Excerpts from 300 Arguments

by Sarah Manguso

There truly are two kinds of people: you and everyone else.

It’s impossible to fail if one doesn’t know how the end should look. And it’s impossible to succeed. But it’s possible to enjoy.

Envy is a narrative impulse: if I got what I wanted, what would happen then?

My long romance with efficiency has made me miserly.

The will can achieve some things, but one must exhaust one’s will in order to learn which things they are.

I read sad stories to inoculate myself against grief. I watch action movies to identify with the quick-witted heroes. Both the same fantasy: I’ll escape the worst of it.

There will come a time when people decide you’ve had enough of your grief, and they’ll try to take it away from you.

Today, for the first time, I sent a fan letter to someone younger than I am. It marks a change in my relationship to the world.

I look at young people and marvel at their ignorance of what’s coming, and the old people look at me.