Posts Tagged ‘quotes’
November 26, 2013 | by Sadie Stein
No, a mystical experience would be wasted on me. Ordinary things have always seemed numinous to me. One Calvinist notion deeply implanted in me is that there are two sides to your encounter with the world. You don’t simply perceive something that is statically present, but in fact there is a visionary quality to all experience. It means something because it is addressed to you. This is the individualism that you find in Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson. You can draw from perception the same way a mystic would draw from a vision.
How would one learn to see ordinary things this way?
It’s not an acquired skill. It’s a skill that we’re born with that we lose. We learn not to do it.
—Marilynne Robinson, the Art of Fiction No. 198
November 19, 2013 | by Sadie Stein
“There’s no method. There’s no formula. If you really proceed a sentence at a time, if you pay attention to the sentence you just wrote and look to it for the clue for what to do to the next sentence, you can inch your way along to what may be a story. This wouldn’t have occurred to me starting out, for example, when I thought you wrote one sentence, then just looked out to the world trying to snag the next one. That’s not how it works. You look back at what you gave yourself to work with. Sharon Olds said something beautiful about sometimes thinking of her poems as instructions for how to put the world back together if it were destroyed.” —Amy Hempel, the Art of Fiction No. 176
November 18, 2013 | by Sadie Stein
Do you have any things you would have done differently, or any advice to give?
Advice I don’t go in for. The thing is, you do not believe I know everything in this field is a cliché, everything’s already been said, but you just do not believe that you’re going to be old. People don’t realize how quickly they’re going to be old, either. Time goes very fast.
—Doris Lessing, the Art of Fiction No. 102
November 15, 2013 | by Sadie Stein
“Some of the first books I read or that my father read to me were translations, although I didn’t know they were translations because in those days the translator often wouldn’t even have his name on the book. I remember a French book, Sans famille, called in English Nobody’s Boy, which my father read to me when I was four or five. It was about a little orphan boy who runs away from the orphanage and goes off with an Italian organ-grinder who has a pet monkey and a lot of stray dogs, all of them with names. Since I came from a large family with all these older brothers and sisters, the dream of my life was to be an orphan, so I thought, Oh, this lucky kid. He’s an orphan, and he gets to wander the roads with all these animals and this nice Italian. I thought it a great happy book, but you were supposed to be dissolved in tears from beginning to end. My father understood perfectly.” —William Weaver, the Art of Translation No. 3
October 31, 2013 | by Sadie Stein
“I told a story a month ago, for Halloween, about the terrible pranks that were played in Lake Wobegon just before I came along that I never got to participate in. Things such as pushing over an outhouse when some sterling citizen was in it, tipping it forwards so it fell on the door and the poor man had to crawl out the hole. I never did this. It existed for me only in my uncle’s stories, but the stories were severely edited. So I had to reconstruct what happened when an outhouse was tipped, how it must have felt to the man inside and what a pleasure it must have been to the tipper.” —Garrison Keillor, the Art of Humor No. 2
October 28, 2013 | by Sadie Stein
Whom do you read for pleasure?
Anthony Powell. Ronald Knox, both for pleasure and moral edification. Erle Stanley Gardner.
And Raymond Chandler!
No. I’m bored by all those slugs of whiskey. I don’t care for all the violence either.
But isn’t there a lot of violence in Gardner?
Not of the extraneous lubricious sort you find in other American crime writers.
What do you think of other American writers, of Scott Fitzgerald or William Faulkner, for example?
I enjoyed the first part of Tender Is the Night. I find Faulkner intolerably bad.
—Evelyn Waugh, the Art of Fiction No. 30