Happy Birthday, Florence King, born 5 January 1936
- Showing up at school already able to read is like showing up at the undertaker’s already embalmed: people start worrying about being put out of their jobs.
- Writers who have nothing to say always strain for metaphors to say it in.
- “Very” is the most useless word in the English language and can always come out. More than useless, it is treacherous because it invariably weakens what it is intended to strengthen. For example, would you rather hear the mincing shallowness of 'I love you very much' or the heart-slamming intensity of 'I love you'?
- True nostalgia is an ephemeral composition of disjointed memories.
- America’s commitment to extroversion as a national art form can abrade some naturally aloof personalities until they flower into deadly nightshade.
- Hell hath no fury like a liberal arts major scorned.
- Writers make everybody nervous but we terrify Silly Service workers. Our apartments always look like a front for something, and no matter how carefully we tidy up for guests we always seem to miss the note card that says, 'Margaret has to die soon'. We own the kind of books that spies use to construct codes, like The Letters of Mme. de Sevigne, and we are the only people in the world who write 'oxymoron' in the margin of the Bible. Manuscripts in the fridge in case of fire, Strunk’s Elements in the bathroom, the Laramie City Directory explained away with 'It might come in handy', all strike fear in the GS-7 heart. Nobody really wants to sleep with a writer, but Silly Service workers won’t even talk to us.
King is an American novelist, essayist and columnist. Her works include Southern Ladies and Gentlemen, Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady and With Charity Toward None: A Fond Look at Misanthropy. She writes a column for the National Review called 'The Bent Pin'.