Quotes from John Gardner

From In the Suicide Mountains:

In the Suicide Mountains "There are three basic theories about the world, Prince. One is that it is essentially good, one that it is essentially bad, and one that it's neutral. What a wise man understands is that none of that is true. The world is a hodge-podge. Our human business, therefore—since our chief attribute is consciousness, and our greatest gift from God is, as Dante said, free will—our human business is to clarify, that is sort things out, put the good with the good and the evil with the evil and the indifferent with the indifferent. Only when reality is properly sorted out can there be stability or hope for the future in either the individual or the state."

From The Art of Fiction:

The Art of Fiction "To write with taste, in the highest sense, is to write with the assumption that one out of a hundred people who read one's work may be dying, or have some loved one dying; to write so that no one commits suicide, no one despairs; to write as Shakespeare wrote, so that people understand, sympathize, see the universality of pain, and feel strengthened, if not directly encouraged, to live on."

[Thanks JC!]