People forget years and remember moments.
Because I don’t work with an outline, writing a story is like crossing a stream, now I’m on this rock, now I’m on this rock, now I’m on this rock.
Clichés so often befall vain people.
I don't even correct people when they mispronounce my name now.
I don't write about things that I have the answers to or things that are very close to home. It just wouldn't be any adventure. It wouldn't have any vitality.
There is some reason, obviously, that you are drawn to your material, but the way in which you explore it might come to be quite different from what you would expect.
Nobody can assume that, to a writer, everything is off-limits.
Clouds are poems, and the most moving poems linger on the blackboard so long, written in cursive so lovely, they also exist inside our fingertips. We never really erase them at the end of the lesson.
I think I write about things that are mysterious to me.
Whatever one intends, the work takes on a life of its own.
I like a lot of Margaret Atwood, I like much of Alice Munro. Again, if you were to ask me about male writers, there's often a novel I admire, but not all of their works.
It seems to me that the problem with diaries, and the reason that most of them are so boring, is that every day we vacillate between examining our hangnails and speculating on cosmic order.
You have to figure out who the right person is to tell the story. And often, people who are very self-aware will only sound as if they are pontificating if they tell the story.
I must say also that it's never worked to my disadvantage that I have long, blond hair.
It's often been said that I'm an extremely depressing, cynical writer. I've never known what to make of that.
When I lived in New York, not only did I have safety locks on the door but I had the music going, keeping the city at a distance, trying to find creative time and peace and so forth.
It's not about having things figured out, or about communicating with other people, trying to make them understand what you understand. It's about a chicken dinner at a drive-in. A soft pillow. Things that don't need explaining.
Italics provide a wonderful advantage: you see, right away, that the words are in a rush. When something exists at a slant, you can't help but consider irony.
I am not alone in bearing grudges against reviewers who have doomed a book's chances because they've missed the point, the tone, everything....
The admiration of another writer’s work is almost in inverse proportion to similarities in style.
Women are obviously much more discriminated against than men in many ways.
Any life will seem dramatic if you omit mention of most of it.
You put a character out there and you're in their power. You're in trouble if they're in yours.
What will happen can't be stopped. Aim for Grace.
When I was teaching at Harvard in the 1970s, I went to Project Incorporated in Cambridge and took photography classes. I didn't even know how to aim the camera in those days.
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