I had known loneliness before, and emptiness upon the moor, but I had never been a NOTHING, a nothing floating on a nothing, known by nothing, lonelier and colder than the space between the stars. It was more frightening than being dead.
To know you will be lonely is not the same as being lonely.
People do not love those whose eyes show that they are somewhere else
I'm interested in where we are, where we're going, where we've come from.
The declared meaning of a spoken sentence is only its overcoat, and the real meaning lies underneath its scarves and buttons.
I'm always the one with the activist friends. I've been an activist very little.
I think that thing about the destruction of the world is there all the time, it's there every day when we look out the window.
Good writing of course requires talent, and no one can teach you to have talent.
If you ever read one of my books I hope you'll think it looks so easy. In fact, I wrote those chapters 20 times over, and over, and over, and that if you want to write at a good level, you'll have to do that too.
At the very end of a book I can manage to work for longer stretches, but mostly, making stuff up for three hours, that's enough. I can't do any more. At the end of the day I might tinker with my morning's work and maybe write some again. But I think three hours is fine.
I don't separate my books into historical novels and the rest. To me, they're all made-up worlds, and both kinds are borne out of curiosity, some investigation into the past.
I don't think you have the right to shout about other people's private life.
I think it's really boring, from the point of view of the novelist, to write about yourself. Tedious. But that's very hard to explain to people who really don't believe in the possibility of invention.
And it's always possible that you will not get a nice review. So - and that's enraging of course, to get a bad review, you can't talk back, and it's sort of shaming in a way.
Then I fell in love and everything went to hell.
Living where I live New York I don't think anyone's going to make a fuss. But it is more deeply satisfying because it's of your place and means that you aren't forgotten; someone's noticed what you have been doing with your life.
Being famous as a writer is like being famous in a village. It's not really any very heady fame.
I did not know that history is like a blood stain that keeps on showing on the wall no matter how many new owners take possession, no matter how many times we pint over it.
Swimming always cleans your soul
All our heroes, all our great stories are about failure.
So in the first draft, I'm inventing people and place with a broad schematic idea of what's going to happen. In the process, of course, I discover all sorts of bigger and more substantial things.
It's like standing on the edge of a cliff. This is especially true of the first draft. Every day you're making up the earth you're going to stand on.
I don't need new boots I got bluchers back down home. Eff the effing bluchers I'll buy you new adjectival effing elastic sided boots.
The great thing about using the past is that it gives you the most colossal freedom to invent. The research is necessary, of course, but no one writes a novel to dramatically illustrate what everybody already knows.
What I find really attractive is something that's going to be a little dangerous. Something that might get me into trouble; you know, you turn up in London and you've just rewritten Dickens. And, of course, then you think, 'What have I done?
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