Brief, Brilliant Thoughts


No, not mine, silly. My thoughts are usually neither brief nor brilliant, which causes no small difficulty in my life, as you can imagine. (Some of my closer friends out there don’t even have to imagine. They KNOW.)

No, I’m going to tell you where you can find brief, brilliant thoughts that are especially relevant to writers. It’s the Twitter feed of the Paris Review (@parisreview), which consists almost entirely of quotations excerpted from their long, venerable, valuable series of interviews with writers.

I’m deep into my novel, which means I’m in danger of losing sight of the big picture. What is the point of this novel? What is the point of any novel? What is the point of writing? Why did I even get out of bed today? That sort of thing. And like a little burst of smelling salts, here came two quotations that cleared my head, and with these, I shall leave you:

The first obligation of the writer—which I would also regard as his last obligation—is to be interesting.
— John Barth

Writers must describe the terrible.
— John Irving

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