"Foam earplugs are the gummy vitamins of soundproofing -- you'd have to pour cement in your ears not to hear an MRI. I pretended I was at some kind of art installation at the Guggenheim, where one floors melds into the next. The first floor sounded like a game-show buzzer. The second, like ducks quacking while someone scrubbed tiles with steel wool. The top floor was a tiny train barreling over the tracks of a small town. Then, suddenly, the noises stopped and the technician's voice came through a speaker: 'We happy in there?' 'Yes?' I guessed."

Look Alive Out There: Essays by Sloane Crosley

"...if you feel sure you will never make it and were not cut out to do this, if your prose seems stillborn and you completely lack confidence, you must be a writer."

Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process by John McPhee

"Fiction writers are constantly asked, 'Is this autobiographical?'..I do think that the proper relationship of a writer to his or her own life is similar to a cook with a cupboard. What that cook makes from what's in the cupboard is not the same thing as what's in the cupboard..."

See What Can Be Done: Essays, Criticism and Commentary by Lorrie Moore

"It's not something Freud considers, the possibility that such resistance might actually have been exactly what it looks like: an aversion to the analytic situation, with its imbalance of power, its detached and disinterested analyst, its required performance of colossal mistakes, its falseness and its theatrical repetition of the past, and that such resistance might make some sense, in a room where the patient's sexuality or gender is treated as something to overcome."

The Selfishness of Others: An Essay on the Fear of Narcissism by Kristin Dombek

"...the writing of a book cannot, in my experience, be sustained by simple interest, it requires something more, it is generally the work of years, after all."

A Separation by Katie Kitamura

"'For if we could have been satisfied with anything, we should have been satisfied long ago.' - Seneca"

"I wanted to tell him a lot of things. My secret adventures. Words hot as summer. How I saw the situation, how the man in charge made me feel, the torrents he was beginning to release inside me."

An Arab Melancholia by Abdellah Taia

"All he did was watch TV or talk on the phone or eat. He loved game shows and cooking shows. I'm not saying he was an idiot. He was just like me: anything good made him want to die. That's a characteristic some smart people have."

Homesick for Another World by Otessa Moshfegh

"To those I sometimes add Thomas Traherne's 'The thought of the world whereby it is experienced is better than the world.'"

Proxies by Brian Blanchfield

"We all have history. You can think you're over your history. You can think the past is the past. And then something happens, often innocuous, that shows you how far you are from over it. The past is always with you. Some people want to be protected from that truth."

Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay