You'll find that marriage is a good short cut to the truth. No, not quite that. A way of doubling back to the truth. Another thing you'll find is that the years of illusion aren't those of adolescense, as the grown-ups try to tell us; they're the ones immediately after it, say the middle twenties, the false maturity if you like, when you first get thoroughly embroiled in things and lose your head. Your age, by the way, Jim. That's when you first realize that sex is important to other people besides yourself. A discovery like that can't help knocking you off balance for a time.
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[Science fiction is] that class of prose narrative treating of a situation that could not arise in the world we know, but which is hypothesised on the basis of some innovation in science or technology, or pseudo-science or pseudo-technology, whether human or extra-terrestrial in origin. It is distinguished from pure fantasy by its need to achieve verisimilitude and win the 'willing suspension of disbelief' through scientific plausibility.
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Jake did a quick run-through of women in his mind, not of the ones he had known or dealt with in the past few months of years so much as all of them: their concern with the surface of things, with objects and appearances, with their surroundings and how they looked and sounded in them, with seeming to be better and to be right while getting everything wrong, their automatic assumption of the role of injured party in any clash of wills, their certainty that a view is the more credible and useful for the fact that they hold it, their use of misunderstanding and misrepresentation as weapons of debate, their selective sensitivity to tones of voice, their unawareness of the difference in themselves between sincerity and insincerity, their interest in importance (together with noticeable inability to discriminate in that sphere), their fondness for general conversation and directionless discussion, their pre-emption of the major share of feeling, their exaggerated estimate of their own plausibility, their never listening and lots of other things like that, all according to him.
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I enjoy talking to you more than anybody else because I never feel I am giving myself away and so can admit to shady, dishonest, crawling, cowardly, unjust, arrogant, snobbish, lecherous, perverted and generally shameful feelings that I don't want anybody else to know about; but most of all because I am always on the verge of violent laughter when talking to you.If you were here, I keep thinking, we would spend the time in talk and drink and smoke and I should be laughing a lot of the time, and I should be enjoying myself a lot of the time.
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People get themselves all steamed up about weather they're in love or not. They ought to realize that the love part is perfectly easy; the hard part is working out, not about love, but about what they're going to do. The difference is that they can get their brains going on that, instead of taking the sound of the word "love" as a signal a signal for switching them off. They can get somewhere instead of indulging in a sort of orgy of emotional self-catechising about how you know you're in love, and what love is anyway, and all the rest of it.
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To refer even in passing to unpublished or struggling authors and their problems is to put oneself at some risk, so I will say here and now that any unsolicited manuscripts or typescripts sent to me will be destroyed unread. You must make your way yourself. Why you should be so set on the nearly always disappointing profession is a puzzling question.
Jake was close to tears. In that moment he saw the world in its true light, as a place where nothing had ever been any good and nothing of significance done: no art worth a second look, no philosophy of the slightest appositeness, no law but served the state, no history that gave an inkling of how it had been and what had happened. And no love, only egotism, infatuation and lust.
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Time, plenty of it came to the rescue here: Kelly was to engage in self-expression. In Jake's vocabulary this was a vague term applied to activities like swearing and children's art but in the present context it evidently meant something more specific. The girl at once left her chair, sat down on one of the more affluent patches of carpet and clasped her knees.
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Dixon was alive again. Consciousness was upon him before he could get out of the way; not for him the slow, gracious wandering from the halls of sleep, but a summary, forcible ejection. He lay sprawled, too wicked to move, spewed up like a broken spider-crab on the tarry shingle of morning. The light did him harm, but not as much as looking at things did; he resolved, having done it once, never to move his eyeballs again. A dusty thudding in his head made the scene before him beat like a pulse. His mouth had been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night, and then as its mausoleum. During the night, too, he'd somehow been on a cross-country run and then been expertly beaten up by secret police. He felt bad.
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I've been trying to write for as long as I can remember. But those first fifteen years didn't produce much of great interest. I mean, it embarrasses me very much to look back on my early poems--very few lines of any merit at all and lots of affectation. But there were quite a lot of them. That's a point in one's favor.
When that ineffable compound of depression, sadness (these two are not the same), anxiety, self-hatred, sense of failure and fear for the future begins to steal over you, start telling yourself that what you have is a hangover. You are not sickening for anything, you have not suffered a minor brain lesion, you are not all that bad at your job, your family and friends are not leagued in a conspiracy of barely maintained silence about what a s**t you are, you have not come at last to see life as it really is and there is no use crying over spilt milk.
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The world that seemed so various and new, well, it does contract. One's burning desire to investigate human behavior, and to make, or imply, statements about it, does fall off. And so one does find that early works are full of energy and also full of vulgarity, crudity, and incompetence, and later works are more carefully finished, and in that sense better literary products. But . . . there's often a freshness that is missing in later works--for every gain there's a loss. I think it evens out in that way.
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I don't say that the drunk man is the real man, and the sober man merely a shell. But you find out something different about people when they're drunk. Of course, you sometimes find that they're not different at all--that you merely get more of the same, perhaps said rather more loudly and incoherently, but basically the same.
Those who professed themselves unable to believe in the reality of human progress ought to cheer themselves up, as the students under examination had conceivably been cheered up, by a short study of the Middle Ages. The hydrogen bomb, the South African Government, Chioang Kaidick, Senator McCarthy himself, would then seem a light price to pay for no longer being in the Middle Ages.
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When I find someone I respect writing about an edgy, nervous wine that dithered in the glass, I cringe. When I hear someone I don't respect talking about an austere, unforgiving wine, I turn a bit austere and unforgiving myself. When I come across stuff like that and remember about the figs and bananas, I want to snigger uneasily. You can call a wine red, and dry, and strong, and pleasant. After that, watch out....
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