"I made a real specific decision when I came out of school and most artists were writing about home - if you were a woman, you were writing about being a woman - and I decided not to do that, write about what you know. That's not what I do. I went as far away from home as possible in terms of the development of my imagination."
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."Anna Deavere Smith on Albert Einstein
"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life's realities."Anna Deavere Smith on Dr. Seuss
"Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions."Anna Deavere Smith on Albert Einstein
"I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation and is but a reflection of human frailty."Anna Deavere Smith on Albert Einstein
"Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?"Anna Deavere Smith on Sun Tzu
"Racism has been for everyone like a horrible, tragic car crash, and we've all been heavily sedated from it. If we don't come into consciousness of this tragedy, there's going to be a violent awakening we don't want. The question is, can we wake up?"
"People who are sick, or who have been sick, or have come close to death have a lot to say - and they want you to hear it."
"Learning is a tunnel experience that makes us think more broadly."
"Somehow we can't live outside the politics of race. There's something very deep in all of us, that is taught to us when we are very, very little. Which is the disrespect and fear of the other."
"I feel like my work has been my path to freedom from having grown up in a segregated environment."