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A PORTRAIT A DAY KEEPS MYSELF SANE

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Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.

Kenneth Grahame

A good many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped, self-addressed envelope, big enough for the manuscript to come back in. This is too much of a temptation to the editor.

Ring Lardner

When a man’s over head and shoulders in debt, he may live the faster for it, and the better if he goes the right way about it, or else how is it so many live so well, as we see every day after they are ruined?

Maria Edgeworth

That was one of the virtues of being a pessimist: nothing was ever as bad as you thought it would be.

James Jones

I cannot afford to waste my time making money.

Louis Agassiz

He disliked emotion, not because he felt lightly, but because he felt deeply.

John Buchan

If you want to concentrate deeply on some problem, and especially some piece of writing or paper-work, you should acquire a cat. Alone with the cat in the room where you work … the cat will invariably get up on your desk and settle placidly under the desk lamp … The cat will settle down and be serene, with a serenity that passes all understanding. And the tranquility of the cat will gradually come to affect you, sitting there at your desk, so that all the excitable qualities that impede your concentration compose themselves and give your mind back the self-command it has lost. You need not watch the cat all the time. Its presence alone is enough. The effect of a cat on your concentration is remarkable, very mysterious.

Muriel Spark

Thus it has come about that our theoretical and critical literature, instead of giving plain, straightforward arguments in which the author at least always knows what he is saying and the reader what he is reading, is crammed with jargon, ending at obscure crossroads where the author loses its readers. Sometimes these books are even worse: they are just hollow shells. The author himself no longer knows just what he is thinking and soothes himself with obscure ideas which would not satisfy him if expressed in plain speech.

Carl von Clausewitz

Oh it was gorgeousness and gorgeosity made flesh. The trombones crunched redgold under my bed, and behind my gulliver the trumpets three-wise silverflamed, and there by the door the timps rolling through my guts and out again crunched like candy thunder. Oh, it was wonder of wonders. And then, a bird of like rarest spun heavenmetal, or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now, came the violin solo above all the other strings, and those strings were like a cage of silk round my bed. Then flute and oboe bored, like worms of like platinum, into the thick thick toffee gold and silver. I was in such bliss, my brothers.

Anthony Burgess

A well-thought-out story doesn’t need to resemble real life. Life itself tries with all its might to resemble a well-crafted story.

Isaac Babel