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Writers

Scattered through all the rooms, like the yeast in an upside-down cake, were the critics, the magazine writers, the freelance journalists, and the book-compiling aficionados who fill the chinks and crannies of every film festival worthy of the name. These were the only guests talking about movies, and they were doing so passionately, knowledgeably, and interminably.

From Donald E. Westlake’s Who Stole Sassi Manoon?

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Writing

"For the writer in the family you don’t seem to write much."

"I email people constantly."

"I always liked those fiction stories you wrote. Like the one with the cat and her clumsy girl owner, and the cat just keeps trying not to get hurt when the girl plays with her."

"I was ten when I wrote that."

From Dustin Long’s Bad Teeth

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Exemplars

A human who can’t ignore common sense to leap firmly into the saddle of the wrong horse is a pretty poor example of the species, all in all.

From Donald E. Westlake’s Humans

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Knowing your type

There are writers who use many words to say little, others who say much with few words, and still others, rare ones, who can say everything with a single word. Let the reader decide to which category Vigoleis belongs, for I am unable to decide for myself. One thing about me is clear, however: I shall never inscribe this single word. I prefer to circumscribe it, paraphrase it.

From Albert Vigoleis Thelen’s The Island of Second Sight

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Ambition

At this very moment, I have a feeling that somewhere in the world a publisher, bankrupt from trying to sell volumes by precocious young poets, is preparing a series called “Mole Editions,” with which he will blindly attempt to tunnel through the steadily increasing mounds of masterpieces of world literature, in the process throwing up mounds of his own that will indicate exactly where the digging is good, with the result that literary merchants from all continents will follow him with their shovels in the ready.

From Albert Vigoleis Thelen’s The Island of Second Sight

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The wisdom of crowds

A crowd, proportionate to its size, magnifies all that in its units pertains to the emotions, and diminishes all that in them pertains to thought.

From Max Beerbohm’s Zuleika Dobson

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Late

Dear friend, the fate of belated letters is well known: First they are expected, then no longer. 

From Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s “Postmark: Moscow,” in Autobiography of a Corpse

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Soiitude

Where are solitudes most discoverable? Let me see, usually on the periphery of a city since the need to be alone acts centrifugally—in relation to a city’s convergent centripetal force. 

From Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s ”Seams,” in Autobiography of a Corpse

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Shadows

Night, you see, never goes away, even at noon: Torn up into myriads of shadows, it hides right here, in the day; lift up a burdock leaf, and a black wisp of night will dart down into the root. Everywhere—in archways, by walls, under leaves—night, torn up into black scraps, waits. When the sun begins to flag, the black scraps slip cautiously out from everywhere—from under leaves,stone cornices, hillsides—and knit together again into darkness. Just as the eye can follow and catch, even in the midday glare, this purely optical night waiting for the signal to come out of hiding, so that other night—what I would call the ontological night—never forsakes souls or things. Even for an instant.

From Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s “The Collector of Cracks, in Autobiography of a Corpse

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Spider-Man by Jerome Opeña & Marte Gracia Pazuzu