ Friends and money. ‘How do you attract new clients to Design Machine’? I don’t. When a potential client somehow shows up I do all I can to discourage them from hiring us. They usually end up hiring Pentagram.”
– Alexander Gelman
“fuck the met archivists you all are terrible at your jobs

needed particular pieces, spent 5 hours hunting for a thing you tagged ‘Print’ by ‘Unknown’ 

fuck you”
– Anonymous graffiti artist
“Did we ask for too much? Were our demands unreasonable? ‘The right to resign whenever we want to.’ Every working stiff in other lines of work has that. ‘The same pay as the engineers.’ Why not? Who are the real engineers around here? D’yuh have to be a cadet in a funny little hat before you can learn to wipe a bearing, or jack down a rotor? Who earns his keep: The ‘gentlemen’ in the control offices, or the boys ‘down inside’? What else do we ask? ‘The right to elect our own engineers.’ Why the hell not? Who’s competent to pick engineers? The technicians? — Or some damn, dumb examining board that’s never been ‘down inside’, and couldn’t tell a rotor bearing from a field coil?’”
– Robert A. Heinlein
“Goethe’s Faust was written in the late 18th and early 19th century about a legend that had its origin in the 16th century. I am sure the 19th century designers, who planned the printed literature then, designed a contemporary interpretation... and so it must be that designers, of any era, should render the message of any age in the style of their day.”
– Aaron Burns
“Bodin tells some were-wolf stories on good authority; it is a pity that the good authorities of Bodin were such liars.”
– Sabine Baring-Gould
“No machine can be so clever as to be irregular.”
– W. B. Richmond

© Dai Shugars | DAI Design Works, LLC