Quotations about   pretension

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Some years ago, I was lucky enough invited to a gathering of great and good people: artists and scientists, writers and discoverers of things. And I felt that at any moment they would realise that I didn’t qualify to be there, among these people who had really done things.

On my second or third night there, I was standing at the back of the hall, while a musical entertainment happened, and I started talking to a very nice, polite, elderly gentleman about several things, including our shared first name. And then he pointed to the hall of people, and said words to the effect of, “I just look at all these people, and I think, what the heck am I doing here? They’ve made amazing things. I just went where I was sent.”

And I said, “Yes. But you were the first man on the moon. I think that counts for something.”

And I felt a bit better. Because if Neil Armstrong felt like an imposter, maybe everyone did. Maybe there weren’t any grown-ups, only people who had worked hard and also got lucky and were slightly out of their depth, all of us doing the best job we could, which is all we can really hope for.

Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British fabulist
Tumblr post (12 May 2017)
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Added on 6-Nov-18 | Last updated 6-Nov-18
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“Classic.” A book which people praise and don’t read.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Following the Equator, ch. 25, epigraph (1897)
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Detective inspector John “Call me Jack, everyone does” Robinson did not like theatres. Bit of a night out at the variety or even the Tiv was fair enough, but ever since a high-minded relative had forced him to sit through an Ibsen festival at an impressionable age, theatres had always been synonymous with what he called ‘high art’, a portmanteau term for everything self-indulgent, terminally tedious and incomprehensible in the world of culture.

Kerry Greenwood (b. 1954) Australian author and lawyer
Ruddy Gore, ch. 3 (1995)
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“What’s the play about?”
“Nobody seems to know.”
“What do the actors say it’s about?”
“They don’t know,” Susan said. She was as close to embarrassed as she gets.
“The actors don’t know what it’s about?”
“No.”
“How about the Director?”
“Lou says that a play is not required to be about anything.”
“And it runs how long?”
“Four and a half hours with an intermission.” Susan smiled encouragingly. “It’s very controversial,” she said.
“Excellent,” I said. “Maybe a fight will break out.”

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Walking Shadow (1994)
Added on 19-Apr-17 | Last updated 19-Apr-17
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He wrapped himself in quotations — as a beggar would enfold himself in the purple of Emperors.

Kipling - wrapped himself in quotations - wist_info quote

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) English writer
Many Inventions, “The Finest Story in the World” (1893)
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Added on 21-Apr-09 | Last updated 11-Apr-16
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