E.B. White (on writing, taste & popularity)

“The whole duty of a writer is to please and satisfy himself,
and the true writer always plays to an audience of one. Let him start sniffing the air, or glancing, at the Trend Machine, and he is as good as dead, although he may make a nice living.”

Elwyn Brooks White (1899-1985) was an American writer, editor and quiet man of letters. He was a cornerstone of The New Yorker magazine from nearly its beginning, and edited and updated his former Cornell professor William Strunk’s “little book” The Elements of Style, making it the last word in writing with succinctness, clarity and wit. (If you write and haven’t read it, you must do so today. It is brief, potent and shockingly enjoyable to read, and I should do it again.) By the way, he also wrote Charlotte’s Web, perhaps the most enduring piece of children’s fiction that we have, plus Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan.

I don’t want to be “as good as dead”,

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