The following is a recipe for an author:
Take the usual number of fingers,
Add paper, manila or white,
A typewriter, plenty of postage
And something or other to write.
Oscar Wilde, upon hearing one of Whistler's _bon mots_ exclaimed: "Oh,
Jimmy; I wish I had said that!" "Never mind, dear Oscar," was the
THE AUTHOR--"Would you advise me to get out a small edition?"
THE PUBLISHER--"Yes, the smaller the better. The more scarce a book is
at the end of four or five centuries the more money you realize from
AMBITIOUS AUTHOR--"Hurray! Five dollars for my latest story, 'The Call
of the Lure!'"
FAST FRIEND--"Who from?"
AMBITIOUS AUTHOR--"The express company. They lost it."
A lady who had arranged an authors' reading at her house succeeded in
persuading her reluctant husband to stay home that evening to assist in
receiving the guests. He stood the entertainment as long as he
could--three authors, to be exact--and then made an excuse that he was
going to open the front door to let in some fresh air. In the hall he
found one of the servants asleep on a settee.
"Wake up!" he commanded, shaking the fellow roughly. "What does this
mean, your being asleep out here? You must have been listening at the
An ambitious young man called upon a publisher and stated that he had
decided to write a book.
"May I venture to inquire as to the nature of the book you propose to
write?" asked the publisher, very politely.
"Oh," came in an offhand way from the aspirant to literary fame, "I
think of doing something on the line of 'Les Miserables,' only livelier,
"So you have had a long siege of nervous prostration?" we say to the
haggard author. "What caused it? Overwork?"
"In a way, yes," he answers weakly. "I tried to do a novel with a Robert
W. Chambers hero and a Mary E. Wilkins heroine."--_Life_.
Mark Twain at a dinner at the Authors' Club said: "Speaking of fresh
eggs, I am reminded of the town of Squash. In my early lecturing days I
went to Squash to lecture in Temperance Hall, arriving in the afternoon.
The town seemed very poorly billed. I thought I'd find out if the people
knew anything at all about what was in store for them. So I turned in at
the general store. 'Good afternoon, friend,' I said to the general
storekeeper. 'Any entertainment here tonight to help a stranger while
away his evening?' The general storekeeper, who was sorting mackerels,
straightened up, wiped his briny hands on his apron, and said: 'I expect
there's goin' to be a lecture. I've been sellin' eggs all day."
An American friend of Edmond Rostand says that the great dramatist once
told him of a curious encounter he had had with a local magistrate in a
town not far from his own.
It appears that Rostand had been asked to register the birth of a
friend's newly arrived son. The clerk at the registry office was an
officious little chap, bent on carrying out the letter of the law. The
following dialogue ensued:
"Your name, sir?"
"Man of letters, and member of the French Academy."
"Very well, sir. You must sign your name. Can you write? If not, you may
make a cross."--_Howard Morse_.
George W. Cable, the southern writer, was visiting a western city where
he was invited to inspect the new free library. The librarian conducted
the famous writer through the building until they finally reached the
department of books devoted to fiction.
"We have all your books, Mr. Cable," proudly said the librarian. "You
see there they are--all of them on the shelves there: not one missing."
And Mr. Cable's hearty laugh was not for the reason that the librarian
Brief History of a Successful Author: From ink-pots to flesh-pots--_R.R.
"It took me nearly ten years to learn that I couldn't write stories."
"I suppose you gave it up then?"
"No, no. By that time I had a reputation."
"I dream my stories," said Hicks, the author.
"How you must dread going to bed!" exclaimed Cynicus.
The five-year-old son of James Oppenheim, author of "The Olympian," was
recently asked what work he was going to do when he became a man. "Oh,"
Ralph replied, "I'm not going to work at all." "Well, what are you going
to do, then?" he was asked. "Why," he said seriously, "I'm just going to
write stories, like daddy."
William Dean Howells is the kindliest of critics, but now and then some
popular novelist's conceit will cause him to bristle up a little.
"You know," said one, fishing for compliments, "I get richer and richer,
but all the same I think my work is falling off. My new work is not so
good as my old."
"Oh, nonsense!" said Mr. Howells. "You write just as well as you ever
did. Your taste is improving, that's all."
James Oliver Curwood, a novelist, tells of a recent encounter with the
law. The value of a short story he was writing depended upon a certain
legal situation which he found difficult to manage. Going to a lawyer of
his acquaintance he told him the plot and was shown a way to the desired
end. "You've saved me just $100," he exclaimed, "for that's what I am
going to get for this story."
A week later he received a bill from the lawyer as follows: "For
literary advice, $100." He says he paid.
"Tried to skin me, that scribbler did!"
"What did he want?"
"Wanted to get out a book jointly, he to write the book and I to write
the advertisements. I turned him down. I wasn't going to do all the
At a London dinner recently the conversation turned to the various
methods of working employed by literary geniuses. Among the examples
cited was that of a well-known poet, who, it is said, was wont to arouse
his wife about four o'clock in the morning and exclaim, "Maria, get up;
I've thought of a good word!" Whereupon the poet's obedient helpmate
would crawl out of bed and make a note of the thought-of word.
About an hour later, like as not, a new inspiration would seize the
bard, whereupon he would again arouse his wife, saying, "Maria, Maria,
get up! I've thought of a better word!"
The company in general listened to the story with admiration, but a
merry-eyed American girl remarked: "Well, if he'd been my husband I
should have replied, 'Alpheus, get up yourself; I've thought of a bad
"There is probably no hell for authors in the next world--they suffer so
much from critics and publishers in this."--_Bovee_.
A thought upon my forehead,
My hand up to my face;
I want to be an author,
An air of studied grace!
I want to be an author,
With genius on my brow;
I want to be an author,
And I want to be it now!
--_Ella Hutchison Ellwanger_.
That writer does the most, who gives his reader the most knowledge, and
takes from him the least time.--_C.C. Colton_.
Habits of close attention, thinking heads,
Become more rare as dissipation spreads,
Till authors hear at length one general cry
Tickle and entertain us, or we die!
The author who speaks about his own books is almost as bad as a mother
who talks about her own children.--_Disraeli_.