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By the time you've run your mind through it a hundred times, relentlessly worked out every tic of terror, it's lost its power over you...Soon it's a story on a page or, more precisely, everybody's story on a page.
An excellent plumber is infinitely more admirable than an incompetent philosopher. The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity, and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity, will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.
Ultimately it come down to, are you making or are you destroying? If you try very hard to create ways of living, create dreams of what is possible, then you win. If you don't, you may make a fortune in ten years, but you're not going to be read in twenty years, and that's that.
What art ought to do is tell stories which are moment-by-moment wonderful, which are true to human experience, and which in no way explain human experience.
One must be just a little crazy to write a great novel. One must be capable of allowing the darkest, most ancient and shrewd parts of ones being to take over the work from time to time.
As a rule of thumb I say, if Socrates, Jesus and Tolstoy wouldn't do it, don't.
People will tell you that writing is too difficult, that it's impossible to get your work published, that you might as well hang yourself. Meanwhile, they'll keep writing and you'll have hanged yourself.
Self pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.
Talking, talking. Spinning a web of words, pale walls of dreams, between myself and all I see.
One should fight like the devil the temptation to think well of editors. They are all, without exception - at least some of the time, incompetent or crazy.
It's a staggering transition for high school students that found they could study five hours a week and make As and Bs.
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