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Key to success: Vision Key to success: Passion Key to success: Perseverance Key to success: Preparation Key to success: Courage Key to success: Integrity Key to success: The American Dream Keys to success homepage More quotes on Passion More quotes on Vision More quotes on Courage More quotes on Integrity More quotes on Preparation More quotes on Perseverance More quotes on The American Dream


Audra McDonald

Five Tony Awards

Audra McDonald: For me, I am constantly forcing myself to evolve, because, I think, to stagnate creatively -- there's a certain death that happens with that. Because if you're not moving forward and you're not evolving, you're devolving, and I don't want to go backwards. I want to be better at what I do tomorrow than I am today. I don't want to be worse. It may be in a different way, or maybe I've turned a corner and tried a different part of a career, or maybe I'll take my big mouth and maybe do something at a more political level somewhere down the road, or teach or something like that. But it has to be a constant sense of evolution. Yeah, I equate it with death.
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Audra McDonald

Five Tony Awards

Audra McDonald: It's an incredible rush, especially the live aspect of it. It's easy to spend -- especially in this day and age -- to spend your time not being in the present. It's very easy to be way ahead. What's tomorrow and the day after that? Or fixated on something in the past, or virtually somewhere else. Whatever, watching a football game online, whatever, just not being. And the one thing about live performance and what makes it so scary is all you have is that moment. You must be in that moment. You cannot be ahead of it, you cannot be behind it. You can be making sure you're aware of what you have to do next, but regardless, that moment forces you to be in the present. And that's a rush. It's something that a lot of people run from, because it can be scary. But that's also where life happens, I think. And so for me it's -- maybe I'm an addict. I'm addicted to that rush. I'm also addicted to those moments when you're on stage and the audience is so quiet you could hear a pin drop and you realize that you're in communion. That's an incredible experience. That's a cosmic experience, as far as I'm concerned, without getting way out there. But you feel the communion of the collective consciousness in that moment when you're on stage doing something and the audience is absolutely with you. And the audience becomes a collective entity as well. They come in from separate places and socio-economic backgrounds, and places across the world and days that they've had, and then they come together and they become one collective thing, and experience something in a collective way. That's a powerful, powerful thing to experience. So I'm definitely addicted to that, too.
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Audra McDonald

Five Tony Awards

This sounds like terrible grammar, but I want to do. I want to do the singing, I want to do the acting, I want to do the concertizing. I want to do the plays. I want to do the musicals. I want to become a great artist. This sounds really cheesy, but if ever there was an award that I would want to win some day, it would be like a Kennedy Center honor. That would mean to me that I've amassed a body of work that has not only sort of affected the arts and made an impact on the arts, but that's a large enough body of work and a varied enough body of work and a lengthy enough body of work that it deserves an honor. That to me is like, that would be a great goal. But if that were to happen someday, which would be amazing if it did, then next day I would still be like, "Okay, cool. Now, I've never been able to sing this note really comfortably. I should figure out how to really " You know what I mean? There's always more to learn.
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W.S. Merwin

Two Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry

So I had to listen to all of these morning services, and I was allowed to do drawings and things, and then do what I wanted with a little pad and pencil. And I was fascinated by two things. One of them was the language of the King James version of the Bible -- which was different from the language that we spoke -- the language of the psalms. There was a whole lot of the Bible that I got to know by heart without even thinking about it, and the language of the hymns: "the spacious firmament on high" and "the blue ethereal sky." I didn't know what half of the words meant, thought it was wonderful, you know. It's funny, the way it rhymed, and so I wanted to write that. And my mother read to us, which is very important. She read Stevenson's Child's Garden of Verses and she read Tennyson, "The Brook," and a lot of poems like that. And that's wonderful when parents read -- not just stories -- but poems to their children, because the language of poetry is different from the language of prose, and children pick up that language. And if they can pick it up very early, it's really very, very important. They are likely to always love it if they do. I suspect that they really naturally do.
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W.S. Merwin

Two Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry

I must have read Robinson Crusoe four or five times and Swiss Family Robinson and Treasure Island, all of Stevenson. A book called Ship's Monkey about a ship off to Borneo, and books about American Indians. I really taught myself to read because there was a book about Indians with pictures, a lot of pictures of Indians, and it was a children's book, but it had a text at the bottom of each page and I couldn't read the text. So I asked word by word what the words were until I could read the book about the Indians because I wanted to live in a place like the place they lived in, in the woods. So that taught -- it was two things, I mean learning to read, because of a fascination with people who didn't read and write, that's sort of interesting. And realizing that early that I really wanted to live not in a city, but in the forest.
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James Michener

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Novelist

And, I am certainly not a stylist in English language, using arcane words and very fanciful construction and so on. There is a great deal I can't do but Boy, I can tell a story. I can get a person, with moderate interest in what I am writing about, and if she or he will stay with me for the first one hundred pages, which are very difficult, and I make them difficult, he will be hooked. He will want to know what's happening on the next story and the next story and the next. That I have. And that's a wonderful gift. That's storytelling. And I prize it. I try to keep it cleaned up. I try to keep it on focus. I am wretched when I fail and feel and sense of terrible defeat.
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James Michener

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Novelist

I believe throughout history, through all of history, way back to the most early days of the human race, when people gathered around the fireplace at night, they wanted to remember what had happened and reflect upon the big events of that day and reassess values and maybe get new dedication to the next day. Well, I'm one of the guys who sat around the fireplace and did the talking.
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