"The repetition of that single four-word phrase—’working on my novel’—has an estranging effect. You might, in other words, find yourself wondering what this thing is that everyone keeps referring to as ‘my novel.’ None of these people are writing anything so indeterminate as ‘a novel’ or ‘a book project’; they are each of them, separately and identically, bringing into fruition a particular opus that is theirs alone, given and foreordained. The use of the first-person-possessive determiner brings to mind the pervasive superstition that everyone has a novel ‘in them,’ some inner reserve of pure creative potential awaiting realization and recognition. Arcangel has reflected something poignant about this collective yearning for creative individuation, about how technology seems to facilitate self-expression while effecting a strange obliteration of the individual—a symbolic compression of the self into the repository of the personal brand. The paradox of social media is that it offers a channel through which to communicate yourself while the technology itself shapes and limits what is communicated, and how. All these people, each of them tweeting a tiny Whitmanesque song of himself, are largely indistinguishable."
— from “Why Tweet About Your Novel?” Mark O’Conner’s review for the New Yorker of the book Working on My Novel
"It is astonishing the sense of innocence that goes with sin — only the hard and careful man and the saint are free of it. These people went out of the stable clean; he was the only one left who hadn’t repented, confessed, and been absolved. He wanted to say to this man, ‘Love is not wrong, but love should be happy and open — it i only wrong when it is secret, unhappy…It can be more unhappy than anything by the loss of God. It is the loss of God. You don’t need a penance, my child, you have suffered quite enough,’ and to this other, ‘Lust is not the worst thing. It is because any day, any time, lust may turn into love that we have to avoid it. And when we love our sin then we are damned indeed.’ But the habit of the confessional reasserted itself: it was as if he were back in the little stuffy wooden boxlike coffin in which men bury their uncleanliness with their priest. He said, ‘Mortal sin…danger…self-control,’ as if those words meant anything at all. He said, ‘Say three Our Fathers and three Hail Marys.’
— from The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene