There’s a writer for you,” he said. “Knows everything and at the same time he knows nothing.” [narrator]It was my first inkling that he was a writer. And while I like writers—because if you ask a writer anything you usually get an answer—still it belittled him in my eyes. Writers aren’t people exactly. Or, if they’re any good, they’re a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person. It’s like actors, who try so pathetically not to look in mirrors. Who lean backward trying—only to see their faces in the reflecting chandeliers.
When you're older you'll know what people who love suffer. The agony. It's better to be cold and young than to love. It's happened to me before but never like this - so accidental - just when everything was going well.
...the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise. This philosophy fitted on to my early adult life, when I saw the improbable, the implausible, often the "impossible," come true.
The only way to increase it is to cultivate your own garden. And the only thing that will help you is poetry, which is the most concentrated form of style.... I don't care how clever the other professor is, one can't raise a discussion of modern prose to anything above tea-table level.