Somerset Maugham Said It First

Long experience has taught me that when you set out to write a piece and can't think what to say, the best plan is to leave it to your fountain pen. That invaluable little instrument is wayward and to fool you will often start by writing rubbish, but if you give it its head and take no notice, it will generally settle down and write something that at least looks like sense. It has its pride; it knows that the typewriter can't do this, and it knows that the typewriter, once it starts, goes on and on intoxicated by its own facility. Further, no typewriter has ever learned to spell and will complacently (except after c) put e before i till it comes to seize and will then suddenly put i before e. The fountain pen has a singular mastery over this difficult English spelling of ours and if by chance it has made a mistake will give a little start which calls your attention to it and urges you to consult a dictionary.
- Somerset Maugham, from the Introduction to Dorothy Parker (The Viking Portable Library, 1944)


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