“It astounds us to come upon other egoists, as though we alone had the right to be selfish, and be filled with eagerness to live.”
Jules Renard began his Journal this year, at the age of twenty-three.
The heavy sentence—as though weighted with electric fluids—of Baudelaire.
A bird enveloped in mist, as though bringing with it fragments of cloud torn with its beak.
Talent is a question of quantity. Talent does not write one page: it writes three hundred. No novel exists which an ordinary intelligence could not conceive; there is no sentence, no matter how lovely, that a beginner could not construct. What remains is to pick up the pen, to rule the paper, patiently to fill it up. The strong do not hesitate. They settle down, they sweat, they go on to the end. They exhaust the ink, they use up the paper. This is the only difference between men of talent and cowards who will never make a start. In literature, there are only oxen. The biggest ones are the geniuses—the ones who toll eighteen hours a day without tiring. Fame is a constant effort.
Sea foam. The tide seems to burst, like a muffled, distant explosion of which we should be seeing only the smoke.
The true artist will write in, as it were, small leaps, on a hundred subjects that surge unawares into his mind. In this way, nothing is forced. Everything has an unwilled, natural charm. One does not provoke: one waits.
Haughty, silent faces should not deceive us: these are the timid ones.
Ihave an almost incessant need of speaking evil of others; but no interest at all in doing evil to them.
It is a fascinating task to disentangle, in a young writer, the influences of the established ones. How hard we work before we help ourselves, quite simply, to our own originality!
How odd is the world of dreams! Thoughts, inner speech crowd and swarm—a little world hastening to live before the awakening that is its end, its particular death.
We often wish we could exchange our natural family for a literary one of our choice, in order that we might call the author of a moving page “brother.”
On waking from a tender dream, we strive to go to sleep again in order to continue it, but we try in vain to seize its outlines as they disappear, like the folds of a beloved woman’s dress, behind a curtain we cannot brush aside.
To lie watching one’s mind, pen raised, ready to spear the smallest thought that may come out.
It astounds us to come upon other egoists, as though we alone had the right to be selfish, and be filled with eagerness to live.
Fresh, transparent air, in which the light looks washed, as though it had been dipped in clear water and then, like pieces of fine gauze, hung out to dry.
Astyle that’s vertical, glittering, without seams.
Sometimes everything around me seems so diffuse, so tremulous, so little solid, that Iimagine this world to be only the mirage of a world to come: its projection. We seem to be still far from the forest; and even though the great trees already cast their shadow over us, we still have a long journey to make before we walk under their branches.
It is in the heart of the city that one writes the most inspired pages about the country.
Fingers knotty as a chicken’s neck.
The chatting of the chairs, lined up before the guests arrive on a reception day.
Work thinks; laziness muses.
She has a very mean way of being kind.
In the goodness of things, the sea-shell is related to the stone.