Recording made from “The Golden Age of Opera, Great Personalities,” Side 2. Copied from the original disc owned by the Austin History Center, Austin, Texas.
“This is William Sidney Porter speaking, better known to you no doubt, as O. Henry. I’m going to let you in on a few of my secrets in writing a short story. The most important thing, at least in my humble opinion, is to use characters and thoughts that are lifelike. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction. All of my stories are actual experiences that I have come across during my travels. My characters are facsimiles of actual people I’ve known. Most authors spend hours, I’m told even days laboring over outlines and stories they have in their minds, but not I. In my way of thinking that’s a waste of good time. I just sit down and let my pencil do the rest. Many people ask me how I manage to get that final little twist in my stories. I always tell them, that the unusual is the ordinary rather than the unexpected. If you people listening to me now start thinking about your own lives, I’m sure you’ll discover just as many odd experiences as I’ve had.
I hope this little talk will be heard long after I’m gone. I want you all to continue reading my stories then too.
Good bye folks.”