“My most important piece of advice to all you would-be writers: When you write, try to leave out all the parts readers skip.”
― Elmore Leonard, Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing
“What came first – the music or the misery? Did I listen to the music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to the music? Do all those records turn you into a melancholy person?”
― Nick Hornby, High Fidelity
“To him she seemed so beautiful, so seductive, so different from ordinary people, that he could not understand why no one was as disturbed as he by the clicking of her heels on the paving stones, why no one else’s heart was wild with the breeze stirred by the sighs of her veils, why everyone did not go mad with the movements of her braid, the flight of her hands, the gold of her laughter. He had not missed a single one of her gestures, not one of the indications of her character, but he did not dare approach her for fear of destroying the spell.”
― Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera
Oblique Strategy: Make an exhaustive list of everything you might do and do the last thing on the list
I saw this woman standing in a studio in an art gallery. She was so stunning that it made me ache. When I ran into her again outside, I had to grab a couple photographs.
All of a sudden, as if a surgical hand of destiny had operated on a long-standing blindness with immediate and sensational results, I lift my gaze from my anonymous life to the clear recognition of how I live. And I see that everything I’ve done, thought or been is a species of delusion or madness. I’m amazed by what I managed not to see. I marvel at all that I was and that I now see I’m not.
—-Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet
Oblique Strategy: Convert a melodic element into a rhythmic element
I sit there with my camera ready to raise and shoot… waiting for the woman to take another sip of beer. Sitting there waiting with my weapon in my hand, ready to raise and shoot, like a big game hunter… or more like a little kid with a BB gun waiting on a sparrow to land within range.
“What does a mirror look at?”
― Frank Herbert, Chapterhouse: Dune
Parents were invented to make children happy by giving them something to ignore
Molly’s was home to the demimonde, to artists, journalists, retired teachers, lawyers, politicians, cops, and people of uncertain description. Laura and I wrote poetry together there, sometimes with other poets. For a time I became addicted to the video poker machines in the bar and lost a lot of money. I once brought Philip Glass, the musician, to Molly’s, and he sat before one of the machines and became instantly fascinated by their Zen randomness and sounds. We had a hard time getting him away from it. We snapped great moments in Molly’s photo booth, when there was one, immortalizing the goofiness and sweetness of ourselves.
—- Andrei Codrescu, Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans – Some Prefatory Remarks, from New Orleans, Mon Amour, Twenty Years Of Writings From The City