You know the sultans used to light their garden parties with turtles? They'd put candles on their backs and let them wander around. Hundreds of them.
Being an editor doesn't make you a better writer - or vice versa. The worst thing any editor can do is be in competition with his writer.
I think most writers' houses are disappointing. What's much more atmospheric and interesting are the places they wrote about.
At graduation, I assumed I'd be in publishing, but first I went to England and got a master's degree in English Literature. And then I came back to New York and had a series of publishing jobs, the way one does.
When you're editing, you want to be the perfect appreciator, not another writer.
Venice was always one step removed from what was going on. If you were in Turin or in Milan or one of the industrial centers, you would have had a much more active political constituency. Venice essentially lived for itself.
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