I’ve been reading a book of quotes by Mark Twain, Mark My Words. I’m really adoring it! It’s a book simply of quotes, relating all his recorded thoughts about writing. He is so entertaining to read! Partly because he’s hilarious, but also because he had some amazing and accurate advice. Here are some of my favorites (and yes, only SOME…even though there are many here):

-Books are the liberated spirits of men

-I will live in literature, I will wallow in it, revel in it, I will swim in ink!

-When we talk about the great workers of the world we really mean the great players of the world.

-Words realize nothing, vivify nothing to you, unless you have suffered in your own person the thing which words try to describe

-Sometimes my feelings are so hot that I have to take the pen and put them out on paper to keep them from setting me afire inside; then all that ink and labor are wasted because I can’t print the results

-Great books are weighed and measured by their style and matter and not by the trimmings and shadings of their grammar

-I know grammar by ear only, not by note, not by the rules. A generation ago I knew the rules – knew them by heart, word for word, though not their meanings-and I still know one of them: which says – which says – but never mind, it will come back to me presently

-What a good thing Adam had – when he said a good thing he knew nobody had said it before

-Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.

-Hunger is the handmaid of genius

-When a word is so near the right one that a body can’t quite tell whether it is or isn’t, it’s good politics to strike it out and go for the Thesaurus

-With a hundred words to do it with, the literary artisan could catch that airy thought and tie it down and reduce it to a…cabbage, but the artist does it with twenty, and the result is a flower

-A man who can’t learn stands in his own light

-“Meade suggested to Grant that he might wish to have immediately under him, Sherman, who had been serving with Grant in the West. He begged him not to hesitate if he thought it for the good of the service. Grant assured him that he had not thought of moving him, and in his memoirs, after relating what had passed, he adds” etc. [Mark’s comments on this passage] To read that passage a couple of times would make a man dizzy; to read it four times would make him drunk.

-And now my two personal favorites-

-Every time I read Pride and Prejudice I was to dig [Jane Austen] up and beat her over the skull with her own shinbone.

-He [a publisher] has been dead a quarter of a century now. My bitterness against him has faded away and disappeared. I feel only compassion for him and if I could send him a fan I would.

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I suppose the biggest thing I’ve learned so far from this book is to condense everything, cut out all unnecessary words – which are prevalent in ALL of my writing.
I reccomend this book wholeheartedly :]
…lindy
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