The story I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air. All I must do is find it, and copy it.
There's an entire flight simulator hidden in every copy of Microsoft Excel 97.
My vocal style I haven't tried to copy from anyone.
It just developed until it became the girlish whine it is today.
Making duplicate copies and computer printouts of things no one wanted even one of in the first place is giving America a new sense of purpose.
I looked back at some of my earlier published stories with genuine horror and remorse. I got thinking, How many extant copies might there be, who owns them, and do they keep their doors locked?
Good artists copy, great artists steal.
I thought the work would be very innocent, and one which might be confided to the reason of any man; not likely to be much read if let alone, but, if persecuted, it will be generally read. Every man in the United States will think it a duty to buy a copy, in vindication of his right to buy, and to read what he pleases.
I originated a remark many years ago that I think has been copied more than any little thing that Ive every said, and I used it in the FOLLIES of 1922. I said America has a unique record. We never lost a war and we never won a conference in our lives. I believe that we could without any degree of egotism, single-handed lick any nation in the world. But we cant confer with Costa Rica and come home with our shirts on.
Our form of government does not enter into rivalry with the institutions of others. We do not copy our neighbours, but are an example to them. It is true that we are called a democracy, for the administration is in the hands of the many and not of the few. But while the law secures equal justice to all alike in their private disputes, the claim of excellence is also recognised; and when a citizen is in any way distinguished, he is preferred to the public service, not as a matter of privilege, but as the reward of merit. Neither is poverty a bar, but a man may benefit his country whatever be the obscurity of his condition.
There is a constant in the average American imagination and taste, for which the past must be preserved and celebrated in full-scale authentic copy; a philosophy of immortality as duplication. It dominates the relation with the self, with the past, not infrequently with the present, always with History and, even, with the European tradition.
Matisse makes a drawing, then he makes a copy of it.
He recopies it five times, ten times, always clarifying the line. He's convinced that the last, the most stripped down, is the best, the purest, the definitive one; and in fact, most of the time, it was the first. In drawing, nothing is better than the first attempt.
The circumstance which gives authors an advantage above all these great masters, is this, that they can multiply their originals; or rather, can make copies of their works, to what number they please, which shall be as valuable as the originals themselves.
Now a writer can make himself a nice career while he is alive by espousing a political cause, working for it, making a profession of believing in it, and if it wins he will be very well placed. All politics is a matter of working hard without reward, or with a living wage for a time, in the hope of booty later. A man can be a Fascist or a Communist and if his outfit gets in he can get to be an ambassador or have a million copies of his books printed by the Government or any of the other rewards the boys dream about.
Literature always anticipates life. It does not copy it, but moulds it to its purpose. The nineteenth century, as we know it, is largely an invention of Balzac.
If the copying machines that came along later had been here during the war, I'm not sure the allies would have won. We'd all have drowned in paper.
Fashion is born by small facts, trends, or even politics, never by trying to make little pleats and furbelows, by trinkets, by clothes easy to copy, or by the shortening or lengthening of a skirt.
We have bigger houses but smaller families: We have more degrees but less sense;
more knowledge but less judgements;more experts but more problems;more medicines, but less healthiness.We've been all the way to the moon and back,but we have trouble crossing the streetto meet the new neighbour.We build more computersto hold more information,to produce more copies than ever,but we have less communication.We have become long on quantitybut short on quality.These are times of fast foods,but slow digestion;tall man, but short character;steep profits, but shallow relationships.It is time when there is much in the windowbut nothing in the room.
Man is an idiot. He doesn't know how to do anything without copying, without imitating, without plagiarizing, without aping. It might even have been that man invented generation by coitus after seeing the grasshopper copulate.