Walter Kirn Famous Quotes & Sayings

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Top 100 Walter Kirn Quotes

#1. Ask Jeeves! Who ever used that thing? College freshmen to find out who Goethe was - that's it. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#2. Cross the wrong state border with your gun, or wake up one morning to new legislation or a new presidential executive order, and suddenly you're the bad guy, not the good guy. No wonder some gun owners seem so touchy; they feel, at some level, like criminals in waiting. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#3. If I had to pick between knowing just a little about a lot of folks and knowing everything about a few, I'd opt for the long, wide-angle shot, I think. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#4. I'm a magpie in my fiction, taking whatever looks shiny and curious to line the nest of my story. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#5. The lines we draw that make us who we are are potent by virtue of being non-negotiable, and even, at some level, indefensible. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#6. On the Web, we can be whoever we wish to be, editing the face we show to others in ways that aren't possible in physical space. We can also fine-tune the complexity and depth of our interactions and relationships. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#7. I'd forgotten this about women: so many conditions. A man shouldn't take them to heart, and yet he does, because he doesn't want to be alone. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#8. I studied English at Princeton in the early eighties in what I consider a period of high obscurity. Professors and students ran around discussing the work of critics and philosophers that I doubt they'd read or understood. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#9. Leslie Titmuss bothered me. His name, it made me want to sneeze. I also thought I recognized it. I typed it into my laptop, a procedure that had lately held far too much suspense for me. Among the top results the search returned was a page from GoodReads, a literary website. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#10. It's been a concern of mine for years that the mainstream media coverage of culture and politics takes place in two nodes, Washington and New York, and yet all the voting goes on somewhere else. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#11. When I shoot at the range, I don't feel personally powerful but like the custodian of something powerful. I feel like a successful disciplinarian of something radically alien and potent. Analyze this sensation all you want; you still can't make it go away. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#12. God is a freaking character, with enough foibles, tantrums, and paradoxical behaviors to supply a thousand screenplays. But who do you cast? - Author: Walter Kirn
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#13. Realized that at a level I'd never been conscious we'd been engaged in a game of wits for years. I suppose most writer-subject pairings are like that. Of course, I'd set aside my plan to write about him [Clark Rockfeller] as soon as I'd gotten to know him some, but now I'd resumed that intention. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#14. This is how it works now with the news: the story begins with a moral, then a narrative is fashioned to support it. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#15. You long for a windfall that will let you quit and pursue your great hobby - Author: Walter Kirn
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#16. The room-service Caesar salads with soggy croutons, the distant relatives who show up at readings pitching weird, far-fetched investment schemes, the fans who have you sign a book to 'Cathy' and then tell you, 'No, it's Kathy with a K' - it gets challenging after a while. It tests your stamina. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#17. We were all journalists, professional truth-seekers, but one thing we knew about the truth that laymen were prone to disregard was that it need not be literal or factual; the unpredictable human personality was itself a fact. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#18. I'm a novelist, a critic, an essayist - I tend to see politics as a subset of cultures rather than the other way around. It's a human enterprise, a tool or a technology revealing our collective inner self. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#19. There are two sides to me. One is the writer. That's a savage person who looks at everything as a story and, you know, wants to use real life in his books. The other part is the Midwesterner, who, you know, wants to say nice things about people and be polite. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#20. According to the perverse aesthetics of artistic guilty pleasure, certain books and movies are so bad - so crudely conceived, despicably motivated and atrociously executed - that they're actually rather good. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#21. Good short-story collections, like good record albums, are almost always hit-and-miss affairs - successful if they include three or four great tracks, wildly successful if they have five. And that's as it should be. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#22. The future of time, of how it's won or lost, endured or enjoyed, expanded or compressed, will depend on how it's valued, not how it's measured. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#23. Everyone loves a witch hunt as long as it's someone else's witch being hunted. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#24. I've come to learn that the determined and gifted and genuine sociopath has far more power to deceive than we realize. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#25. The human body is strangely made and sometimes it pays not to think about it too closely. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#26. If writers, like comedians or singers, could only hear themselves bombing as they worked, it's likely that certain books would be cut short after the first few leaden sentences. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#27. What was more humiliating, I wondered: having to beg for someone's cold chicken bones or being offered them? - Author: Walter Kirn
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#28. Uncertainty doesn't make life worth living, quite, but it does make striving and gambling worth attempting. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#29. [T]he anti-vitriol vitriol is getting ugly. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#30. Overpopulation has a ceiling: earth's total surface area divided by the dimensions of one economy seat. One more baby is born and hello cannibalism. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#31. The idea that Americans favor politicians who either remind them of themselves or can imagine what their selves are like because they too have struggled and sung the blues, is, like very best theories of human behavior, immune to falsification by mere evidence. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#32. They lived in a blurry world, those two, where clear, consistent intentions weren't required. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#33. I feel like my head is finally the right size. I feel like it finally fits around my mind. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#34. Writing about the future and the past is less a way of dramatizing change than of showing, by way of contrast, what abides. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#35. His thoughts were clearly still shoving him further away, toward some ultimate dark drama that he might or might not have actually lived through but whose telling would let out the pressure inside his skull. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#36. It's the little deceptions that no one catches that are going to dissolve it all someday. We'll look at clocks and we won't believe the hands. They'll forecast sun but we'll pack our slickers anyway. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#37. To apologize for your personal absolutes, for what Sandy Pinter calls your "Core Attachments," means apologizing for your very existence. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#38. The mist just keeps on lifting and soon I'll be able to see all the way, as far as the earth's curvature allows. It's a blessing, that curvature, that hidden hemisphere-if we could take it all in at one, why move? - Author: Walter Kirn
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#39. Love is a powerful painkiller. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#40. The reason con artists get away with what they get away with is, their victims are ashamed of their own blindness and their own gullibility, and they tend to just quietly go away. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#41. When I was writing about the Republican primaries, it was as though the Bible was a black box that people reached into to pull out edicts and prejudices and rules and opinions, and I wish they had fact-checked it! Especially Rick Santorum. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#42. Short stories are fiction's R & D department, and failed or less-than-conclusive experiments are not just to be expected but to be hoped for. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#43. She was already dead, but we were starved for followers and stupefied by the elixir of our own heroism, and so we pretended words could resurrect her. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#44. Liars are exhausting people. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#45. I sensed the presence of wizened bachelor potters working in sheds behind their mothers' houses. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#46. Requesting permission from someone to be honest is really a way of accusing the other person of being so demanding or overbearing that you couldn't be honest all along. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#47. Every generation looks at literature through the lens of their own experience, but with the Bible, everyone gets apprehensive and thinks it'll be too stuffy. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#48. No matter how you cut them, paste them, rotate them, or distort them, lip syncing and air-guitar playing are fundamentally foolish activities, and anyone seen to be engaging in them with anything approaching a straight face is, by definition, taking herself or himself much too seriously. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#49. Other people's devotions embarrassed me, perhaps because, like other people's kisses, they rarely looked genuine when viewed too closely. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#50. My mother used to push 'Wuthering Heights' on me as a boy, and I sensed from her breathy description of the story that it would make me laugh. I have no plans to find out if this is true. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#51. Our habit of wishing backward from what is to what might have been is the soft but persistent tapping that cracks the crystal. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#52. A sociopath doesn't warm up their environment, doesn't make it cozy. They don't have to; when they're not performing, when they're not manipulating, when they're all alone, there's nothing. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#53. In fourth grade, I learned that reading was serious business, not just a pleasant way to pass the time, and that like medicine or engineering, it had a definite, valuable purpose: to foster 'comprehension.' - Author: Walter Kirn
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#54. We want to believe that we're invulnerable, and that people who get tricked deserve it. Well, they don't. And someday the arrogant types who mock the gullible are likely to get their turn to wear the dunce cap. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#55. It looked like just the sort of family Americans dream of having: dumb and loving. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#56. You thought you were found but you realize that you were lost, and someday you may discover that you're lost now. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#57. I think of myself as writing realist American fiction. 'Cynical but hopeful' wouldn't be the worst thing I've ever been called. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#58. The least sexy city is Los Angeles. And it poses as the most sexy. As you grow up, L.A. is being sold to you as home of the bikini-clad party girls. And then you get there, and it's full of very goal-oriented, yoga-obsessed careerists. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#59. You're able to do things in novels: introduce subplots, other characters, thematic layers and so on, in a way that you simply can't in a movie. A movie really has to choose its battles. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#60. Central Wyoming was like hell without the flames, an underworld thrust up onto the surface. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#61. Thanks to Twitter, iPads, BlackBerrys, voice-activated in-dash navigation systems, and a hundred other technologies that offer distraction anywhere, anytime, boredom has loosened its grip on us at last - that once-crushing 'weight' has become, for the most part, a memory. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#62. I review books as a day job, and through the years I've come to view the contemporary memoir as, almost always, a saga of victimization, sometimes by others, sometimes by the self, and sometimes by illness or misfortune, leading, like clockwork, to healing and redemption. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#63. Meanness on request isn't meanness at all, but kindness carried too far. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#64. I like to think that I could praise the good book of someone I personally dislike. I try not to comment on the person, to be insulting, but I have no trouble being insulting to the work. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#65. Let the novelists fret about consistency - story writers should feel free to jam; to get things right in new, surprising ways by allowing themselves, now and then, to get things wrong. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#66. I could see tall ideas standing up behind his eyes. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#67. Just breathing can be such a luxury sometimes. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#68. If the future, as imagined in literature, is really the present taken to extremes, then the past is also the present, but boiled down. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#69. Reason leavened with a little wit (if possible) is the real alternative to hate speech, meaning that there's no better time for it. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#70. Horror and panic themselves are forms of violence, and diminishing them, restricting their dimensions, is itself a civilizing act. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#71. I understood that no one lives forever, but there are certain people whose power and presence so thoroughly penetrate your view of things that contemplating their absence feels as strange as imagining having never been born yourself. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#72. Everyone his own cinematographer. His own stream-of-consciousness e-mail poet. His own nightclub DJ. His own political columnist. His own biographer of his top-10 friends! - Author: Walter Kirn
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#73. One of the saddest things about publishing is how quickly it ages what it touches. The frenzy involved in getting books on shelves, and in putting the word out that they're there, moves at a speed that is not the speed of writing, let alone of reading. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#74. Some strangers become more important to you than family, maybe because you're not expected to love them. You can leave them whenever you want to. They can, too. Every moment together is a choice. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#75. Frustration comes from fighting your own momentum. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#76. However old-fashioned and right-wing this may sound, the American genius for language lies in understatement, in saying things simply, pointedly and quickly, and in making new and clean and swift what otherwise might be ponderous, round and slow. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#77. Stopping to think is fine for characters, but not for their creators. They have to work. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#78. A writer who isn't writing is asking for trouble. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#79. Sometimes, when a person is truly lost in this world, suffocating inside her private bubble where all she can hear is her own droning heartbeat, a touch can be enough. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#80. You have plausible deniability, as they say in politics, as an author with movies. Because if the movie is terrible, you simply say they failed to catch the genius of the book. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#81. Statistics on the dangers guns pose to the health of their owners and those who live with them suggest that I'd be safer selling my guns than reserving them for 'Tombstone II.' - Author: Walter Kirn
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#82. Guns can turn you into an insider even if you're an outsider by nature, recruiting you into a loose fraternity of people who feel embattled and defensive and are primally eager to win allies. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#83. His voice sounded more sincere in these surroundings, less distorted by pride and pain. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#84. Nothing is less suspenseful than a threat that threatens the maker of the threat at least as much as the subject of the threat. Congress hasn't learned this yet, but America has learned it over and over. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#85. It's no accident that most self-help groups use 'anonymous' in their names; to Americans, the first step toward redemption is a ritual wiping out of the self, followed by the construction of a new one. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#86. Most writers' view of the New West is either phony - obsessed with the same tired mythology - or it's obsessed with anti-mythology, ... There's not a lot of realistic, observant writing about the West right now. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#87. I have very specific advice for aspiring writers: go to New York. And if you can't go to New York, go to the place that represents New York to you, where the standards for writing are high, there are other people who share your dreams, and where you can talk, talk, talk about your interests. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#88. Who were all these people, so many of them so brown? What was this ritual unfolding around him? I've never seen a German look as German as Clark did when he assessed his likely assessors. His eyes were like small blue coins behind his glasses. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#89. Art, art of any kind, shows that folks are trying. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#90. I still believe in love. I always will. It's my blessing and my burden. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#91. Memo to extreme partisans: If you can't bring yourselves to love your enemies, can you at least learn to hate your friends? - Author: Walter Kirn
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#92. Though I no longer liked him or respected him, the thought of his disapproval frightened me. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#93. Thoughts are thoughts and that's all they are. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#94. I think people get a sense of possibility when they're on a plane, even romantic possibility, wondering if the perfect person is going to sit down next to them or something. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#95. A writer is someone who tells you one thing so someday he can tell his readers another thing: what he was thinking but declined to say, or what he would have thought had he been wiser. A writer turns his life into material, and if you're in his life, he uses yours, too. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#96. Spirit was a by-product of activity, like the reflection from a spinning fan blade, and our souls in the end did not reside within us but flowed outward from our movements. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#97. Truth is stranger than nonfiction. And life is too interesting to be left to journalists. People have stories, but journalists have 'takes,' and it's their takes that usually win out when the stories are too complicated or, as happens, not complicated enough. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#98. Size matters in fiction, but so does lack of size. Everything else being equal, fat novels tend to be perceived as serious, very thin ones as more honest, more real. Writers address these age-old expectations by filling their big books with philosophy and cramming their little ones with feeling. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#99. How soon human beings forget what a privilege it is to live in freedom. A privilege, not an honor. An honor would mean we deserved it. We do not. - Author: Walter Kirn
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#100. A writer has a use for his experiences that most civilians simply don't; he or she discerns material in situations that others simply live through. Perhaps there are some who disapprove of this, but without this double consciousness, literature would not get made at all. - Author: Walter Kirn
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