"If Dashiell Hammett can be said to have injected the hard-boiled detective novel with its primitive force, and Raymond Chandler gave shape to its prevailing tone, it was Ken Millar, writing as Ross Macdonald, who gave the genre its current respectability, generating a worldwide readership that has paved the way for those of us following in his footsteps."
Happy Birthday, Ross Macdonald!
"I force myself to write. And often what I write is not good. I destroy it. Very, very often. But sometimes in the middle of writing, suddenly I feel it is there. Words are burning. Then I know it’s good. But at times I can rewrite a page ten times without changing a word. I feel I have to do something. And I write and write and write."
"Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood."
— Happy Birthday, T.S. Eliot!
"…the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat. He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed - love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice."
Happy Birthday, William Faulkner!
Nobel Prize speech, 1950
"And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy."
— Happy Birthday, F. Scott Fitzgerald!
"Readers of my novels know that I have one favorite theme, the contrast between the social classes; there are characters from both worlds, the rich and the poor, and the plots are contrived to carry you from one to the other. The explanation is that as far back as I can remember, my life was a series of Cinderella transformations; one night I would be sleeping on a vermin-ridden sofa in a lodging house, and the next night under silken coverlets in a fashionable home. It all depended on whether my father had the money for that week’s board."
— Happy Birthday, Upton Sinclair!
"I agree with Ralph. We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages. We’re English, and the English are best at everything."
— Happy Birthday, William Golding!
"Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing."
— Happy Bithday, Ken Kesey!
"People without hope not only don’t write novels, but what is more to the point, they don’t read them. They don’t take long looks at anything, because they lack the courage. The way to despair is to refuse to have any kind of experience, and the novel, of course, is a way to have experience."
— Happy Birthday, Flannery O’Connor!