Alan Ball

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    • Alan: The level of celebrity worship in our society, I think, is verging on the pathological.

    • Alan: I love to direct! I get really jazzed by directing, but directing is not the same kind of personal expression, the same kind of personal intimate expression that writing is.

    • Alan: (on the end of "Six Feet Under") I wasn't unhappy. I was emotional. It was sad. So yes, it will be hard to say goodbye to them because I've spent five years with these characters. They're like family to me. It's like you have five children, eight, nine children and they're all going off to college at the same time.

    • Alan: I think we have become very adept at functioning in this fast-paced, media-driven culture. I have this persona that I can just fall back into when I go to meetings or stuff like that, but not enough of our experience, I think, is real.

    • Alan: (on working on "American Beauty") It was the ultimate movie experience, the ultimate screenwriting experience.

    • Alan: Beauty is in the strangest places. A piece of garbage floating in the wind. And that beauty exists in America. It exists everywhere. You have to develop an eye for it and be able to see it.

    • Alan: (on his early career working on situation comedies) You just come in, you punch in the clock, you do your factory work and then you leave. On those shows, I either had to do that or I would just develop a drug habit or have a heart attack.

    • Alan: Life tests us in a lot of ways, and when we look back at the painful parts of our lives, yeah, they were painful, but they forced us to grow. The good times don't necessarily force us to grow.

    • Alan: Life isn't what happens to you in 20 years. This moment, right now, is your life.

    • Alan: I think you have to have a deep and fundamental acceptance of mortality to really be able to see what's beautiful in life, because beauty and truth are inextricably connected.

    • Alan: I'm one of those people who is equal parts brutally cynical and achingly romantic, you know? I think those two things can coexist -- it's all a question of balance. You get too cynical, it's just too nihilistic. You get too romantic, it's unrealistic.

    • Alan: Because life is complex and baffling and confusing, and I think that's why people love the illusion that "You know what? It can all be figured out. It's really not that difficult."

    • Alan: I think it's very difficult and it requires a tremendous amount of spiritual integrity and discipline to not be a narcissist in a culture that encourages it every step of the way.

    • Alan: Life is infinitely complex and I feel like we live in a culture that really seems to want to simplify it into sound bites and bromides, and that does not work.

    • Alan: The final, most fundamental acceptance of mortality is death itself. You don't really have a choice whether you're going to accept it or not.