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All Quotes by author - Teju Cole
" Always say 'no pun intended' to draw attention to the intended pun. "
" A mob is not, as is so often said, mindless. A mob is single-minded. "
" Barack Obama is an elegant and literate man with a cosmopolitan sense of the world. He is widely read in philosophy, literature, and history - as befits a former law professor - and he has shown time and again a surprising interest in contemporary fiction. "
" Because I'm an art historian, I have some experience of writing that comes out of close attention. That's what really art history is. You're looking at something very closely, and you try to write in a meticulous way about it. "
" Breughel is an example of an artist - I mean, this is true about artists and painters in general, but he is a specific example of an artist whose work contains more than you think it does at first glance. Whose work rewards, sustains attention and looking. "
" Each time I caught sight of geese swooping in formation across the sky, I wondered how our life below might look from their perspective, and imagined that, were they ever to indulge in such speculation, the high-rises might seem to them like firs massed in a grove. "
" For purposes of marketing, writers are designated as poets, novelists, or something else. But writing is about matchmaking, an attempt to marry sensations with apt words. "
" I am a novelist. I traffic in subtleties, and my goal in writing a novel is to leave the reader not knowing what to think. A good novel shouldn't have a point. "
" I am on Vine. It's another early-adopter kind of thing. I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do with it. What's interesting about it is that everybody knows these amazing restrictions we've put on it: I have to use my iPhone, I can only use one continuous take, I cannot edit afterwards, I cannot put sound afterwards. "
" I am suspicious of writers who say their work is original and influenced by nobody. If it is, it is probably uninteresting. The biggest source of novels is other novels. "
" I'd like to meet fewer people who say 'Oh, I want to write a book, here are 10 pages I've written,' and more 'Oh, I want to write a book, here are 300 pages I've written.' "
" I'm not trying to be a poet on Twitter; I'm trying to be aware of the fact that a very simple sentence, well written, can have a very moving effect without that person knowing why. There's a deep genetic part of you that somehow, even without your permission, recognizes good language when it arrives. "
" In a Transtromer poem, you inhabit space differently; a body becomes a thing, a mind floats, things have lives, and even non-things, even concepts, are alive. "
" In countries with a properly functioning legal system, the mob continues to exist, but it is rarely called upon to mete out capital punishment. The right to take human life belongs to the state. Not so in societies where weak courts and poor law enforcement are combined with intractable structural injustices. "
" In 'Open City,' there is a passage that any reader of Joyce will immediately recognise as a very close, formal analogue of one the stories in 'Dubliners.' That is because a novel is also a literary conversation. "
" I probably get a deeper satisfaction of having taken a very good photograph than of having written something very good, a very good story. Maybe it's because the element of magic is so present in a good photograph - luck and magic, but also hard work and being ready and all that. "
" I was in New York City on 9/11. Grief remains from that awful day, but not only grief. There is fear, too, a fear informed by the knowledge that whatever my worst nightmare is, there is someone out there embittered enough to carry it out. "
" Lyrical poetry is not a big part of most people's lives. Twitter now becomes an interesting way of getting cared for language into people's space. Because there is something deep inside of us that responds to cared for language, whether it's literary, poetry, or really good lyrics in a song. "
" Never say 'I went to Harvard.' Say 'I schooled in the Boston area.' "
" Oh, I love labels, as long as they are numerous. I'm an American writer. I'm a Nigerian writer. I'm a Nigerian American writer. I'm an African writer. I'm a Yoruba writer. I'm an African American writer. "
" Old-school hip hop, i.e., whatever was popular when you were nineteen, is great. Everything since then is intolerable. "
" One of the chief characteristics of a mob is its quickness. It is sudden. It pounces. "
" One of the difficulties of photography is that it is much better at being explicit than at being reticent. "
" On many days my primary artistic struggle is, in fact, photography because it is harder to do good work with that. I see myself as an observer of the world who has a strong drive to testify, which I can do because I have the privilege of living in New York with enough food to eat and shelter. "
" Probably the biggest temptation that young writers face is to be entertaining, to show your bag of tricks and do a bit of tap dancing. I read a lot of things, and I keep seeing this brocade of voice where someone is trying to be too pally with you or ingratiating on the page. "
" Punitive murder by the police and by vigilantes has existed in all societies at some point, and probably still exists in most. "
" Religion is close to theatre; much of its power comes from the effects of staging and framing. "
" Swear you'd rather die than use 'literally' as an intensifier. "
" The content of Saul Leiter's photographs arrives on a sort of delay: it takes a moment after the first glance to know what the picture is about. You don't so much see the image as let it dissolve into your consciousness, like a tablet in a glass of water. "
" The most common thing I find is very brilliant, acute, young people who want to become writers but they are not writing. You know, they really badly want to write a book but they are not writing it. The only advice I can give them is to just write it, get to the end of it. And, you know, if it's not good enough, write another one. "
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