“Until you're grown-up they send you to reform school. After you're grown-up they send you to the penitentiary.”
“You're going to have things to repent, boy,' Mr. John had told Nick. 'That's one of the best things there is. You can always decide whether to repent them or not. But the thing is to have them.”
“In the fall the war was always there, but we did not go to it anymore.”
“Like all men with a faculty that surpasses human requirements, his father was very nervous. Then, too, he was sentimental, and, like most sentimental people, he was both cruel and abused. Also, he had much bad luck, and it was not all of it his own. He had died in a trap that he had helped only a little to set, and they had all betrayed him in their various ways before he died. All sentimental people are betrayed so many times. Nick could not write about him yet, although he would, later,”
“Nick drank the coffee, the coffee according to Hopkins. The coffee was bitter. Nick laughed. It made a good ending to the story. His mind was starting to work. He knew he could choke it because he was tired enough. He spilled the coffee out of the pot and shook the grounds loose into the fire. He lit a cigarette and went inside the tent. He took off his shoes and trousers, sitting on the blankets, rolled the shoes up inside the trousers for a pillow and got in between the blankets.
Out through the front of the tent he watched the glow of the fire when the night wind blew on it. It was a quiet night. The swamp was perfectly quiet. Nick stretched under the blanket comfortably. A mosquito hummed close to his ear. Nick sat up and lit a match. The mosquito was on the canvas, over his head. Nick moved the match quickly up to it. The mosquito made a satisfactory hiss in the flame. The match went out. Nick lay down again under the blankets. He turned on his side and shut his eyes. He was sleepy. He felt sleep coming. He curled up under the blanket and went to sleep.”
“The only writing that was any good was what you made up, what you imagined. That made everything come true. Everything good he had ever written he'd made up. None of it had ever happened. Other things had happened. Better things, maybe. That was what the family couldn't understand. They thought it was all experience. Nick in the stories was never himself. He made him up. Of course he had never seen an Indian woman having a baby. That was what made it good. Nobody knew that.”
“He had already learned there was only one day at a time and that is was always the day you were in. It would be today until it was tonight and tomorrow would be today again. This was the main thing he had learned so far.”
“Nick did not want to go in there now. He felt a reaction against deep wading with the water deepening up under his armpits, to hook big trout in places impossible to land them. In the swamp the banks were bare, the big cedars came together overhead, the sun did not come through, except in patches; in the fast deep water, in the half light, the fishing would be tragic. In the swamp fishing was a tragic adventure. Nick did not want it. He did not want to go down the stream any farther today. He”
“I haven’t the slightest interest in being happy. I prefer to live life passionately, which is dangerous because you never know what might happen next.”
“Money is not his motivation, and, quite frankly, I think it just happens for him,” Justine said. “It’s just there. He knows he can generate it.”
“It's no good to want to win still more when you have already won.”
“Like he cared about a lot of stupid settlers and Indians and soldiers who hung around out here before he was even born. Hell, before his prehistoric grandparents had been born.
Who gave a shit about Crazy Horse and Sitting Bullshit. He cared about X-Men and the box scores.”
“I'm afraid that surprise, shock, and regret is the fate of authors when they finally see themselves on the page.”
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