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" The human race is intoxicated with narrow victories, for life is a string of them like pearls that hit the floor when the rope breaks, and roll away in perfection and anarchy. "
" My father ran London Films. He made films like 'The Red Shoes,' 'The Third Man.' And he had had a long career in the film business, which was bifurcated with a career in intelligence. He had to deal with gangsters, and sometimes he would take me with him. Also, I went to school with their children. "
" If it wasn't for music, I would think that love is mortal. "
" I've never had a cup of coffee in my life. I can't even remain in the same room with coffee. "
" Mozart and Neil Diamond may have begun with the same idea, but that a work of art is more than an idea is confirmed by the difference between the 'Soave sia il vento' and 'Kentucky Woman.' We have different words for 'art' and 'idea' because they are two different things. "
" Accident is as much a part of fiction as anything else, symbolic of the grace that, along with will, conspires to put words on the page. "
" In American military cemeteries all over the world, seemingly endless rows of whitened grave markers stand largely unvisited and in silence. The gardeners tend the lawns, one section at a time. Even at the famous sites, tourism is inconstant. "
" My father was famous for his photographic memory. He was in the OSS. They trained him to be captured on purpose and to read upside down and backwards and commit to memory every document in Germany he saw as he was being interrogated - every schedule on every wall. So, that photographic memory somehow made its way to me when I was young. "
" Well-timed silence is the most commanding expression. "
" The thing that strikes you most about being a soldier in a war zone and in action to the small extent that I was, when actually people start shooting, which happened to me a couple of times, everything goes on automatic and there's a feeling of tremendous elevation and even elation. "
" I was raised on the Hudson, in a house that had been the stable of the financier and Civil War general Brayton Ives. In midcentury, we had fire pits in the floor for heating, and rats everywhere, because they nested in the hay insulation. "
" When I was very young, I used to clean up after my parents. If I stay in a hotel, I make the bed and clean the room when I get up, even the bathroom mirror, for which I carry a tiny bottle of ammonia. "
" I have jumped out of airplanes but I was not technically a paratrooper. I was an infantryman and a night fighter, anti-terrorist. "
" The greatest fight is when you are fighting in the smoke and cannot see with your eyes. "
" The best way to meet a woman is in an emergency situation - if you're in a shipwreck, or you find yourself behind enemy lines, or in a flood. "
" Marxists are people whose insides are torn up day after day because they want to rule the world and no one will even publish their letter to the editor. "
" The trick in nuclear strategy is to maintain stability by balancing potentials and thus to discourage events from converting the hypothetical to the actual. "
" In an interview, I lose control even of what I am, for it is the interviewer who edits me, finally, into what he thinks I am, and never have I been happy with someone else's version of my life after that person has spent an entire two or three hours fathoming it. "
" I used to write exclusively with one particular Montblanc fountain pen, although lately I have had to use a roller-tip fountain pen, because I find it harder and harder to control the fine muscles of my right hand during prolonged periods of work. I buy boxes of Deluxe Uni-ball pens, use them until they start to drag, and then change. "
" The craftless anarchy of the Beat poets on the one hand, and the extreme control of Henry James on the other, suggest that for most human beings, just as both freedom and discipline are necessary in life, serendipity and design must coexist in a work to make it readable. "
" Not a single illegal immigrant should or need enter the United States, not one. Contrary to the common wisdom, the borders are easy to seal, and controlling entry is hardly totalitarian. "
" I wrote a great deal of a novel, 'Winter's Tale,' on the roof of a Brooklyn Heights tenement on Henry Street. I was a technical climber, and now and then I would put down my manuscript and get up to walk along parapets and climb walls and chimneys. "
" Barnes & Noble is able to publish price-reduced non-copyrighted works not so much because it saves the 10 percent to 15 percent of revenue that would go to the gruel-eating authors, but because it saves the 50 percent that would go to the publishers. "
" Though builders may build, in the main they follow the plans of architects. Teachers teach, but they must have a text. Politicians govern, but only upon the flow of commentary that raises them up or casts them down. "
" Of course, you would have to be insane to hope your child grows up to be a playwright or poet. Given the odds, you would have to be quite cavalier about your children's future. "