You can fire your secretary, divorce your spouse, abandon your children. But they remain your co-authors forever.
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- Traditions are the guideposts driven deep in our subconscious minds. The most powerful ones are those we can’t even describe and aren’t even aware of.
- There is something about the literary life that repels me, all this desperate building of castles on cobwebs, the long-drawn acrimonious struggle to make something important which we all know will be gone forever in a few years, the miasma of failure which is to me almost as offensive as the cheap gaudiness of popular success.
- Writing is not like painting where you add. It is not what you put on the canvas that the reader sees. Writing is more like a sculpture where you remove, you eliminate in order to make the work visible. Even those pages you remove somehow remain.
- A writer never reads his work. For him, it is the unreadable, a secret, and he cannot remain face to face with it. A secret, because he is separated from it.
- As a man has no right to kill one of his children if it is diseased or insane, so a man who has made the gradual and conscious expression of his personality in literature the aim of his life, has no right to suppress himself any carefully considered work which seemed good enough when it was written. Suppression, if it is deserved, will come rapidly enough from the same causes that suppress the unworthy members of a man’s family.
- O Grub Street! how do I bemoan thee, whose graceless children scorn to own thee! . Yet thou hast greater cause to be ashamed of them, than they of thee.