William Saroyan

Literary Birthday – 31 August – William Saroyan

William Saroyan was born 31 August 1908, and died 18 May 1981.


  1. The role of art is to make a world which can be inhabited.
  2. How do you write? You write, man, you write, that’s how…If you practice an art faithfully it will make you wise, and most writers can use a little wising up.
  3. I took to writing at an early age to escape from meaninglessness, uselessness, unimportance, insignificance, poverty, enslavement, ill health, despair, madness, and all manner of other unattractive, natural and inevitable things.
  4. I don’t think my writing is sentimental, although it is a very sentimental thing to be a human being.
  5. I began to write in the first place because I expected everything to change, and I wanted to have things in writing the way they had been. Just a little things, of course. A little of my little.
  6. I do not know what makes a writer, but it probably isn’t happiness.
  7. The writer is a spiritual anarchist, as in the depth of his soul every man is. He is discontented with everything and everybody. The writer is everybody’s best friend and only true enemy — the good and great enemy. He neither walks with the multitude nor cheers with them. The writer who is a writer is a rebel who never stops.
  8. The purpose of writing is both to keep up with life and to run ahead of it.
  9. Everybody has to die, but I always believed an exception would be made in my case. Now what?
  10. All writers are discontented with their work as it’s being made. That’s because they’re aware of a potential and believe they’re not reaching it. But the reader is not aware of the potential, so it makes no difference to him.

William Saroyan was an Armenian American dramatist and author. His works include My Name Is AramThe Human Comedy, and The Time of Your Life.

Image source: Library of Congress, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 31st August 2013