Writer's Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 155 quotes )
The whole point about vision is that it's very individual, it's very personal, and it has to be confessional. It has to be something which hurts - the pulling out of it and putting it on the page hurts. Art can be about the individual writer's response to his or her condition, and if that response comes out of a predigested belief about what the audience wants to hear about the writer's condition, then it has no truth, it has no validity. You either write with your own blood or nobody's. Otherwise it's just ink.
As a writer you slant all evidence in favor of the conclusions you want to produce and you rarely tilt in favor of the truth. ...This is what a writer does: his life is a maelstrom of lying. Embellishment is his focal point. This is what we do to please others. This is what we do in order to flee ourselves. A writer's physical life is basically one of stasis, and to combat this constraint, an opposite world and another self have to be constructed daily. ...the half world of a writer's life encourages pain and drama, and defeat is good for art: if it was day we made it night, if it was love we made it hate, serenity becomes chaos, kindness became viciousness, God became the devil, a daugher became a whore. I had been inordinately rewarded for participating in this process, and lying often leaked from my writing life--an enclosed sphere of consciousness, a place suspended outside of time, where the untruths flowed onto the whiteness of a blank screen--into the part of me that was tactile and alive.
As more and more norms disappear from social praxis, literature faces ever-growing difficulties. Its predicament is beginning to resemble that of a child who has discovered that his incredibly understanding parents will let him break with impunity all his toys, indeed everything in the house. The artist cannot create specific prohibitions for himself in order to attack them later in his work; the prohibitions must be real, and hence independent of the writer's choices. And since the relativization of cultural norms has not so far been able to disturb the given characteristics of human biology, that is where writers today seek the still perceptible points of resistance--which is why literature is preoccupied with the theme of sex.
This was the writer's true doppelgnger, I thought; not some invisible imp of the perverse who watched you from the shadows, periodically appearing, dressed in your clothes and carrying your house keys, to set fire to your life; but rather the typical protagonist of your work -- Roderick Usher, Eric Waldensee, Francis Macomber, Dick Diver -- whose narratives at first reflected but in time came to determine your life's very course.
What is reading, in the last analysis, but an interchange of thought between writer and reader? If the book enters the reader's mind just as it left the writer's -- without any of the additions and modifications inevitably produced by contact with a new body of thought -- it has been read to no purpose.
Writers don't often say anything that readers don't already know, unless its a news story. A writer's greatest pleasure is revealing to people things they knew but did not know they knew. Or did not realize everyone else knew, too. This produces a warm sense of fellow feeling and is the best a writer can do.
In its silence, a book is a challenge: it can't lull you with surging music or deafen you with screeching laugh tracks or fire gunshots in your living room; you have to listen to it in your head. A book won't move your eyes for you the way images on a screen do. It won't move your mind unless you give it your mind, or your heart unless you put your heart in it ... To read a story well is to follow it, to act it, to feel it, to become it--everything short of writing it, in fact. Reading is not interactive with a set of rules or options, as games are; reading is actual collaboration with the writer's mind. No wonder not everyone is up to it.
We write to expose the unexposed. Most human beings are dedicated to keeping that one door shut. But the writer's job is to see what's behind it, to see the bleak unspeakable stuff, and to turn the unspeakable into words - not just into any words but if we can, into rhythm and blues. You can't do this without discovering your own true voice, and you can't find your true voice and peer behind the door and report honestly and clearly to us if your parents are reading over your shoulder.
The scene is a writer's study, shabby, drafty but tax-deductible. The writer is reading the last hundred pages of his work in progress. For the past fifty or so, a kind of slow terror has been rising in his breast. All these pages had seemed necessary. They contain many good things. Ironies. Insights. And yet they seem to have a certain ineffable unsatisfactoriness. There is a word to describe this quality, the writer thinks, a horrible word. The B word. He begins to strike his forehead with a sweaty palm.
A writer's work has to take account of many rhythms: Vulcan's and Mercury's, a message of urgency obtained by dint of patient and meticulous adjustments and an intuition so instantaneous that, when formulated, it acquires the finality of something that could never have been otherwise. But it is also the rhythm of time that passes with no other aim than to let feelings and thoughts settle down, mature, and shed all impatience or ephemeral contingency.