Unlike hundreds of other writers and scholars, Pinker does correctly attribute (the oft-misattributed phrase) “Murder your darlings” to Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch found in On the Art of Writing.
“You are the creator of reality, and yet you have no idea how you do it—the process is effortless… In ancient India, the Vedic sages declared Aham Brahmasmi, which can be translated as ‘I am the Universe’ or ‘I am everything.’ They arrived at this knowledge by diving deep into their own awareness.”
30 Principles to Live By
1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain
2. Give honest and sincere appreciation
3. Arouse in the other person an eager want
4. Become genuinely interested in other people
“On some subjects—for instance, writers’ workshops—one is tempted to pull punches or rest satisfied with oversimplified answers; but I’m assuming, as the primary reader of this book, an intensely serious beginning novelist who wants the strict truth (as I perceive it) for his life’s sake, so that he can plan his days of technique, theory, and attitude; and become as quickly and efficiently as possible a master of his craft” (p xxii).
“The whole process—sitting at your desk, focusing your mind like a laser beam, imagining something out of a blank horizon, creating a story, selecting the right words, one by one, keeping the whole flow of the story on track—requires far more energy, over a long period, than most people ever imagine.”
“Gaiman, the British writer, is a bit of a disappointment since much of his 2017 text has been found to closely resemble in structure and delivery (as you will soon see) many videos on Norse mythology posted on the video-sharing website called YouTube.”
“It had rained Saturday night, but the rain had dwindled to a stop before dawn, and across the river, above and beyond the belfry and steeple, the green whaleback of Monadnock was wreathed in gossamer wisps of fog.”
“And then, on Christmas Eve, a miracle occurred: Ting-Pei Warren, the Judeo-Christian Buddhist cat, high on catnip and tuna water, silently scaled the six-foot spruce while her family sat by the fire, making short work of a pecan-encrusted cheese log. The three of us turned just in time to see her, a silver star atop the highest bough. And just in time to see her lose her balance and take the entire tree down with her.”