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All Quotes by author - Walter Kirn
" 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. "
" A loving mother-son relationship is always a plot or outwitting of some kind. 'Don't tell anyone, but...' my mother was always saying to me - when I wasn't saying it to her. "
" A president, like a college freshman, can't know in advance which questions he'll have to answer or what topics he'll have to master. He has to be flexible, supple, and responsive. He has to be comfortable with multiple-choice. "
" Ask Jeeves! Who ever used that thing? College freshmen to find out who Goethe was - that's it. "
" 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. "
" At college, I wanted to be a poet. I liked the extremely concentrated language, the atmosphere of otherworldliness. "
" A true nature is a gloomy monolith, sort of like that old black rotary phone that I had to sing 'Happy Birthday' to Grandpa on. But novelists, damn us, still need true natures - so we can give them to our protagonists. And so readers can vaguely predict how they'll behave when we trap them in 'situations' that they can't IM their way out of. "
" 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. "
" A writer who isn't writing is asking for trouble. "
" 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. "
" E-mails, phone calls, Web sites, videos. They're still all letters, basically, and they've come to outnumber old-fashioned conversations. They are the conversation now. "
" 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. "
" 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! "
" God is a freaking character, with enough foibles, tantrums, and paradoxical behaviors to supply a thousand screenplays. But who do you cast? "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" Here's how adaptation works - almost everything in the movie is in the book in some form. But it's as though the deck has been completely reshuffled and some of the cards have been assigned different values, some of the fours have been made into jacks, and some of the jacks have been made into twos. "
" Horror and panic themselves are forms of violence, and diminishing them, restricting their dimensions, is itself a civilizing act. "
" 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. "
" I'd assumed that a deal was a deal when Princeton admitted me, but I was wrong. The price of getting in - to the university itself, and to the great world it promised to open up - was an endless dunning for nebulous services that weren't included in the initial quote. "
" If the future, as imagined in literature, is really the present taken to extremes, then the past is also the present, but boiled down. "
" 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. "
" I grew up in a little town in Minnesota, 500 people. I went out to Princeton, and I wasn't very well-accepted out there by the fancy folks of Princeton University, I felt. I came away bruised and feeling rejected. "
" I had the impression from reading English literature that British women were great beauties, and I only had seen Julie Christie, and she was gorgeous and sexy. I don't know whether it was just my taste, but when I got to London, I went two years without seeing a truly attractive woman. A lot of near misses. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" I love reference books, especially collections of memorable quotations, world almanacs, and atlases. Facts to me are like candy or popcorn, small, tasty delights, and I like to gorge on them now and then. "
" I'm a magpie in my fiction, taking whatever looks shiny and curious to line the nest of my story. "
" 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. "
" In America, to be ID'd - sorted, tagged, and permanently filed - is to lose a bit of one's soul. To die a little. This sounds like a subtle, poetic notion. It's not. In American legal and cultural tradition, one essential privilege of citizenship is not having to prove it on demand. "
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