An anecdote about a telegram from exile leads to this observation from Luke Harrington:
That story is almost definitely apocryphal (not that that stopped the Guinness Book of Records from once including it as the record for “shortest correspondence,” because, well, Guinness gonna Guinness), but it illustrates something we too often forget about the authors of “classic” books: Most of them weren’t tormented geniuses languishing in obscurity to create “great art”; they were just normal people working hard and trying to make bank. Sure, in the pantheon of literature, you’ll find a few weirdo recluses like Kafka, but for the most part, classic authors were the Michael Bays (Michaels Bay?) of their time, obsessively watching the proverbial box office numbers and high-fiving themselves when they topped a billion or whatever.
And that leads to something about wearing octopuses as hats, I think. No, I meant what I said.