I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not.
One always writes comedy at the moment of deepest hysteria.
That element of surprise is what I look for when I am writing. It is my way of judging what I am doing - which is never an easy thing to do.
If writers just sit and talk about oppression, they are not going to do much writing.
Great writing can be done in biography, history, art.
Whatever extra there is in me at any given moment isn't fully formed. I am hardly aware of it; it awaits the next book. It will - with luck - come to me during the actual writing, and it will take me by surprise
Many writers tend to write summing-up books at the end of their lives.
If you write a novel alone you sit and you weave a little narrative. And it's O.K., but it's of no account.
Writing has to support itself.
My grief is that the publishing world, the book writing world is an extraordinary shoddy, dirty, dingy world.
I wish my prose to be transparentI don't want the reader to stumble over me; I want him to look through what I'm saying to what I'm describing. I don't want him ever to say, Oh, goodness, how nicely written this is. That would be a failure.
When I learnt to write I became my own master, I became very strong, and that strength is with me to this very day.
Whenever I have had to write fiction, I've always had to invent a character who roughly has my background.
The reason is that they define how I have gone about my business. I have trusted to intuition. I did it at the beginning. I do it even now. I have no idea how things might turn out, where in my writing I might go next.
All the details of the life and the quirks and the friendships can be laid out for us, but the mystery of the writing will remain. No amount of documentation, however fascinating, can take us there.
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