You can’t write a song like this, you can’t play it like this, unless your ears are open to all kinds of music.
Allen Toussaint, “Southern Nights,” live
If they find a copy of Richard Yates’s Eleven Kinds of Loneliness, they buy it. It is as if they’ve found a baby on the front step. They peek inside, examine the dog-earing, the marginal scribbles. Or perhaps it’s a clean copy, which carries its own kind of sadness. In either case, they embrace it, though they already have multiple copies. Those are irrelevant to the one they would be abandoning if they left the book behind. This is a hostess gift you can give any fiction writer, guaranteed to delight her even though she already has it. Regifting becomes an act of spreading civilization.
—Ann Beattie, Mrs. Nixon: A Novelist Imagines a Life (2011), “7 Truths About Writers” (#2)