- Birthday, Music, Quotes, Reading, Writing

Sun Ra on Music, Freedom, the Impossible, and More


Happy Arrival Day, Sun Ra! Here are some quotes from the composer and musician:


“I think of myself as a complete mystery. To myself.”


“The possible has been tried and failed. Now it’s time to try the impossible.”


“Proper evaluations of words and letters in their phonetic and associated sense can bring the people of earth to the clear light of pure cosmic wisdom.”


“What I’m dealing with is so vast and great that it can’t be called the truth. It’s above the truth.”


“I’m not into division. I’m into coordination, discipline, and tradition.”


“People have a lot more of the unknown than the known in their minds. The unknown is great; it’s like the darkness. Nobody made that. It just happens. Light and all that—someone made that; it’s written that they did. But nobody made the darkness. My music is about dark tradition.”


“Freedom of Speech is Freedom of Music.”


“It takes a motion to notion / and it takes a notion to motion.”


“Whatever is the imperative need.”


“The trouble with the people on this planet is they refuse to think they refuse to believe anything except what they know.”


“If you’re not mad at the world, you don’t have what it takes.”


“Play some fire on it.”


“In some far off place, many light years in space, I’ll wait for you. Where human feet have never trod, where human eyes have never seen. I’ll build a world of abstract dreams and wait for you.”


“The past is DEAD and those who are following the past are doomed to die and be like the past.”


“Heaven is where you’ll be when you are okay right where you are.”


  • John Madera is the author of Nervosities (Anti-Oedipus Press, 2024). His other fiction is published in Conjunctions, Salt Hill, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His nonfiction is published in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, New York State Council on the Arts awardee John Madera lives in New York City, Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.

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