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Over the Dam

Only a few years before she became the toast of the international literary community with her best-selling book The Shipping News, writer E. Annie Proulx was virtually unknown. She did not publish her first book of fiction until she was in her early fifties.

“I certainly don’t regret becoming a writer later because I know a lot more about life than I did 20 years ago, ten years ago,” she says. “I think it’s important to know how the water’s gone ever the dam before you start to describe it. It helps to have been over the dam yourself.”

Quoted in Current Biography, Reader’s Digest, January, 1996, p. 97.

Two pals are sitting in a pub watching the eleven-o’clock news. A report comes on about a man threatening to jump from the 20th floor of a downtown building. One friend turns to the other and says, “I’ll bet you ten bucks the guy doesn’t jump.”

“It’s a bet,” agrees his buddy.

A few minutes later, the man on the ledge jumps, so the loser hands his pal a $10 bill. “I can’t take your money,” his friend admits. “I saw him jump earlier on the six-o’clock news.”

“Me, too,” say the other buddy. “But I didn’t think he’d do it again!”

Ohio Motorist, Reader’s Digest, June, 1994, p. 72