If you copy from one author, it’s plagiarism. If you copy from two, it’s research.
With a novelist, like a surgeon, you have to get a feeling that you’ve fallen into good hands – someone from whom you can accept the anesthetic with confidence.
“Lord!” he said, “when you sell a man a book you don’t sell him just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue — you sell him a whole new life. Love and friendship and humour and ships at sea by night — there’s all heaven and earth in a book, a real book I mean. Jiminy! If I were the baker or the butcher or the broom huckster, people would run to the gate when I came by — just waiting for my stuff. And here I go loaded with everlasting salvation — yes, ma’am, salvation for their little, stunted minds — and it’s hard to make ’em see it. That’s what makes it worth while — I’m doing something that nobody else from Nazareth, Maine, to Walla Walla, Washington, has ever thought of. It’s a new field, but by the bones of Whitman, it’s worth while. That’s what this country needs — more books!”
The courage of the poet is to keep ajar the door that leads into madness.
Tracy Lord: These stories are beautiful. Why, Mike, they’re almost poetry.
Macaulay Connor: Don’t kid yourself, they are.
Beneath the rule of men entirely great,
The pen is mightier than the sword.
I do not write for such dull elves
As have not a great deal of ingenuity themselves.
All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.
I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends.
One great advantage which poetry has over prose—one sense in which, we might even say, it is considerably more beautiful—is that it fills up space approximately three times as rapidly.
Jeremy Goodwin: And in that moment, Dan was reminded once again why he wanted to write in the first place: to impress women.
The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business.
I have owed you this letter for a very long time — but my fingers have avoided the pencil as though it were an old and poisoned tool.
A book is like a man—clever and dull, brave and cowardly, beautiful and ugly. For every flowering thought there will be a page like a wet and mangy mongrel, and for every looping flight a tap on the wing and a reminder that wax cannot hold the feathers firm too near the sun.
The task of writing an autobiography is a difficult one. When I try to classify my earliest impressions, I find that fact and fancy look alike across the years that link the past with the present. The woman paints the child’s experiences in her own fantasy. A few impressions stand out vividly from the first years of my life; but “the shadows of the prison-house are on the rest.”
He is a writer. He makes the rest of them nervous.
If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.