The flower has opened

26 May 2016

The flower has opened, has been in the sun and is unafraid. I’m taking more chances; I’m bold and proud.

Paula Cole

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The biggest risk

25 May 2016

The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.

Mark Zuckerberg

I don’t have any bad habits

24 May 2016

I don’t have any bad habits. They might be bad habits for other people, but they’re all right for me.

Eubie Blake

I don’t know where the idea originated

23 May 2016

I don’t know where the idea originated that memoir writing is cathartic. For me, it’s always felt like playing my own neurosurgeon, sans anesthesia. As a memoirist, you have to crack your head open and examine every uncomfortable thing in there.

Koren Zailckas

It was one of the dullest speeches

22 May 2016

It was one of the dullest speeches I ever heard. The Agee woman told us for three quarters of an hour how she came to write her beastly book, when a simple apology was all that was required.

P.G. Wodehouse

I’ve read your novel

21 May 2016

“I’ve read your novel,” he said. “We’d like to publish it. Would it be possible for you to look in here at eleven?” My flu was gone in that moment and never returned. Nothing in a novelist’s life later can equal that moment – the acceptance of his first book [for Greene in 1928]. Triumph is unalloyed by any doubt of the future. Mounting the wide staircase in the elegant eighteenth-century house in Great Russell Street I could have no foreboding of the failures and frustrations of the next ten years.

Graham Greene, A Sort of Life (1971)

Being published

20 May 2016

Being published by the Oxford University Press is rather like being married to a duchess: the honour is almost greater than the pleasure.

G. M. Young

Long ago

19 May 2016

Stephen Dubner, author of Freakonomics, on using puffs from other writers in cover blurbs:

Long ago I used to think they mattered a lot. Then I changed my mind, thinking that blurbs don’t signal much about the quality of the book, but at least they signal something about the quality of the author’s friends or acquaintances who were willing to blurb the book. Lately, I’ve come to believe that they really don’t matter at all, since most readers see blurbs as having about the same level of integrity as a used car salesman’s personal promise that the car you’re about to buy is A-OK.

It is difficult to pigeonhole the publisher

18 May 2016

It is difficult to pigeonhole the publisher: he will care more about his product than an advertising copywriter; be too much of a gambler to become a successful merchant banker; too full of blind spots and optimism to be a lawyer; and his essential – if unreal – sense of his own importance would preclude diplomacy as a career. He will be part impresario, part missionary. He will not himself create like a composer, a painter or a choreographer, and if he writes at all he may make an unsuitable spectacle of himself, “like a cow in a milk bar”, as Arthur Koestler said.

Anthony Blond

As repressed sadists

17 May 2016

As repressed sadists are supposed to become policemen or butchers, so those with irrational fear of life become publishers.

Cyril Connolly

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