“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” – Aldous Huxley
While he wrote more than 50 books and hundreds of essays, Huxley will forever be known for his masterpiece Brave New World, destined to be studied, discussed and worried over for decades (if not centuries) to come. And while I greatly admire his quote above, I equally love this following one because it represents what every writer, artist and musician hopes for when he or she creates something.
“The finest works of art," Huxley said, "are precious, among other reasons, because they make it possible for us to know, if only imperfectly and for a little while, what it actually feels like to think subtly and feel nobly.”
Born on this date in 1894, Huxley said he was always interested in writing and looking at life and things around him in new ways. Huxley completed his first novel at the age of 17 and began writing seriously in his early 20s, almost immediately establishing himself as a successful writer and social satirist. “Writers write to influence their readers, their preachers, their auditors,” he remarked, “but always, at bottom, to be more themselves.”
Well known at the time, it is sometimes forgotten today that he also had a fine career as a screenwriter and playwright, living for 25 years in Hollywood and Taos, N.M., up to his death in 1963. “Experience,” he said in advice to writers, “is not what happens to you. It's what you do with what happens to you.”
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