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" A book is a gift you can open again and again. "
" Thank you, dear God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough. Thank you for the rain. And for the chance to wake up in three hours and go fishing: I thank you for that now, because I won't feel so thankful then. "
" Even in a time of elephantine vanity and greed, one never has to look far to see the campfires of gentle people. "
" A girl in a bikini is like having a loaded pistol on your coffee table - There's nothing wrong with them, but it's hard to stop thinking about it. "
" Humor has to surprise us; otherwise, it isn't funny. It's a death knell for a writer to be labeled a humorist because then it's not a surprise anymore. "
" A lovely thing about Christmas is that it's compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together. "
" A minister has to be able to read a clock. At noon, it's time to go home and turn up the pot roast and get the peas out of the freezer. "
" Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a function. "
" It was luxuries like air conditioning that brought down the Roman Empire. With air conditioning their windows were shut, they couldn't hear the barbarians coming. "
" I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it. "
" Lake Wobegon, the little town that time forgot and the decades cannot improve. "
" I think that if writers are tempted to do other things, they ought to go do other things. They should not write if they don't feel like it. I say this as a competitor. I am not interested in encouraging people who are in competition with me. "
" Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known. "
" I think the most un-American thing you can say is, 'You can't say that.' "
" Cursing is highly effective in person - someone kicks his car in rage, forgetting he's wearing flip-flops, flames pour from his mouth, and it's impressive. But you see it in print, and it's just ugly. "
" God writes a lot of comedy... the trouble is, he's stuck with so many bad actors who don't know how to play funny. "
" I talk in subjects and verbs, and sort of wind around in concentric circles until I get far enough away from the beginning so that I can call it the end, and it ends. "
" Welcome to Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average. "
" The reason to retire is to try to avoid embarrassment; you ought to do it before people are dropping big hints. You want to be the first to come up with the idea. You don't want to wait until you trip and fall off the stage. "
" It's a shallow life that doesn't give a person a few scars. "
" Sometimes you have to look reality in the eye, and deny it. "
" They say such nice things about people at their funerals that it makes me sad that I'm going to miss mine by just a few days. "
" I don't have a great eye for detail. I leave blanks in all of my stories. I leave out all detail, which leaves the reader to fill in something better. "
" I was an English major at the University of Minnesota, and I was very shy, which many people misinterpreted as intelligence. On the basis of that wrong impression, I became the editor of the campus literary magazine. "
" A good newspaper is never nearly good enough but a lousy newspaper is a joy forever. "
" I love New York, and I'm drawn to a certain intensity of life, but I've just never felt like I want to escape from the Midwest. A writer lives a great deal in his own head, and so one intuitively finds places where your head is more clear. New York for me is one of those places. "
" Zoroastrians believe in one Great Almighty Spirit of Good who is in combat against evil forces, and Goodness prevails in the end. There is no self-flagellation or staring at the sun or snake-handling. "
" The father of a daughter is nothing but a high-class hostage. A father turns a stony face to his sons, berates them, shakes his antlers, paws the ground, snorts, runs them off into the underbrush, but when his daughter puts her arm over his shoulder and says, 'Daddy, I need to ask you something,' he is a pat of butter in a hot frying pan. "
" I've wanted to be a writer since I was a boy, though it seemed an unlikely outcome since I showed no real talent. But I persevered and eventually found my own row to hoe. Ignorance of other writers' work keeps me from discouragement and I am less well-read than the average bus driver. "
" I write for a radio show that, no matter what, will go on the air Saturday at five o'clock central time. You learn to write toward that deadline, to let the adrenaline pick you up on Friday morning and carry you through, to cook up a monologue about Lake Wobegon and get to the theater on time. "
" I want to resume the life of a shy person. "