Quotenik
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words

“Don’t let anyone say there aren’t magic words.”

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source: The Blazing World (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2014), 17.

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medium: Fiction

“Copy editors attend the flow of the prose and watch for the leaks.”

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source: “Draft No. 4: Replacing the Words in Boxes,” New Yorker, April 29, 2013.

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medium: Essay

“A word can be any size.”

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source: interview with Paul Holdengräber, LIVE from the NYPL, March 6, 2013

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medium: Interview

“Other people’s words are the bridge you use to cross from where you were to wherever you’re going.”

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source: “Other People’s Words, Part One,” in Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays (New York: Penguin, 2009).

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medium: Essay

“A story is a way to say something that can’t be said any other way, and it takes every word in the story to say what the meaning is. You tell a story because a statement would be inadequate. When anybody asks what a story is about, the only proper thing is to tell him to read the story.”

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source: Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose (New York: Macmillan, 1969), 96.

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medium: Nonfiction

“At around age six, perhaps, I was standing by myself in our front yard waiting for supper, just at that hour in a late summer day when the sun is already below the horizon and the risen full moon in the visible sky stops being chalky and begins to take on light. There comes the moment, and I saw it then, when the moon goes from flat to round. For the first time it met my eyes as a globe. The word ‘moon’ came into my mouth as though fed to me out of a silver spoon. Held in my mouth the moon became a word. It had the roundness of a Concord grape Grandpa took off his vine and gave me to suck out of its skin and swallow whole, in Ohio.”

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source: Eudora Welty, One Writer’s Beginnings (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984), 10.

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medium: Memoir

“Children are game for anything. I throw them hard words, and they backhand them over the net. They love words that give them a hard time, provided they are in a context that absorbs their attention. I’m lucky again—my own vocabulary is small, compared to most writers, and I tend to use the short words. So it’s no problem for me to write for children. We have a lot in common.”

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source: The Paris Review Interviews, vol. IV (New York: Picador, 2009), 147.

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medium: Interview

“A verb is a word that summons
an ionized word —
a word without a body.”

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source: Cahiers/Notebooks, Volume 4 (Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Peter Lang, 2010), 89.

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medium: Notebook

“I’ve recently done a lot of experiments with scrapbooks. I’ll read in the newspaper something that reminds me of or has relation to something I’ve written. I’ll cut out the picture or article and paste it in a scrapbook beside the words from my book. Or, I’ll be walking down the street and I’ll suddenly see a scene from my book and I’ll photograph it and put it in a scrapbook…In other words, I’ve been interested in precisely how word and image get around on very, very complex association lines.”

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source: “The Art of Fiction No. 36,” The Paris Review, interviewed by Conrad Knickerbocker, Fall 1965.

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medium: Interview

“Word by word a poem is built. The choice of one over another implies an attitude and reflects the writer’s beliefs, insights, and character. Think of forestry bosses calling the killing of trees ‘harvesting,’ or of Dick Cheney calling water boarding ‘robust interrogation.’ Albert Camus went so far as to say, ‘Naming an object inaccurately means adding to the unhappiness of the world.'”

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source: “Holding Feathers in Your Teeth,” introduction to The Best Canadian Poetry in English (Toronto: Tightrope Books, 2010), xi.

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medium: Introduction

“Canard. That’s a good word. It’s hard to use, though, without being awkward. I’ve not found too many sentences I can put it in.”

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source: “Governor Brown Redux: The Iceman Melteth,” by Maureen Down, The New York Times, March 5, 2011.

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medium: Op-Ed

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language / And next year’s words await another voice.”

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source: “Little Gidding,” in The Waste Land and Other Poems (New York: Penguin, 2003), xxi.

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medium: poetry

“Words shouted into a fierce gale which is anyway blowing in the wrong direction.”

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source: letter to James Wood, dated September 9, 1996, in Saul Bellow: Letters (New York: Viking, 2010), 525–26.

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medium: letter

“You can be in the middle of a creative meeting at your job or something, and enough material can rush through your head just in the little silences when people are looking over their notes and waiting for the next presentation that it would take exponentially longer than the whole meeting just to try to put a few seconds’ silence’s flood of thoughts into words.”

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source: “Good Old Neon,” in Oblivion: Stories (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2004), 150.

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medium: fiction

“Inside this pencil crouch words that have never been written.”

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source: “The Unwritten,” in The Second Four Books of Poems (Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press, 1993), 250–51.

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medium: poetry

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