Quotation of the Week: Elinor Lipman

Actually, you’ll find multiple priceless quotations within the article I’m about to cite. Here’s just one, within the rubric of “guidelines for authors”:

1. Never, ever read longer than 20 minutes. Fifteen is better. Ten minutes if there are more than two authors on the docket. Practice reading in the privacy of your home using your microwave oven timer. Note that 20 pages do not equal 20 minutes; 20 pages, especially the too-beautiful kind, go on forever.

Source: “Elinor Lipman Provides a Guide to Author Anxieties” (thanks to ThereseWalsh for the find).

2 thoughts on “Quotation of the Week: Elinor Lipman

  1. David Abrams says:


    I saw that earlier today and thought it was great, too. In addition to the “rule” you quoted, I also liked this one:

    3. Don’t complain about anything from the podium. Anything! You had to get up at 5 a.m. to get here? Boo-hoo. There are MFA students and unpublished writers listening who’d be so willing and grateful to set their alarm for any hour without bellyaching. You complain that writing is such hard work and so lonely? You brat: Try digging ditches or disabling IEDs or a thousand other harder things for a living.

    1. Erika D. says:

      David, you’re so right. I liked that one a lot, too. Originally, I was going to quote a big chunk/multiple points, and that one was included.

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