"Do you suffer when you write? I don't at all. Suffer like a bastard when don't write, or just before, and feel empty and fucked out afterwards. But never feel as good as while writing."
"I'm astounded whenever I finish something. Astounded and distressed. My perfectionist instinct should inhibit me from finishing: it should inhibit me from even beginning. But I get distracted and start doing something. What I achieve is not the product of an act of my will but of my will's surrender. I begin because I don't have the strength to think; I finish because I don't have the courage to quit. This book is my cowardice."
"I never desire to converse with a man who has written more than he has read."
"You're miserable, edgy and tired. You're in the perfect mood for journalism."
"Some writers enjoy writing, I am told. Not me. I enjoy having written."
"There is something in us, as storytellers and as listeners to stories, that demands the redemptive act, that demands that what falls at least be offered the chance to be restored. The reader of today looks for this motion, and rightly so, but what he has forgotten is the cost of it. His sense of evil is diluted or lacking altogether, and so he has forgotten the price of restoration. When he reads a novel, he wants either his sense tormented or his spirits raised. He wants to be transported, instantly, either to mock damnation or a mock innocence."
"Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use – do the work you want to see done."
"The world is a hellish place, and bad writing is destroying the quality of our suffering."
"Why did I write? Because I found life unsatisfactory."
"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report written on birds that he'd had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books about birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, "Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird."
"I am writing you from inside a body that used to be yours. Which is to say, I am writing as a son."
"Was not writing poetry a secret transaction, a voice answering a voice?"
"Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal."
"Only those things are beautiful which are inspired by madness and written by reason."
"Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience."
"A tamed woman will never leave her mark in the world."
"Remember: when people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong."
"Writing is something that you don't know how to do. You sit down and it's something that happens, or it may not happen. So, how can you teach anybody how to write? It's beyond me, because you yourself don't even know if you're going to be able to. I'm always worried, well, you know, every time I go upstairs with my wine bottle. Sometimes I'll sit at that typewriter for fifteen minutes, you know. I don't go up there to write. The typewriter's up there. If it doesn't start moving, I say, well this could be the night that I hit the dust."
"When we are in love, we are convinced nobody else will do. But as time goes, others do do, and often do do, much much better."
"Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck."
"I want to write because I have the urge to excel in one medium of translation and expression of life. I can't be satisfied with the colossal job of merely living. Oh, no, I must order life in sonnets and sestinas and provide a verbal reflector for my 60-watt lighted head."
"My bursting heart must find vent at my pen."
"You grow ravenous. You run fevers. You know exhilarations. You can't sleep at night, because your beast-creature ideas want out and turn you in your bed. It is a grand way to live."
"Let's get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn't to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up."
"If you're young and talented, it's like you have wings."
"A poet is a man who manages, in a lifetime of standing out in thunderstorms, to be struck by lightning five or six times."
"I read the way a person might swim, to save his or her life. I wrote that way too."
"I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork."
"Then you should say what you mean," the March Hare went on. "I do," Alice hastily replied; "at least--at least I mean what I say--that's the same thing, you know." "Not the same thing a bit!" said the Hatter. "You might just as well say that "I see what I eat" is the same thing as "I eat what I see"!"
"unless the sun inside you is burning your gut, don't do it"
"Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose."
"This diary is my kief, hashish and opium pipe. This is my drug and my vice."
"A poet's work . . . to name the unnamable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world and stop it from going to sleep."
"Wasn't writing a kind of soaring, an achievable form of flight, of fancy, of the imagination?"
"Writing simply means no dependent clauses, no dangling things, no flashbacks, and keeping the subject near the predicate. We throw in as many fresh words we can get away with. Simple, short sentences don't always work. You have to do tricks with pacing, alternate long sentences with short, to keep it vital and alive.... Virtually every page is a cliffhanger--you've got to force them to turn it."~"
"I like to write when I feel spiteful. It is like having a good sneeze."(Letter to Cynthia Asquith, November 1913)"
"It had been startling and disappointing to me to find out that story books had been written by people, that books were not natural wonders, coming up of themselves like grass. Yet regardless of where they come from, I cannot remember a time when I was not in love with them -- with the books themselves, cover and binding and the paper they were printed on, with their smell and their weight and with their possession in my arms, captured and carried off to myself. Still illiterate, I was ready for them, committed to all the reading I could give them ..."
"The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying."
"Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers."
"Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces together."
"Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos; the materials must, in the first place, be afforded: it can give form to dark, shapeless substances, but cannot bring into being the substance itself."
"A writer, I think, is someone who pays attention to the world."[Speech upon being awarded the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels (Peace Prize of the German Book Trade), Frankfurt Book Fair, October 12, 2003]"
"A good story is always more dazzling than a broken piece of truth."
"Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink. Drink and be filled up."
"Writing fiction is the act of weaving a series of lies to arrive at a greater truth."
"Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it."
"People often ask me why my style is so simple. It is, in fact, deceptively simple, for no two sentences are alike. It is clarity that I am striving to attain, not simplicity.Of course, some people want literature to be difficult and there are writers who like to make their readers toil and sweat. They hope to be taken more seriously that way. I have always tried to achieve a prose that is easy and conversational. And those who think this is simple should try it for themselves."
"An artist is someone who can hold two opposing viewpoints and still remain fully functional."
"No black woman writer in this culture can write "too much". Indeed, no woman writer can write "too much"...No woman has ever written enough."
"Because this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer, is ultimately about asking yourself, How alive am I willing to be?"
"You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success - but only if you persist."
"When all the details fit in perfectly, something is probably wrong with the story."
"Death is the easy part, the hard part is living and knowing you could be so much more then you're willing to be."
"Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else."
"A good book isn't written, it's rewritten."
"A story was a form of telepathy. By means of inking symbols onto a page, she was able to send thoughts and feelings from her mind to her reader's. It was a magical process, so commonplace that no one stopped to wonder at it."
"I heard a preacher say recently that hope is a revolutionary patience; let me add that so is being a writer. Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up."
"Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave in to endless requests to have "essential" and "long overdue" meetings on those days. The funny thing is that, although writing has been my actual job for several years now, I still seem to have to fight for time in which to do it. Some people do not seem to grasp that I still have to sit down in peace and write the books, apparently believing that they pop up like mushrooms without my connivance. I must therefore guard the time allotted to writing as a Hungarian Horntail guards its firstborn egg."
"What is your advice to young writers?" "Drink, fuck and smoke plenty of cigarettes."
"After the first glass of vodka you can accept just about anything of life even your own mysteriousness you think it is nice that a box of matches is purple and brown and is called La Petite and comes from Sweden for they are words that you know and that is all you know words not their feelings or what they mean and you write because you know them not because you understand them because you don't you are stupid and lazy and will never be great but you do what you know because what else is there?"
"Writing is thinking. To write well is to think clearly. That's why it's so hard."
"You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty."
"You know, it's a funny thing about writers. Most people don't stop to think of books being written by people much like themselves. They think that writers are all dead long ago--they don't expect to meet them in the street or out shopping. They know their stories but not their names, and certainly not their faces. And most writers like it that way."
"A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it."
"A tamed woman will never leave her mark in the world."
"Autobiography begins with a sense of being alone. It is an orphan form."
"Do you suffer when you write? I don't at all. Suffer like a bastard when don't write, or just before, and feel empty and fucked out afterwards. But never feel as good as while writing."
"The thing all writers do best is find ways to avoid writing."
"If you really want to possess a woman, you must think like her, and the first thing to do is win over her soul. The rest, that sweet, soft wrapping that steals away your senses and your virtue, is a bonus."
"Personally I think that grammar is a way to attain beauty."
"I was supposed to write a romantic comedy, but my characters broke up."
"It's impossible to say a thing exactly the way it was, because of what you say can never be exact, you always have to leave something out, there are too many parts, sides, crosscurrents, nuances; too many gestures, which could mean this or that, too many shapes which can never be fully described, too many flavors, in the air or on the tongue, half-colors, too many."
"You're miserable, edgy and tired. You're in the perfect mood for journalism."
"You guys know about vampires? … You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? There's this idea that monsters don't have reflections in a mirror. And what I've always thought isn't that monsters don't have reflections in a mirror. It's that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn't see myself reflected at all. I was like, "Yo, is something wrong with me? That the whole society seems to think that people like me don't exist?" And part of what inspired me, was this deep desire that before I died, I would make a couple of mirrors. That I would make some mirrors so that kids like me might see themselves reflected back and might not feel so monstrous for it."
"Every few weeks she would shut herself up in her room, put on her scribbling suit, and fall into a vortex, as she expressed it, writing away at her novel with all her heart and soul, for till that was finished she could find no peace."
"Only a mediocre person is always at his best. "
"The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible."
"Don't classify me, read me. I'm a writer, not a genre."
"Why did I write? Because I found life unsatisfactory."
"Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience."
"Some writers enjoy writing, I am told. Not me. I enjoy having written."
"Appearance blinds, whereas words reveal."
"I never desire to converse with a man who has written more than he has read."
"Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck."
"Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal."
"The first draft is just you telling yourself the story."
"Remember that you own what happened to you. If your childhood was less than ideal, you may have been raised thinking that if you told the truth about what really went on in your family, a long bony white finger would emerge from a cloud and point to you, while a chilling voice thundered, "We *told* you not to tell." But that was then. Just put down on paper everything you can remember now about your parents and siblings and relatives and neighbors, and we will deal with libel later on."
"The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write about it. "
"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report written on birds that he'd had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books about birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, "Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird."
"Remember: when people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong."
"A good [short story] would take me out of myself and then stuff me back in, outsized, now, and uneasy with the fit."
"What's writing really about? It's about trying to take fuller possession of the reality of your life."
"the writing of somemenis like a vast bridgethat carries youoverthe many thingsthat claw and tear.The Wine of Forever"
"My bursting heart must find vent at my pen."
"True alchemy lies in this formula: 'Your memory and your senses are but the nourishment of your creative impulse'."
"Was not writing poetry a secret transaction, a voice answering a voice?"
"When a poet digs himself into a hole, he doesn't climb out. He digs deeper, enjoys the scenery, and comes out the other side enlightened."
"You can't blame a writer for what the characters say."
"A poet is a man who manages, in a lifetime of standing out in thunderstorms, to be struck by lightning five or six times."
"I am writing you from inside a body that used to be yours. Which is to say, I am writing as a son."
"Let's get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn't to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up."
"Do not do what someone else could do as well as you. Do not say, do not write what someone else could say, could write as well as you. Care for nothing in yourself but what you feel exists nowhere else. And, out of yourself create, impatiently or patiently, the most irreplaceable of beings."
"Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose."
"To be an artist means never to avert one's eyes."
"I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork."
"To be an artist means never to avert one's eyes."
"Because this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer, is ultimately about asking yourself, How alive am I willing to be?"
"unless the sun inside you is burning your gut, don't do it"
"If you're young and talented, it's like you have wings."
"True alchemy lies in this formula: 'Your memory and your senses are but the nourishment of your creative impulse'."
"A poet's work . . . to name the unnamable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world and stop it from going to sleep."
"You grow ravenous. You run fevers. You know exhilarations. You can't sleep at night, because your beast-creature ideas want out and turn you in your bed. It is a grand way to live."
"In the beginning was the Word. Then came the fucking word processor. Then came the thought processor. Then came the death of literature. And so it goes."
"Writing has nothing to do with meaning. It has to do with landsurveying and cartography, including the mapping of countries yet to come."
"Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose."
"Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces together."
"Alcohol makes other people less tedious, and food less bland, and can help provide what the Greeks called entheos, or the slight buzz of inspiration when reading or writing. The only worthwhile miracle in the New Testament—the transmutation of water into wine during the wedding at Cana—is a tribute to the persistence of Hellenism in an otherwise austere Judaea. The same applies to the seder at Passover, which is obviously modeled on the Platonic symposium: questions are asked (especially of the young) while wine is circulated. No better form of sodality has ever been devised: at Oxford one was positively expected to take wine during tutorials. The tongue must be untied. It's not a coincidence that Omar Khayyam, rebuking and ridiculing the stone-faced Iranian mullahs of his time, pointed to the value of the grape as a mockery of their joyless and sterile regime. Visiting today's Iran, I was delighted to find that citizens made a point of defying the clerical ban on booze, keeping it in their homes for visitors even if they didn't particularly take to it themselves, and bootlegging it with great brio and ingenuity. These small revolutions affirm the human."
"A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it."
"A writer, I think, is someone who pays attention to the world."[Speech upon being awarded the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels (Peace Prize of the German Book Trade), Frankfurt Book Fair, October 12, 2003]"
"Was not writing poetry a secret transaction, a voice answering a voice?"
"Do not do what someone else could do as well as you. Do not say, do not write what someone else could say, could write as well as you. Care for nothing in yourself but what you feel exists nowhere else. And, out of yourself create, impatiently or patiently, the most irreplaceable of beings."
"Let's get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn't to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up."
"I like to write when I feel spiteful. It is like having a good sneeze."(Letter to Cynthia Asquith, November 1913)"
"Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it."
"A tamed woman will never leave her mark in the world."
"Therefore I would ask you to write all kinds of books, hesitating at no subject however trivial or however vast. By hook or by crook, I hope that you will possess yourselves of money enough to travel and to idle, to contemplate the future or the past of the world, to dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream."
"You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success - but only if you persist."
"The author must keep his mouth shut when his work starts to speak."
"Wasn't writing a kind of soaring, an achievable form of flight, of fancy, of the imagination?"
"Remember: when people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong."
"A story was a form of telepathy. By means of inking symbols onto a page, she was able to send thoughts and feelings from her mind to her reader's. It was a magical process, so commonplace that no one stopped to wonder at it."
"Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos; the materials must, in the first place, be afforded: it can give form to dark, shapeless substances, but cannot bring into being the substance itself."
"The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying."
"Sometimes to self-discover you must self-destruct."
"My bursting heart must find vent at my pen."
"Do you suffer when you write? I don't at all. Suffer like a bastard when don't write, or just before, and feel empty and fucked out afterwards. But never feel as good as while writing."
"Writing is thinking. To write well is to think clearly. That's why it's so hard."
"Child, to say the very thing you really mean, the whole of it, nothing more or less or other than what you really mean; that's the whole art and joy of words."
"A good [short story] would take me out of myself and then stuff me back in, outsized, now, and uneasy with the fit."
"Because this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer, is ultimately about asking yourself, How alive am I willing to be?"
"It's impossible to say a thing exactly the way it was, because of what you say can never be exact, you always have to leave something out, there are too many parts, sides, crosscurrents, nuances; too many gestures, which could mean this or that, too many shapes which can never be fully described, too many flavors, in the air or on the tongue, half-colors, too many."
"The person born with a talent they are meant to use will find their greatest happiness in using it. "
"Child, to say the very thing you really mean, the whole of it, nothing more or less or other than what you really mean; that's the whole art and joy of words."
"I was supposed to write a romantic comedy, but my characters broke up."
"Only a mediocre person is always at his best. "
"Autobiography begins with a sense of being alone. It is an orphan form."
"Then you should say what you mean," the March Hare went on. "I do," Alice hastily replied; "at least--at least I mean what I say--that's the same thing, you know." "Not the same thing a bit!" said the Hatter. "You might just as well say that "I see what I eat" is the same thing as "I eat what I see"!"
"The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible."
"Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink. Drink and be filled up."
"When all the details fit in perfectly, something is probably wrong with the story."
"Why did I write? Because I found life unsatisfactory."
"A tamed woman will never leave her mark in the world."
"A writer, I think, is someone who pays attention to the world."[Speech upon being awarded the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels (Peace Prize of the German Book Trade), Frankfurt Book Fair, October 12, 2003]"
"I never desire to converse with a man who has written more than he has read."
"Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck."
"Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else."
"You're miserable, edgy and tired. You're in the perfect mood for journalism."
"A poet is a man who manages, in a lifetime of standing out in thunderstorms, to be struck by lightning five or six times."
"I am writing you from inside a body that used to be yours. Which is to say, I am writing as a son."
"Writing is something that you don't know how to do. You sit down and it's something that happens, or it may not happen. So, how can you teach anybody how to write? It's beyond me, because you yourself don't even know if you're going to be able to. I'm always worried, well, you know, every time I go upstairs with my wine bottle. Sometimes I'll sit at that typewriter for fifteen minutes, you know. I don't go up there to write. The typewriter's up there. If it doesn't start moving, I say, well this could be the night that I hit the dust."
"People often ask me why my style is so simple. It is, in fact, deceptively simple, for no two sentences are alike. It is clarity that I am striving to attain, not simplicity.Of course, some people want literature to be difficult and there are writers who like to make their readers toil and sweat. They hope to be taken more seriously that way. I have always tried to achieve a prose that is easy and conversational. And those who think this is simple should try it for themselves."
"You can't blame a writer for what the characters say."
"Writing has nothing to do with meaning. It has to do with landsurveying and cartography, including the mapping of countries yet to come."
"After the first glass of vodka you can accept just about anything of life even your own mysteriousness you think it is nice that a box of matches is purple and brown and is called La Petite and comes from Sweden for they are words that you know and that is all you know words not their feelings or what they mean and you write because you know them not because you understand them because you don't you are stupid and lazy and will never be great but you do what you know because what else is there?"
"You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty."
"I'm astounded whenever I finish something. Astounded and distressed. My perfectionist instinct should inhibit me from finishing: it should inhibit me from even beginning. But I get distracted and start doing something. What I achieve is not the product of an act of my will but of my will's surrender. I begin because I don't have the strength to think; I finish because I don't have the courage to quit. This book is my cowardice."
"A good book isn't written, it's rewritten."
"I heard a preacher say recently that hope is a revolutionary patience; let me add that so is being a writer. Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up."
"If you really want to possess a woman, you must think like her, and the first thing to do is win over her soul. The rest, that sweet, soft wrapping that steals away your senses and your virtue, is a bonus."
"Any writer worth his salt writes to please himself...It's a self-exploratory operation that is endless. An exorcism of not necessarily his demon, but of his divine discontent."
"Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience."
"In the beginning was the Word. Then came the fucking word processor. Then came the thought processor. Then came the death of literature. And so it goes."
"There is something in us, as storytellers and as listeners to stories, that demands the redemptive act, that demands that what falls at least be offered the chance to be restored. The reader of today looks for this motion, and rightly so, but what he has forgotten is the cost of it. His sense of evil is diluted or lacking altogether, and so he has forgotten the price of restoration. When he reads a novel, he wants either his sense tormented or his spirits raised. He wants to be transported, instantly, either to mock damnation or a mock innocence."
"True alchemy lies in this formula: 'Your memory and your senses are but the nourishment of your creative impulse'."
"If you're young and talented, it's like you have wings."
"The first draft is just you telling yourself the story."
"To be an artist means never to avert one's eyes."
"You know, it's a funny thing about writers. Most people don't stop to think of books being written by people much like themselves. They think that writers are all dead long ago--they don't expect to meet them in the street or out shopping. They know their stories but not their names, and certainly not their faces. And most writers like it that way."
"I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork."
"Remember that you own what happened to you. If your childhood was less than ideal, you may have been raised thinking that if you told the truth about what really went on in your family, a long bony white finger would emerge from a cloud and point to you, while a chilling voice thundered, "We *told* you not to tell." But that was then. Just put down on paper everything you can remember now about your parents and siblings and relatives and neighbors, and we will deal with libel later on."
"Autobiography begins with a sense of being alone. It is an orphan form."
"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report written on birds that he'd had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books about birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, "Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird."
"Bad writing is more than a matter of shit syntax and faulty observation; bad writing usually arises from a stubborn refusal to tell stories about what people actually do
"The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write about it. "
"A poet's work . . . to name the unnamable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world and stop it from going to sleep."
"You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success - but only if you persist."
"Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces together."
"Writers don't make any money at all. We make about a dollar. It is terrible. But then again we don't work either. We sit around in our underwear until noon then go downstairs and make coffee, fry some eggs, read the paper, read part of a book, smell the book, wonder if perhaps we ourselves should work on our book, smell the book again, throw the book across the room because we are quite jealous that any other person wrote a book, feel terribly guilty about throwing the schmuck's book across the room because we secretly wonder if God in heaven noticed our evil jealousy, or worse, our laziness. We then lie across the couch facedown and mumble to God to forgive us because we are secretly afraid He is going to dry up all our words because we envied another man's stupid words. And for this, as I said, we are paid a dollar. We are worth so much more."
"Good description is a learned skill, one of the prime reasons why you cannot succeed unless you read a lot and write a lot. It's not just a question of how-to, you see; it's also a question of how much to. Reading will help you answer how much, and only reams of writing will help you with the how. You can learn only by doing."
"A writer, I think, is someone who pays attention to the world."[Speech upon being awarded the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels (Peace Prize of the German Book Trade), Frankfurt Book Fair, October 12, 2003]"
"Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos; the materials must, in the first place, be afforded: it can give form to dark, shapeless substances, but cannot bring into being the substance itself."
"The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying."
"Remember: when people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong."
"Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave in to endless requests to have "essential" and "long overdue" meetings on those days. The funny thing is that, although writing has been my actual job for several years now, I still seem to have to fight for time in which to do it. Some people do not seem to grasp that I still have to sit down in peace and write the books, apparently believing that they pop up like mushrooms without my connivance. I must therefore guard the time allotted to writing as a Hungarian Horntail guards its firstborn egg."
"unless the sun inside you is burning your gut, don't do it"
"You grow ravenous. You run fevers. You know exhilarations. You can't sleep at night, because your beast-creature ideas want out and turn you in your bed. It is a grand way to live."
"Child, to say the very thing you really mean, the whole of it, nothing more or less or other than what you really mean; that's the whole art and joy of words."
"Was not writing poetry a secret transaction, a voice answering a voice?"
"The thing all writers do best is find ways to avoid writing."
"Alcohol makes other people less tedious, and food less bland, and can help provide what the Greeks called entheos, or the slight buzz of inspiration when reading or writing. The only worthwhile miracle in the New Testament—the transmutation of water into wine during the wedding at Cana—is a tribute to the persistence of Hellenism in an otherwise austere Judaea. The same applies to the seder at Passover, which is obviously modeled on the Platonic symposium: questions are asked (especially of the young) while wine is circulated. No better form of sodality has ever been devised: at Oxford one was positively expected to take wine during tutorials. The tongue must be untied. It's not a coincidence that Omar Khayyam, rebuking and ridiculing the stone-faced Iranian mullahs of his time, pointed to the value of the grape as a mockery of their joyless and sterile regime. Visiting today's Iran, I was delighted to find that citizens made a point of defying the clerical ban on booze, keeping it in their homes for visitors even if they didn't particularly take to it themselves, and bootlegging it with great brio and ingenuity. These small revolutions affirm the human."
"Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for love, and then for a few close friends, and then for money."
"My bursting heart must find vent at my pen."
"Autobiography begins with a sense of being alone. It is an orphan form."
"A tamed woman will never leave her mark in the world."
"The person born with a talent they are meant to use will find their greatest happiness in using it. "
"Do you suffer when you write? I don't at all. Suffer like a bastard when don't write, or just before, and feel empty and fucked out afterwards. But never feel as good as while writing."
"The author must keep his mouth shut when his work starts to speak."
"Because this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer, is ultimately about asking yourself, How alive am I willing to be?"
"Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose."
"Wasn't writing a kind of soaring, an achievable form of flight, of fancy, of the imagination?"
"Because this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer, is ultimately about asking yourself, How alive am I willing to be?"
"Why did I write? Because I found life unsatisfactory."
"It's impossible to say a thing exactly the way it was, because of what you say can never be exact, you always have to leave something out, there are too many parts, sides, crosscurrents, nuances; too many gestures, which could mean this or that, too many shapes which can never be fully described, too many flavors, in the air or on the tongue, half-colors, too many."
"I never desire to converse with a man who has written more than he has read."
"A tamed woman will never leave her mark in the world."
"Only a mediocre person is always at his best. "
"A poet is a man who manages, in a lifetime of standing out in thunderstorms, to be struck by lightning five or six times."
"I was supposed to write a romantic comedy, but my characters broke up."
"Then you should say what you mean," the March Hare went on. "I do," Alice hastily replied; "at least--at least I mean what I say--that's the same thing, you know." "Not the same thing a bit!" said the Hatter. "You might just as well say that "I see what I eat" is the same thing as "I eat what I see"!"
"The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible."
"What is your advice to young writers?" "Drink, fuck and smoke plenty of cigarettes."
"Every few weeks she would shut herself up in her room, put on her scribbling suit, and fall into a vortex, as she expressed it, writing away at her novel with all her heart and soul, for till that was finished she could find no peace."
"A good [short story] would take me out of myself and then stuff me back in, outsized, now, and uneasy with the fit."
"Writing is something that you don't know how to do. You sit down and it's something that happens, or it may not happen. So, how can you teach anybody how to write? It's beyond me, because you yourself don't even know if you're going to be able to. I'm always worried, well, you know, every time I go upstairs with my wine bottle. Sometimes I'll sit at that typewriter for fifteen minutes, you know. I don't go up there to write. The typewriter's up there. If it doesn't start moving, I say, well this could be the night that I hit the dust."
"People often ask me why my style is so simple. It is, in fact, deceptively simple, for no two sentences are alike. It is clarity that I am striving to attain, not simplicity.Of course, some people want literature to be difficult and there are writers who like to make their readers toil and sweat. They hope to be taken more seriously that way. I have always tried to achieve a prose that is easy and conversational. And those who think this is simple should try it for themselves."
"Therefore I would ask you to write all kinds of books, hesitating at no subject however trivial or however vast. By hook or by crook, I hope that you will possess yourselves of money enough to travel and to idle, to contemplate the future or the past of the world, to dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream."
"I am writing you from inside a body that used to be yours. Which is to say, I am writing as a son."
"Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else."
"You can't blame a writer for what the characters say."
"Sometimes to self-discover you must self-destruct."
"A good book isn't written, it's rewritten."
"I have no taste for either poverty or honest labor, so writing is the only recourse left for me."
"I heard a preacher say recently that hope is a revolutionary patience; let me add that so is being a writer. Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up."
"Writing is thinking. To write well is to think clearly. That's why it's so hard."
"A story was a form of telepathy. By means of inking symbols onto a page, she was able to send thoughts and feelings from her mind to her reader's. It was a magical process, so commonplace that no one stopped to wonder at it."
"In the beginning was the Word. Then came the fucking word processor. Then came the thought processor. Then came the death of literature. And so it goes."
"A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it."
"Any writer worth his salt writes to please himself...It's a self-exploratory operation that is endless. An exorcism of not necessarily his demon, but of his divine discontent."
"Remember that you own what happened to you. If your childhood was less than ideal, you may have been raised thinking that if you told the truth about what really went on in your family, a long bony white finger would emerge from a cloud and point to you, while a chilling voice thundered, "We *told* you not to tell." But that was then. Just put down on paper everything you can remember now about your parents and siblings and relatives and neighbors, and we will deal with libel later on."
"To be an artist means never to avert one's eyes."
"A writer, I think, is someone who pays attention to the world."[Speech upon being awarded the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels (Peace Prize of the German Book Trade), Frankfurt Book Fair, October 12, 2003]"
"I'm astounded whenever I finish something. Astounded and distressed. My perfectionist instinct should inhibit me from finishing: it should inhibit me from even beginning. But I get distracted and start doing something. What I achieve is not the product of an act of my will but of my will's surrender. I begin because I don't have the strength to think; I finish because I don't have the courage to quit. This book is my cowardice."
"You're miserable, edgy and tired. You're in the perfect mood for journalism."
"The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write about it. "
"A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it."
"When all the details fit in perfectly, something is probably wrong with the story."
"When a poet digs himself into a hole, he doesn't climb out. He digs deeper, enjoys the scenery, and comes out the other side enlightened."
"Good description is a learned skill, one of the prime reasons why you cannot succeed unless you read a lot and write a lot. It's not just a question of how-to, you see; it's also a question of how much to. Reading will help you answer how much, and only reams of writing will help you with the how. You can learn only by doing."
"You guys know about vampires? … You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? There's this idea that monsters don't have reflections in a mirror. And what I've always thought isn't that monsters don't have reflections in a mirror. It's that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn't see myself reflected at all. I was like, "Yo, is something wrong with me? That the whole society seems to think that people like me don't exist?" And part of what inspired me, was this deep desire that before I died, I would make a couple of mirrors. That I would make some mirrors so that kids like me might see themselves reflected back and might not feel so monstrous for it."
"Don't classify me, read me. I'm a writer, not a genre."
"If you're young and talented, it's like you have wings."
"Writers don't make any money at all. We make about a dollar. It is terrible. But then again we don't work either. We sit around in our underwear until noon then go downstairs and make coffee, fry some eggs, read the paper, read part of a book, smell the book, wonder if perhaps we ourselves should work on our book, smell the book again, throw the book across the room because we are quite jealous that any other person wrote a book, feel terribly guilty about throwing the schmuck's book across the room because we secretly wonder if God in heaven noticed our evil jealousy, or worse, our laziness. We then lie across the couch facedown and mumble to God to forgive us because we are secretly afraid He is going to dry up all our words because we envied another man's stupid words. And for this, as I said, we are paid a dollar. We are worth so much more."
"Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink. Drink and be filled up."
"Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it."
"A poet's work . . . to name the unnamable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world and stop it from going to sleep."
"I like to write when I feel spiteful. It is like having a good sneeze."(Letter to Cynthia Asquith, November 1913)"
"Child, to say the very thing you really mean, the whole of it, nothing more or less or other than what you really mean; that's the whole art and joy of words."
"I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork."
"The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying."
"A story is not like a road to follow … it's more like a house. You go inside and stay there for a while, wandering back and forth and settling where you like and discovering how the room and corridors relate to each other, how the world outside is altered by being viewed from these windows. And you, the visitor, the reader, are altered as well by being in this enclosed space, whether it is ample and easy or full of crooked turns, or sparsely or opulently furnished. You can go back again and again, and the house, the story, always contains more than you saw the last time. It also has a sturdy sense of itself of being built out of its own necessity, not just to shelter or beguile you."
"True alchemy lies in this formula: 'Your memory and your senses are but the nourishment of your creative impulse'."
"A writer, I think, is someone who pays attention to the world."[Speech upon being awarded the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels (Peace Prize of the German Book Trade), Frankfurt Book Fair, October 12, 2003]"
"My bursting heart must find vent at my pen."
"The first draft is just you telling yourself the story."
"Do not do what someone else could do as well as you. Do not say, do not write what someone else could say, could write as well as you. Care for nothing in yourself but what you feel exists nowhere else. And, out of yourself create, impatiently or patiently, the most irreplaceable of beings."
"Do you suffer when you write? I don't at all. Suffer like a bastard when don't write, or just before, and feel empty and fucked out afterwards. But never feel as good as while writing."
"You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success - but only if you persist."
"Alcohol makes other people less tedious, and food less bland, and can help provide what the Greeks called entheos, or the slight buzz of inspiration when reading or writing. The only worthwhile miracle in the New Testament—the transmutation of water into wine during the wedding at Cana—is a tribute to the persistence of Hellenism in an otherwise austere Judaea. The same applies to the seder at Passover, which is obviously modeled on the Platonic symposium: questions are asked (especially of the young) while wine is circulated. No better form of sodality has ever been devised: at Oxford one was positively expected to take wine during tutorials. The tongue must be untied. It's not a coincidence that Omar Khayyam, rebuking and ridiculing the stone-faced Iranian mullahs of his time, pointed to the value of the grape as a mockery of their joyless and sterile regime. Visiting today's Iran, I was delighted to find that citizens made a point of defying the clerical ban on booze, keeping it in their homes for visitors even if they didn't particularly take to it themselves, and bootlegging it with great brio and ingenuity. These small revolutions affirm the human."
"After the first glass of vodka you can accept just about anything of life even your own mysteriousness you think it is nice that a box of matches is purple and brown and is called La Petite and comes from Sweden for they are words that you know and that is all you know words not their feelings or what they mean and you write because you know them not because you understand them because you don't you are stupid and lazy and will never be great but you do what you know because what else is there?"
"Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck."
"Was not writing poetry a secret transaction, a voice answering a voice?"
"Why did I write? Because I found life unsatisfactory."
"unless the sun inside you is burning your gut, don't do it"
"Wasn't writing a kind of soaring, an achievable form of flight, of fancy, of the imagination?"
"The author must keep his mouth shut when his work starts to speak."
"You grow ravenous. You run fevers. You know exhilarations. You can't sleep at night, because your beast-creature ideas want out and turn you in your bed. It is a grand way to live."
"You know, it's a funny thing about writers. Most people don't stop to think of books being written by people much like themselves. They think that writers are all dead long ago--they don't expect to meet them in the street or out shopping. They know their stories but not their names, and certainly not their faces. And most writers like it that way."
"Autobiography begins with a sense of being alone. It is an orphan form."
"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report written on birds that he'd had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books about birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, "Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird."
"Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces together."
"Then you should say what you mean," the March Hare went on. "I do," Alice hastily replied; "at least--at least I mean what I say--that's the same thing, you know." "Not the same thing a bit!" said the Hatter. "You might just as well say that "I see what I eat" is the same thing as "I eat what I see"!"
"The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible."
"I never desire to converse with a man who has written more than he has read."
"Autobiography begins with a sense of being alone. It is an orphan form."
"Writing has nothing to do with meaning. It has to do with landsurveying and cartography, including the mapping of countries yet to come."
"Bad writing is more than a matter of shit syntax and faulty observation; bad writing usually arises from a stubborn refusal to tell stories about what people actually do
"Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose."
"This diary is my kief, hashish and opium pipe. This is my drug and my vice."
"A tamed woman will never leave her mark in the world."
"You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty."
"Therefore I would ask you to write all kinds of books, hesitating at no subject however trivial or however vast. By hook or by crook, I hope that you will possess yourselves of money enough to travel and to idle, to contemplate the future or the past of the world, to dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream."
"If you really want to possess a woman, you must think like her, and the first thing to do is win over her soul. The rest, that sweet, soft wrapping that steals away your senses and your virtue, is a bonus."
"Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience."
"There is something in us, as storytellers and as listeners to stories, that demands the redemptive act, that demands that what falls at least be offered the chance to be restored. The reader of today looks for this motion, and rightly so, but what he has forgotten is the cost of it. His sense of evil is diluted or lacking altogether, and so he has forgotten the price of restoration. When he reads a novel, he wants either his sense tormented or his spirits raised. He wants to be transported, instantly, either to mock damnation or a mock innocence."
"Writing is thinking. To write well is to think clearly. That's why it's so hard."
"People often ask me why my style is so simple. It is, in fact, deceptively simple, for no two sentences are alike. It is clarity that I am striving to attain, not simplicity.Of course, some people want literature to be difficult and there are writers who like to make their readers toil and sweat. They hope to be taken more seriously that way. I have always tried to achieve a prose that is easy and conversational. And those who think this is simple should try it for themselves."
"I am writing you from inside a body that used to be yours. Which is to say, I am writing as a son."
"A story was a form of telepathy. By means of inking symbols onto a page, she was able to send thoughts and feelings from her mind to her reader's. It was a magical process, so commonplace that no one stopped to wonder at it."
"The person born with a talent they are meant to use will find their greatest happiness in using it. "
"Only a mediocre person is always at his best. "
"Any writer worth his salt writes to please himself...It's a self-exploratory operation that is endless. An exorcism of not necessarily his demon, but of his divine discontent."
"What is your advice to young writers?" "Drink, fuck and smoke plenty of cigarettes."
"It's impossible to say a thing exactly the way it was, because of what you say can never be exact, you always have to leave something out, there are too many parts, sides, crosscurrents, nuances; too many gestures, which could mean this or that, too many shapes which can never be fully described, too many flavors, in the air or on the tongue, half-colors, too many."
"A good book isn't written, it's rewritten."
"Remember: when people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong."
"Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos; the materials must, in the first place, be afforded: it can give form to dark, shapeless substances, but cannot bring into being the substance itself."
"You can't blame a writer for what the characters say."
"Because this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer, is ultimately about asking yourself, How alive am I willing to be?"
"The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write about it. "
"Good description is a learned skill, one of the prime reasons why you cannot succeed unless you read a lot and write a lot. It's not just a question of how-to, you see; it's also a question of how much to. Reading will help you answer how much, and only reams of writing will help you with the how. You can learn only by doing."
"If you're young and talented, it's like you have wings."
"Don't classify me, read me. I'm a writer, not a genre."
"Writing is something that you don't know how to do. You sit down and it's something that happens, or it may not happen. So, how can you teach anybody how to write? It's beyond me, because you yourself don't even know if you're going to be able to. I'm always worried, well, you know, every time I go upstairs with my wine bottle. Sometimes I'll sit at that typewriter for fifteen minutes, you know. I don't go up there to write. The typewriter's up there. If it doesn't start moving, I say, well this could be the night that I hit the dust."
"Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it."
"The thing all writers do best is find ways to avoid writing."
"A poet's work . . . to name the unnamable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world and stop it from going to sleep."
"Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave in to endless requests to have "essential" and "long overdue" meetings on those days. The funny thing is that, although writing has been my actual job for several years now, I still seem to have to fight for time in which to do it. Some people do not seem to grasp that I still have to sit down in peace and write the books, apparently believing that they pop up like mushrooms without my connivance. I must therefore guard the time allotted to writing as a Hungarian Horntail guards its firstborn egg."
"Child, to say the very thing you really mean, the whole of it, nothing more or less or other than what you really mean; that's the whole art and joy of words."
"When all the details fit in perfectly, something is probably wrong with the story."
"Let's get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn't to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up."
"I have no taste for either poverty or honest labor, so writing is the only recourse left for me."
"I was supposed to write a romantic comedy, but my characters broke up."
"You're miserable, edgy and tired. You're in the perfect mood for journalism."
"Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink. Drink and be filled up."
"The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying."
"A tamed woman will never leave her mark in the world."
"If people cannot write well, they cannot think well, and if they cannot think well, others will do their thinking for them."
"You guys know about vampires? … You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? There's this idea that monsters don't have reflections in a mirror. And what I've always thought isn't that monsters don't have reflections in a mirror. It's that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn't see myself reflected at all. I was like, "Yo, is something wrong with me? That the whole society seems to think that people like me don't exist?" And part of what inspired me, was this deep desire that before I died, I would make a couple of mirrors. That I would make some mirrors so that kids like me might see themselves reflected back and might not feel so monstrous for it."
"Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else."
"Every few weeks she would shut herself up in her room, put on her scribbling suit, and fall into a vortex, as she expressed it, writing away at her novel with all her heart and soul, for till that was finished she could find no peace."
"When a poet digs himself into a hole, he doesn't climb out. He digs deeper, enjoys the scenery, and comes out the other side enlightened."
"I like to write when I feel spiteful. It is like having a good sneeze."(Letter to Cynthia Asquith, November 1913)"
"Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck."
"A poet is a man who manages, in a lifetime of standing out in thunderstorms, to be struck by lightning five or six times."
"A writer, I think, is someone who pays attention to the world."[Speech upon being awarded the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels (Peace Prize of the German Book Trade), Frankfurt Book Fair, October 12, 2003]"
"Was not writing poetry a secret transaction, a voice answering a voice?"
"A story is not like a road to follow … it's more like a house. You go inside and stay there for a while, wandering back and forth and settling where you like and discovering how the room and corridors relate to each other, how the world outside is altered by being viewed from these windows. And you, the visitor, the reader, are altered as well by being in this enclosed space, whether it is ample and easy or full of crooked turns, or sparsely or opulently furnished. You can go back again and again, and the house, the story, always contains more than you saw the last time. It also has a sturdy sense of itself of being built out of its own necessity, not just to shelter or beguile you."
"You know, it's a funny thing about writers. Most people don't stop to think of books being written by people much like themselves. They think that writers are all dead long ago--they don't expect to meet them in the street or out shopping. They know their stories but not their names, and certainly not their faces. And most writers like it that way."
"Alcohol makes other people less tedious, and food less bland, and can help provide what the Greeks called entheos, or the slight buzz of inspiration when reading or writing. The only worthwhile miracle in the New Testament—the transmutation of water into wine during the wedding at Cana—is a tribute to the persistence of Hellenism in an otherwise austere Judaea. The same applies to the seder at Passover, which is obviously modeled on the Platonic symposium: questions are asked (especially of the young) while wine is circulated. No better form of sodality has ever been devised: at Oxford one was positively expected to take wine during tutorials. The tongue must be untied. It's not a coincidence that Omar Khayyam, rebuking and ridiculing the stone-faced Iranian mullahs of his time, pointed to the value of the grape as a mockery of their joyless and sterile regime. Visiting today's Iran, I was delighted to find that citizens made a point of defying the clerical ban on booze, keeping it in their homes for visitors even if they didn't particularly take to it themselves, and bootlegging it with great brio and ingenuity. These small revolutions affirm the human."
"True alchemy lies in this formula: 'Your memory and your senses are but the nourishment of your creative impulse'."
"Why did I write? Because I found life unsatisfactory."
"A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it."
"I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork."
"I heard a preacher say recently that hope is a revolutionary patience; let me add that so is being a writer. Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up."
"Do you suffer when you write? I don't at all. Suffer like a bastard when don't write, or just before, and feel empty and fucked out afterwards. But never feel as good as while writing."
"Do not do what someone else could do as well as you. Do not say, do not write what someone else could say, could write as well as you. Care for nothing in yourself but what you feel exists nowhere else. And, out of yourself create, impatiently or patiently, the most irreplaceable of beings."
"A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it."
"Because this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer, is ultimately about asking yourself, How alive am I willing to be?"
"After the first glass of vodka you can accept just about anything of life even your own mysteriousness you think it is nice that a box of matches is purple and brown and is called La Petite and comes from Sweden for they are words that you know and that is all you know words not their feelings or what they mean and you write because you know them not because you understand them because you don't you are stupid and lazy and will never be great but you do what you know because what else is there?"
"A writer, I think, is someone who pays attention to the world."[Speech upon being awarded the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels (Peace Prize of the German Book Trade), Frankfurt Book Fair, October 12, 2003]"
"Child, to say the very thing you really mean, the whole of it, nothing more or less or other than what you really mean; that's the whole art and joy of words."
"Writing has nothing to do with meaning. It has to do with landsurveying and cartography, including the mapping of countries yet to come."
"You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty."
"Bad writing is more than a matter of shit syntax and faulty observation; bad writing usually arises from a stubborn refusal to tell stories about what people actually do
"Remember that you own what happened to you. If your childhood was less than ideal, you may have been raised thinking that if you told the truth about what really went on in your family, a long bony white finger would emerge from a cloud and point to you, while a chilling voice thundered, "We *told* you not to tell." But that was then. Just put down on paper everything you can remember now about your parents and siblings and relatives and neighbors, and we will deal with libel later on."
"If you really want to possess a woman, you must think like her, and the first thing to do is win over her soul. The rest, that sweet, soft wrapping that steals away your senses and your virtue, is a bonus."
"Wasn't writing a kind of soaring, an achievable form of flight, of fancy, of the imagination?"
"A tamed woman will never leave her mark in the world."
"There is something in us, as storytellers and as listeners to stories, that demands the redemptive act, that demands that what falls at least be offered the chance to be restored. The reader of today looks for this motion, and rightly so, but what he has forgotten is the cost of it. His sense of evil is diluted or lacking altogether, and so he has forgotten the price of restoration. When he reads a novel, he wants either his sense tormented or his spirits raised. He wants to be transported, instantly, either to mock damnation or a mock innocence."
"I never desire to converse with a man who has written more than he has read."
"Autobiography begins with a sense of being alone. It is an orphan form."
"My bursting heart must find vent at my pen."
"The author must keep his mouth shut when his work starts to speak."
"People often ask me why my style is so simple. It is, in fact, deceptively simple, for no two sentences are alike. It is clarity that I am striving to attain, not simplicity.Of course, some people want literature to be difficult and there are writers who like to make their readers toil and sweat. They hope to be taken more seriously that way. I have always tried to achieve a prose that is easy and conversational. And those who think this is simple should try it for themselves."
"Therefore I would ask you to write all kinds of books, hesitating at no subject however trivial or however vast. By hook or by crook, I hope that you will possess yourselves of money enough to travel and to idle, to contemplate the future or the past of the world, to dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream."
"If you really want to possess a woman, you must think like her, and the first thing to do is win over her soul. The rest, that sweet, soft wrapping that steals away your senses and your virtue, is a bonus."
"Wasn't writing a kind of soaring, an achievable form of flight, of fancy, of the imagination?"
"Let's get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn't to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up."
"People often ask me why my style is so simple. It is, in fact, deceptively simple, for no two sentences are alike. It is clarity that I am striving to attain, not simplicity.Of course, some people want literature to be difficult and there are writers who like to make their readers toil and sweat. They hope to be taken more seriously that way. I have always tried to achieve a prose that is easy and conversational. And those who think this is simple should try it for themselves."
"I never desire to converse with a man who has written more than he has read."
"Alcohol makes other people less tedious, and food less bland, and can help provide what the Greeks called entheos, or the slight buzz of inspiration when reading or writing. The only worthwhile miracle in the New Testament—the transmutation of water into wine during the wedding at Cana—is a tribute to the persistence of Hellenism in an otherwise austere Judaea. The same applies to the seder at Passover, which is obviously modeled on the Platonic symposium: questions are asked (especially of the young) while wine is circulated. No better form of sodality has ever been devised: at Oxford one was positively expected to take wine during tutorials. The tongue must be untied. It's not a coincidence that Omar Khayyam, rebuking and ridiculing the stone-faced Iranian mullahs of his time, pointed to the value of the grape as a mockery of their joyless and sterile regime. Visiting today's Iran, I was delighted to find that citizens made a point of defying the clerical ban on booze, keeping it in their homes for visitors even if they didn't particularly take to it themselves, and bootlegging it with great brio and ingenuity. These small revolutions affirm the human."
"A tamed woman will never leave her mark in the world."
"The author must keep his mouth shut when his work starts to speak."
"Wasn't writing a kind of soaring, an achievable form of flight, of fancy, of the imagination?"
"Child, to say the very thing you really mean, the whole of it, nothing more or less or other than what you really mean; that's the whole art and joy of words."
"A tamed woman will never leave her mark in the world."
"A writer, I think, is someone who pays attention to the world."[Speech upon being awarded the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels (Peace Prize of the German Book Trade), Frankfurt Book Fair, October 12, 2003]"
"Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave in to endless requests to have "essential" and "long overdue" meetings on those days. The funny thing is that, although writing has been my actual job for several years now, I still seem to have to fight for time in which to do it. Some people do not seem to grasp that I still have to sit down in peace and write the books, apparently believing that they pop up like mushrooms without my connivance. I must therefore guard the time allotted to writing as a Hungarian Horntail guards its firstborn egg."
"A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it."
"Remember that you own what happened to you. If your childhood was less than ideal, you may have been raised thinking that if you told the truth about what really went on in your family, a long bony white finger would emerge from a cloud and point to you, while a chilling voice thundered, "We *told* you not to tell." But that was then. Just put down on paper everything you can remember now about your parents and siblings and relatives and neighbors, and we will deal with libel later on."
"A tamed woman will never leave her mark in the world."
"Remember that you own what happened to you. If your childhood was less than ideal, you may have been raised thinking that if you told the truth about what really went on in your family, a long bony white finger would emerge from a cloud and point to you, while a chilling voice thundered, "We *told* you not to tell." But that was then. Just put down on paper everything you can remember now about your parents and siblings and relatives and neighbors, and we will deal with libel later on."
"Remember that you own what happened to you. If your childhood was less than ideal, you may have been raised thinking that if you told the truth about what really went on in your family, a long bony white finger would emerge from a cloud and point to you, while a chilling voice thundered, "We *told* you not to tell." But that was then. Just put down on paper everything you can remember now about your parents and siblings and relatives and neighbors, and we will deal with libel later on."
"Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose."
"A tamed woman will never leave her mark in the world."
"I am writing you from inside a body that used to be yours. Which is to say, I am writing as a son."
"People often ask me why my style is so simple. It is, in fact, deceptively simple, for no two sentences are alike. It is clarity that I am striving to attain, not simplicity.Of course, some people want literature to be difficult and there are writers who like to make their readers toil and sweat. They hope to be taken more seriously that way. I have always tried to achieve a prose that is easy and conversational. And those who think this is simple should try it for themselves."
"You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty."
"I like to write when I feel spiteful. It is like having a good sneeze."(Letter to Cynthia Asquith, November 1913)"
"People often ask me why my style is so simple. It is, in fact, deceptively simple, for no two sentences are alike. It is clarity that I am striving to attain, not simplicity.Of course, some people want literature to be difficult and there are writers who like to make their readers toil and sweat. They hope to be taken more seriously that way. I have always tried to achieve a prose that is easy and conversational. And those who think this is simple should try it for themselves."
"In the beginning was the Word. Then came the fucking word processor. Then came the thought processor. Then came the death of literature. And so it goes."
"A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it."
"You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty."
"Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave in to endless requests to have "essential" and "long overdue" meetings on those days. The funny thing is that, although writing has been my actual job for several years now, I still seem to have to fight for time in which to do it. Some people do not seem to grasp that I still have to sit down in peace and write the books, apparently believing that they pop up like mushrooms without my connivance. I must therefore guard the time allotted to writing as a Hungarian Horntail guards its firstborn egg."
"Remember that you own what happened to you. If your childhood was less than ideal, you may have been raised thinking that if you told the truth about what really went on in your family, a long bony white finger would emerge from a cloud and point to you, while a chilling voice thundered, "We *told* you not to tell." But that was then. Just put down on paper everything you can remember now about your parents and siblings and relatives and neighbors, and we will deal with libel later on."
"My bursting heart must find vent at my pen."
"People often ask me why my style is so simple. It is, in fact, deceptively simple, for no two sentences are alike. It is clarity that I am striving to attain, not simplicity.Of course, some people want literature to be difficult and there are writers who like to make their readers toil and sweat. They hope to be taken more seriously that way. I have always tried to achieve a prose that is easy and conversational. And those who think this is simple should try it for themselves."
"Alcohol makes other people less tedious, and food less bland, and can help provide what the Greeks called entheos, or the slight buzz of inspiration when reading or writing. The only worthwhile miracle in the New Testament—the transmutation of water into wine during the wedding at Cana—is a tribute to the persistence of Hellenism in an otherwise austere Judaea. The same applies to the seder at Passover, which is obviously modeled on the Platonic symposium: questions are asked (especially of the young) while wine is circulated. No better form of sodality has ever been devised: at Oxford one was positively expected to take wine during tutorials. The tongue must be untied. It's not a coincidence that Omar Khayyam, rebuking and ridiculing the stone-faced Iranian mullahs of his time, pointed to the value of the grape as a mockery of their joyless and sterile regime. Visiting today's Iran, I was delighted to find that citizens made a point of defying the clerical ban on booze, keeping it in their homes for visitors even if they didn't particularly take to it themselves, and bootlegging it with great brio and ingenuity. These small revolutions affirm the human."
"A tamed woman will never leave her mark in the world."
"Child, to say the very thing you really mean, the whole of it, nothing more or less or other than what you really mean; that's the whole art and joy of words."
"Writing has nothing to do with meaning. It has to do with landsurveying and cartography, including the mapping of countries yet to come."
"I like to write when I feel spiteful. It is like having a good sneeze."(Letter to Cynthia Asquith, November 1913)"
"A tamed woman will never leave her mark in the world."
"People often ask me why my style is so simple. It is, in fact, deceptively simple, for no two sentences are alike. It is clarity that I am striving to attain, not simplicity.Of course, some people want literature to be difficult and there are writers who like to make their readers toil and sweat. They hope to be taken more seriously that way. I have always tried to achieve a prose that is easy and conversational. And those who think this is simple should try it for themselves."
"Because this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer, is ultimately about asking yourself, How alive am I willing to be?"
"The author must keep his mouth shut when his work starts to speak."
"Remember that you own what happened to you. If your childhood was less than ideal, you may have been raised thinking that if you told the truth about what really went on in your family, a long bony white finger would emerge from a cloud and point to you, while a chilling voice thundered, "We *told* you not to tell." But that was then. Just put down on paper everything you can remember now about your parents and siblings and relatives and neighbors, and we will deal with libel later on."
"Wasn't writing a kind of soaring, an achievable form of flight, of fancy, of the imagination?"
"The author must keep his mouth shut when his work starts to speak."
"A tamed woman will never leave her mark in the world."
"Let's get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn't to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up."
"Remember that you own what happened to you. If your childhood was less than ideal, you may have been raised thinking that if you told the truth about what really went on in your family, a long bony white finger would emerge from a cloud and point to you, while a chilling voice thundered, "We *told* you not to tell." But that was then. Just put down on paper everything you can remember now about your parents and siblings and relatives and neighbors, and we will deal with libel later on."
"Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose."
"Alcohol makes other people less tedious, and food less bland, and can help provide what the Greeks called entheos, or the slight buzz of inspiration when reading or writing. The only worthwhile miracle in the New Testament—the transmutation of water into wine during the wedding at Cana—is a tribute to the persistence of Hellenism in an otherwise austere Judaea. The same applies to the seder at Passover, which is obviously modeled on the Platonic symposium: questions are asked (especially of the young) while wine is circulated. No better form of sodality has ever been devised: at Oxford one was positively expected to take wine during tutorials. The tongue must be untied. It's not a coincidence that Omar Khayyam, rebuking and ridiculing the stone-faced Iranian mullahs of his time, pointed to the value of the grape as a mockery of their joyless and sterile regime. Visiting today's Iran, I was delighted to find that citizens made a point of defying the clerical ban on booze, keeping it in their homes for visitors even if they didn't particularly take to it themselves, and bootlegging it with great brio and ingenuity. These small revolutions affirm the human."
"Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave in to endless requests to have "essential" and "long overdue" meetings on those days. The funny thing is that, although writing has been my actual job for several years now, I still seem to have to fight for time in which to do it. Some people do not seem to grasp that I still have to sit down in peace and write the books, apparently believing that they pop up like mushrooms without my connivance. I must therefore guard the time allotted to writing as a Hungarian Horntail guards its firstborn egg."
"Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave in to endless requests to have "essential" and "long overdue" meetings on those days. The funny thing is that, although writing has been my actual job for several years now, I still seem to have to fight for time in which to do it. Some people do not seem to grasp that I still have to sit down in peace and write the books, apparently believing that they pop up like mushrooms without my connivance. I must therefore guard the time allotted to writing as a Hungarian Horntail guards its firstborn egg."
"Because this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer, is ultimately about asking yourself, How alive am I willing to be?"
"Alcohol makes other people less tedious, and food less bland, and can help provide what the Greeks called entheos, or the slight buzz of inspiration when reading or writing. The only worthwhile miracle in the New Testament—the transmutation of water into wine during the wedding at Cana—is a tribute to the persistence of Hellenism in an otherwise austere Judaea. The same applies to the seder at Passover, which is obviously modeled on the Platonic symposium: questions are asked (especially of the young) while wine is circulated. No better form of sodality has ever been devised: at Oxford one was positively expected to take wine during tutorials. The tongue must be untied. It's not a coincidence that Omar Khayyam, rebuking and ridiculing the stone-faced Iranian mullahs of his time, pointed to the value of the grape as a mockery of their joyless and sterile regime. Visiting today's Iran, I was delighted to find that citizens made a point of defying the clerical ban on booze, keeping it in their homes for visitors even if they didn't particularly take to it themselves, and bootlegging it with great brio and ingenuity. These small revolutions affirm the human."
"Autobiography begins with a sense of being alone. It is an orphan form."
"I am writing you from inside a body that used to be yours. Which is to say, I am writing as a son."
"Remember that you own what happened to you. If your childhood was less than ideal, you may have been raised thinking that if you told the truth about what really went on in your family, a long bony white finger would emerge from a cloud and point to you, while a chilling voice thundered, "We *told* you not to tell." But that was then. Just put down on paper everything you can remember now about your parents and siblings and relatives and neighbors, and we will deal with libel later on."
"Writing has nothing to do with meaning. It has to do with landsurveying and cartography, including the mapping of countries yet to come."
"Child, to say the very thing you really mean, the whole of it, nothing more or less or other than what you really mean; that's the whole art and joy of words."
"Because this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer, is ultimately about asking yourself, How alive am I willing to be?"
"A tamed woman will never leave her mark in the world."
"A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it."
"Therefore I would ask you to write all kinds of books, hesitating at no subject however trivial or however vast. By hook or by crook, I hope that you will possess yourselves of money enough to travel and to idle, to contemplate the future or the past of the world, to dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream."
"In the beginning was the Word. Then came the fucking word processor. Then came the thought processor. Then came the death of literature. And so it goes."
"Writing is thinking. To write well is to think clearly. That's why it's so hard."
"I never desire to converse with a man who has written more than he has read."
"Autobiography begins with a sense of being alone. It is an orphan form."
"A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it."
"I like to write when I feel spiteful. It is like having a good sneeze."(Letter to Cynthia Asquith, November 1913)"
"Writing has nothing to do with meaning. It has to do with landsurveying and cartography, including the mapping of countries yet to come."
"You're miserable, edgy and tired. You're in the perfect mood for journalism."
"Therefore I would ask you to write all kinds of books, hesitating at no subject however trivial or however vast. By hook or by crook, I hope that you will possess yourselves of money enough to travel and to idle, to contemplate the future or the past of the world, to dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream."
"The author must keep his mouth shut when his work starts to speak."
"Do you suffer when you write? I don't at all. Suffer like a bastard when don't write, or just before, and feel empty and fucked out afterwards. But never feel as good as while writing."

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