Tag Archives: EB White

Duty

A writer should concern himself with whatever absorbs his fancy, stirs his heart, and unlimbers his typewriter. I feel no obligation to deal with politics. I do feel a responsibility to society because of going into print: a writer has the duty to be good, not lousy; true, not false; lively, not dull; accurate, not full of error. He should tend to lift people up, not lower them down. Writers do not merely reflect and interpret life, they inform and shape life.

EB White

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Lazy, incurious, self-assured, and self-important

A large part of all early contributions to The New Yorker arrived uninvited and unexpected. They arrived in the mail or under the arm of people who walked in with them. … For a number of years, The New Yorker published an average of fifty new writers a year. Magazines that refuse unsolicited manuscripts strike me as lazy, incurious, self-assured, and self-important. I’m speaking of magazines of general circulation. … [I]f I were a publisher, I wouldn’t want to put out a magazine that failed to examine everything that turned up.

EB White

A writer’s time

[T]here is nothing harder to estimate than a writer’s time, nothing harder to keep track of. There are moments — moments of sustained creation — when his time is fairly valuable; and there are hours and hours when a writer’s time isn’t worth the paper he is not writing anything on.

—EB White,
in One Man’s Meat
(via Maud Newton)