Happy Birthday, Nicholson Baker, born 7 January 1957
- Books: a beautifully browsable invention that needs no electricity and exists in a readable form no matter what happens.
- Sometimes I’ll spend an hour writing a tiny email. I work on it until I’ve created the illusion that I’ve dashed it off in three minutes. If I make a typo, I let it stand. Sometimes in fact I correct the typo without thinking, and then I back up and retype the typo so that it’ll look more casual. I don’t know why.
- Many good poets are really essayists who write very short essays.
- Printed books usually outlive bookstores and the publishers who brought them out. They sit around, demanding nothing, for decades. That’s one of their nicest qualities – their brute persistence.
- I edit with a pen, I write on a computer. I’ve always had trouble with pencils because they get dull so quickly, or they just break, and then there’s that awful shuddery feeling when you’re trying to write with a couple of scraps of wood poking out.
- ‘Carpe diem’ doesn’t mean seize the day—it means something gentler and more sensible. ‘Carpe diem’ means pluck the day. Carpe, pluck. Seize the day would be ‘cape diem’. No R. Very different piece of advice.
- Poetry is prose in slow motion.
Nicholson Baker is an American writer of fiction and non-fiction. His novels are unconventional and include topics like voyeurism and planned assassination. They are not plot-driven and emphasise intense character work. Titles include The Mezzanine, Vox, and The Anthologist.
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