Quotation by Richard Selzer

I think a surgeon is particularly suited by temperament to the short story form as opposed to the novel, because the short story is rather like a surgical operation. It has a beginning, middle, and an end—at least my stories all do: you make an incision, you rummage around inside for a little while, then you stitch it up. Writing a short story is like taking out an inflamed appendix.... The act of making an incision is the creation of a wound for the purpose of healing the patient. The earliest forms of writing were exactly that: taking up a sharp rock and gouging out hieroglyphics in a flat stone—making wounds, as it were, to tell a story. The difference, of course, is that the surgical wound must heal, eventually, but the writer's wound does not.
Richard Selzer (b. 1928), U.S. physician, author. "Wounded with Wonder: A Talk with Richard Selzer," Studies in Short Fiction (Summer 1990).

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