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Albert Haley


Random Jottings from the Back of a Movie Poster

  1. A writer must write against the spirit of the times.
  2. If the age is one of smug contentment, unexamined hypocrisy, and materialistic shallowness, the writer will be on the attack, exposing the lies. For this the writer will be condemned by those who believe all is well, and thus the writer will have the chance of gaining some notoriety.
  3. If the age speaks of despair, treats women as objects to be raped, children as beings to be broken, and makes headlines of the worst and the ugliest in life, then the writer must be the antidote to the mass cynicism, writing of hope and beauty, telling tales of people who find healing in hidden corners of the wasteland. By taking such an approach, the writer will be considered a simpleton and a sentimental fool. In furious times, the writer will probably attract almost no attention except for the sound of others' contemptuous laughter.
  4. Matters of opinion, expressions of taste, sharp blows of criticism, these make for slices cleaved from the literary pie. Once the words are delivered and consumed, the pie still remains: it is whole, round, and flawless, though there is a fly who buzzes and lightly lands in the meringue.
  5. This is our land, these are our fields-the whole unwritten page.
  6. A man steps out of the elevator, you step in. The door shuts. In the box by yourself you press the button and begin the ascent. Now you smell the lingering sweat odor. No kind word for it. The man has radiated what you will write about. Human messages from the past and tinglings into the future. Tomorrow the door opens again. Fresh air is not a possibility.
  7. In the writing life you've become an astronaut. You're also your own Mission Control, giving personal reports, advice, and encouragement as you keep that behind of yours up there swinging in a sling in the sky. Then, at the appointed time, you send out desperate signals, and your words make re-entry, bringing yourself down along with them, sometimes in every sense of the phrase.
  8. A mystery religion in the making: Since the invention of Coca-Cola, only seven men have known the formula. This is the kind of thing one stays awake at night wondering how to write about.

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