"The myth of localism is rooted deep in our political psyche. Left and right alike use small and local as terms of approbation, big and bureaucratic as terms of abuse. None of us is equipped to see that the government that actually oppresses us is that which is closest to us."
"It is humbug to pretend [sheer egoism] is not a motive, and a strong one. Writers share this characteristic with scientists, artists, politicians, lawyers, soldiers, successful businessmen — in short, with the whole top crust of humanity."
"Do you know that guy that wrote that article?” (By now, I knew what “that article” meant.) Before I could answer no, she shot me a steely glare and jabbed a finger in my direction. “Next time you see him,” she said, “punch him in the nose for me."
"in 1969, Skamania County, in Western Washington, became the first in the country to pass an ordinance prohibiting “any willful, wanton slaying of such creatures” — a felony punishable by five years in prison. The law was amended in 1984, making Skamania County an official “Sasquatch Refuge” and the crime of killing a Bigfoot a one-year, jail-time offense."
"Some straight people have gradually changed their attitudes toward gays after realizing that their friends — or children — were gay. Researchers have found that male judges are more sympathetic to women’s rights when they have daughters. Yet because of the de facto segregation of America, whites are unlikely to have many black friends: A study from the Public Religion Research Institute suggests that in a network of 100 friends, a white person, on average, has one black friend."
[T]he progression from detail to epiphany is not a technique used merely for its effect on the reader, but that this method is in fact how a writer discovers his own material.
This changed my writing forever. To put it another way: I had chanced upon the discovery that for the writer it is not moral pondering or grand emotion that are the entrance to a story, but detail and small event.
"True hermits, according to Chris, do not write books, do not have friends, and do not answer questions."
“The Last True Hermit
,” a great story by Michael Finkel, though it calls to mind The Journalist and the Murder.
"At the end of the hall on the ground floor of a tenement on New York’s West 63rd Street, behind a rickety door, in three small rooms littered with cardboard cartons, catsup bottles, half-empty suitcases, Japanese dolls in glass boxes, soup dishes stacked on a piano, team irons, clothes hanging from nails in the fiberboard walls, shopping bags and children’s toys, lives Thelonious Sphere Monk."