"A writer is someone who spends years patiently trying to discover the second being inside him, and the world that makes him who he is: when I speak of writing, what comes first to my mind is not a novel, a poem, or literary tradition, it is a person who shuts himself up in a room, sits down at a table, and alone, turns inward; amid its shadows, he builds a new world with words."
— Orhan Pamuk (via pavorst)
"After I finished The Book of Daniel, I was profoundly, emotionally exhausted. But I didn’t know it. I sat around for a year trying to write. I wrote endless pages that didn’t take me anywhere. I got so desperate that I started to write about the wall that I face when I write. As it happened, that was the wall in my study in New Rochelle, New York. That house was built in 1906. So I started to think about that house and that street and what it must have looked like in 1906. Out of that emerged Ragtime."
— E.L. Doctrorow
"Joyce met Proust once at a literary dinner, and Proust asked Joyce did he like truffles, and Joyce said yes, he did, and I know Joyce was very amused afterwards. He said, ‘Here the two greatest literary figures of our time meet, and they ask each other if they like truffles."
— Arthur Power in W.R. Rodgers’ Irish Literary Portraits
"After you finish (writing a book) you are intensely depressed. It doesn’t much matter whether the reviews are good or not. You feel empty, a field lying fallow, and you must let it stay fallow for a while. You love a book when it’s being written. You are so close to it. You are the only person who knows it and it’s still full of potential… Then, suddenly, there’s the dreadful day when you have the printed proof texts… It’s a feeling of death, really."
— John Fowles, Author
"You are subjecting yourself to tough things as a writer. It erodes a person. That’s why the casualty rate is so high. You fear the exhaustion of your reserve, the collapse of your ambition, involuntary retirement by your readers. The psychic drain is enormous."
— Leon Uris, author
"…I believe that a writer has an adversary relationship with his publisher… If someone has applied himself to an art for 15 or 20 years and they’ve gotten good at it, and they’re expected to do something else to support themselves while the industry that sells this craft supports itself very well, something is badly wrong. Morally wrong."
— John Irving, author
"Writing is pure pain… Someone made a study, discovered most writers had been lonely youngsters. With no one to talk to, they learned to communicate in the written language. Believe me, if there were any other way to get rid of my thoughts, I’d do it."
— William Manchester, author
"I remember that I did not always know authors were ordinary people living ordinary lives, and that an ordinary life was an obscure life, if we can extend the meaning of obscure to mean covered up by dailiness, glorious dailiness, shameful dailiness, dailiness that is difficult to figure out, that is not always clear until a long time afterward. Obscure: not readily noticed, easily understood, or clearly expressed. Which is a pretty good definition of life."
— Mary Ruefle, with thanks to Whiskey River. (via crashinglybeautiful)
"So, never be afraid. Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion, against injustice and lying and greed. If you, not just you in this room tonight, but in all the thousands of other rooms like this one about the world today and tomorrow and next week, will do this, not as a class or classes, but as individuals, men and women, you will change the earth."
— William Faulkner, Address to the Graduating Class of University High School, Oxford, Mississippi, 1951