… when we talk about literature, we do so in the present tense. When we speak of the dead, we are not so kind.
It’s all fine to say, “Time will heal everything, this too shall pass away. People will forget” — and things like that when you are not involved, but when you are there is no passage of time, people do not forget and you are in the middle of something that does not change.
The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first, they love the produce of the second.
No one has studied the psychology of a dying party. It may be raging, howling, boiling, and then a fever sets in and a little silence and then quickly quickly it is gone, the guests go home or go to sleep or wander away to some other affair and they leave a dead body.
Someone should write an erudite essay on the moral, physical, and esthetic effect of the Model T Ford on the American nation. Two generations of Americans knew more about the Ford coil than the clitoris, about the planetary system of gears than the solar system of stars.
The word is a symbol and a delight which sucks men and scenes, trees, plants, factories, and Pekinese.
We assign a moment to decision, to dignify the process as a timely result of rational and conscious thought. But decisions are made of kneaded feelings; they are more often a lump than a sum.
Now that ceaseless exposure has calloused us to the lewd and the vulgar, it is instructive to see what still seems wicked to us. What still slaps the clammy flab of our submissive consciousness hard enough to get our attention?
You must understand that when you’re writing a novel you are not making anything up. It’s all there and you just have to find it.