"Forty-four years ago, I came across a passage that changed my life. I was teenager then, reading just about anything that struck my fancy. In those days I was pretty much an unconscious reader taking in one book after another looking for good stories. When I was finished with one novel it receded into the background and made way for the next. I had no notion of becoming a writer. Writers were, for me, long dead practitioners of a lost art.
"And so it went. I read, let's say, Treasure Island by Stevenson, then Damien by Hesse, and on to The Long Goodbye. One page after the other went by and I was as happy (and as unaware) as a clam. And then two sentences, toward the end of the novel, shook me from my waking slumber. It was like a one-two combination punch....
"Those 24 words alerted me to the potential power of writing."
Read about those 24 words at The Atlantic.