"On what turned out to be the last day, a very cold morning in February, she stepped out onto the roof to drink the last of her cocoa. At first she sipped, then she took one final swallow, and in the time it took her to raise the cup to her lips and lower it, the pigeon had taken a step and dropped from the ledge. He caught an upwind that took him nearly as high as the tops of the empty K Street houses. He flew farther into Northeast, into the colors and sounds of the city’s morning. She did nothing, aside from following him, with her eyes, with her heart, as far as she could."

-Edward P. Jones, "The Girl Who Raised Pigeons"

Painting: Anton van Dalen, Pigeon Coop At Sunset, 1985

The truth is that, in worldly terms, someone is always doing better than you are. Someone is always winning more of the prizes or making more of the money or getting more famous. When you open the newspaper, someone else’s picture is likely to be splashed across the book page. In the vanity fair, you are always going to lose out to somebody else. And when no one else seems to care what you do, you will have to find your own consolation. You will have to care for yourself. That takes time and energy. In this way, a literary problem converts itself into a spiritual one. […] But if you appear faithfully at your desk, pledging yourself to the work, eventually the spirit will descend on you and you will write without any sense that time is passing, and when that happens, no one on earth is doing better than you are.

—    Charles Baxter 
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