Letters

After desperately trying to improve our situation for two months and having been met with bland smiles I told the guards just what I was going to do to them when the Russians came. They beat me up a little. I was fired as group leader.

As becomes more obvious every day, good citizenship is highly unpopular.

Be a good editor. The Universe needs more good editors, God knows.

Best thunderclap came from Spengler, to the effect that science is either true or false, art is either shallow or deep.

Best thunderclap came from Spengler, to the effect that science is either true or false, art is either shallow or deep. Second best came from some Supreme Court Justice, Jackson, I think, to the effect that one man’s right to swing his fists stops where another man’s nose begins.

But that’s fetishism, I think, writing books to write books.

Don’t kiss me now—here comes somebody.

He will not hate. He will not kill. There’s hope in that. There’s no hope in war.

I had a psychiatrist tell me that shyness is a form of hostility. They tell everybody that, you know. That was a couple of years ago, so I have had a long time to think about it. I have persuaded myself that it isn’t true. It’s fear and laziness and realism. It’s an embarrassed apology which says in effect: “Hey—I’m sorry, I probably don’t like life as much as you do.

I think it’s important to live in a nice country rather than a powerful one. Power makes everybody crazy.

My sister is poverty-stricken, and I mean poverty stricken, at age 38, and she says she is damn well fed-up with the character-building aspects of disappointment. Me too.

no man who achieved greatness in the arts operated by himself; he was top man in a group of like-minded individuals.

No sense in a man with writer’s block going to New York.

Socrates talks to an old duffer about what old age is like. The old duffer says in effect (I can’t put my hands on the book just now) that he feels as though he’d been freed from a cruel and unreasonable master.

Unsettling business for an artist, where everything that happens in New York has universality, and everything that happens outside is ethnography.