Words from William Saroyan

San Francisco celebrates William Saroyan

W. Saroyan

Born in Fresno, CA on Aug. 31, 1908, the son of Armenian immigrants. Saroyan gained fame as a writer of short stories and plays such as “The Time of Your Life.” He was also a visual artist of drawings and watercolors which he never sold nor exhibited. His abstract work was influenced by Chinese brush drawing, Jackson Pollock, and the calligraphic work of Mark Tobey. Saroyan died in Fresno of cancer on May 18, 1981.(via)

William Saroyan Centennial

“—the hot sun and the heavy rain, the new green of spring and the fire-golden of fall: the farmer’s weather of Fresno, in which I lived and became a part of the human race.”
Saroyan, The Time of Your Life, (Preface) 1939

Saroyan wrote “The most solid advice for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”
I’m Richard Rodriguez. (Richard Rodriguez, editor at the Pacific News Service, discusses the work of author William Saroyan. )

The song was a major hit for Rosemary Clooney (George Clooney’s aunt) in 1951. Did you know that William Saroyan wrote this song? What a surprise!

Samples of his quotes

Indians are born with an instinct for riding, rowing, hunting, fishing, and swimming.
Americans are born with an instinct for fooling around with machines.
Locomotive 38, the Ojibway, 1940

Neither love nor hate, nor any order of intense adherence to personal involvement in human experience, may be so apt to serve the soul as this freedom and this necessity to be kind.
The Bicycle Rider In Beverly Hills 1952

I sometimes think that rich men belong to another nationality entirely,
no matter what their actual nationality happens to be. The nationality of the rich.
The Armenian Writers

What is a street? It is where the living weep, where the dead go off in silence to their peace.
The Bicycle Rider In Beverly Hills 1952