And He’s Got Quotes

by Rob Gregory Browne


We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
—George Bernard Shaw

Sometimes I forget this.  I get so wrapped up in my career and my work that I forget to take a break and have a little play time.  I don’t know about you, but even though my body gets older and my bones creak and my feet ache, I still feel eighteen inside, and playing should come naturally to me.

When I’m really feeling the strain, sometimes I just pick up my guitar and start strumming. Just like I did when I was a kid after I’d had my heart ripped out.  

There’s nothing more soothing to the soul than music.  Or to my soul, at least.

What do you do when just need to let go? 


Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is the probable reason so few engage in it.
—Henry Ford

I don’t know what it is, but it seems to me that a whole of of people spend whole a lot of time reacting these days, and very little time thinking.  Of course, Henry Ford said this several dozen years ago, so maybe things haven’t really changed all that much.

I guess I could often be accused of thinking too much.  I’ve always got something on my mind, a book I’m writing, a personal problem, a family issue, a money issue…

So maybe it isn’t that people aren’t thinking, but that they have so much to think about that they just get overloaded and finally explode.

Cue the clowns. 


Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.
—Samuel Johnson

If this is true, then I certainly don’t ever have to worry about doing anything great.  I find that creative people, by and large, are the most insecure people on the planet.  And that’s saying a lot, considering pretty much everyone alive is insecure.

I don’t know what it is—maybe it’s that whole “putting yourself out there” thing—but when I finish a book and send it off, I’m almost certain that anyone who reads it is going to have to hold his or her nose as they’re turning the pages.  And when somebody tells me they liked one of my books, there’s a little guy inside my head that says, “really?” with genuine surprise.

Don’t get me wrong.  I have my moments of great confidence when I’m writing.  I feel that, even though I’m still learning, I have a fairly good handle on my craft.  And even if I don’t have that confidence, I think the writing itself sounds pretty confident, so that’s half the battle right there.

I’m always a little suspicious of people who seem to have no fear.  I think most of them are just very good at hiding it. 


In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.
—Robert Frost

I think a lot of us at Murderati have learned this the hard way over the last year.  Despite our trials and tribulations, life keeps rolling along and we can either give up on it or try to keep up with it.

As John Lennon said, life is what happens while we’re busy making other plans.  Ain’t that the truth?

When I was twenty years old, I had big, big dreams.  I had no clue how I was actually going to achieve those dreams, but I had ’em, and I kept telling everyone I knew about them in hopes they’d get as enthusiastic as I was.

But of course they had dreams of their own.  Some of them realized those dreams, but most of them, like me, just kept planning and planning as life went by in a rush around us.  

A wife, two kids, several cats, a few dogs, a lot of rentals, a new house—now an old one.  A strange city—now a familiar one.

Birthdays, graduations, vacations, illnesses, deaths, births, fights, kisses, hugs, smiles, laughter, and big doses of wine, cheese and chocolate.  Oh, and sushi.  Couldn’t have gone without the sushi.

And you know what?  Fuck the plans.  I wouldn’t trade one moment of my life—even the shitty stuff—to make any of those plans come to fruition.  

I love the life I’ve led.  Every moment of it.  It has given me depth and character and a crapload of material for my books.

The one plan that finally worked out. 

8 thoughts on “And He’s Got Quotes

  1. Rebbie Macintyre

    I love those quotes! The one about playing from George Bernard Shaw reminds me of what my dad used to say: Never stop learning. The day you stop learning is the day you grow old.
    Thanks for the post!

  2. anonymous

    I think Stephen is going to get a sax one. You guys could start a band. Play at the Bcon reception in October. It would either get people to buy your books…….or throw themselves off the Bay Bridge.

  3. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    I’ll take the Golden Gate Bridge instead. Because I dare to dream.

    Rob – great post. There’s a name for people who try to convince everyone else that the work is great, that it’s the best book they’ll ever read. They’re called "publicists."
    Hire yourself one, then just sit back and say, "Yeah, what she said."

  4. anonymous

    No Silly……not throw YOURselves off!! Your AUDIENCE would throw THEMselves off. ; – }

    But if you DO decide to throw yourself off something, the Golden Gate is the way to go. Better view.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *