American Novelist, Short-Story Writer
American Novelist, Short-Story Writer
Certainly friendship has proved a magnet to literature, an everlasting magnet. History, poetry, drama, letters have been drawn to the subject of friendship, not simply to celebrate it but to discover, perceive, learn from it the nature of ourselves, of humankind, the relationships we share in our world.
Did friendship between human beings come about in the first place along with ? or through ? the inspiration of language? It can be safe to say that when we learned to speak to, and listen to, rather than to strike or be struck by, our fellow human beings, we found something worth keeping alive, worth processing, for the rest of time. Might it possibly have been the other way round ? that the promptings of friendship guided us into learning to express ourselves, teaching ourselves, between us, a language to keep it by? Friendship might have been the first, as well as the best, teacher of communication. Which came first, friendship or the spoken word? They could rise from the same prompting: to draw together, not to pull away, not to threaten any longer.
Friendship is inherently a magnet. As with its own drawing power, it locates and draws to the surface, spreads before our eyes poems, stories, essays, letters, in the widest variety.
Friendship and love ? know each other and avail themselves of each other. The solidest friendship is that of friends who love one another.
Friendship has inherited its literary treasury; it lies in the language? And in that treasury?s further stories of pure gold are the works of the imagination, some old as time, some coined only yesterday.
Friendship lives, as do we ourselves, in an ephemeral world. How much its life depends on the written word. The English language itself is friendship?s greatest treasure?. Do we not owefriendship, as we owe Shakespeare, to language?
Fantasy is no good unless the seed it springs from is a truth, a truth about human beings.
I cannot remember a time when I was not in love with them--with the books themselves, cover and binding and the paper they were printed on, with their smell and their weight and with their possession in my arms, captured and carried off to myself.
Just now they kissed, with India coming up close on her toes to see if she could tell yet what there was about a kiss.
Since we must and do write each our own way, we may during actual writing get more lasting instruction not from another's work, whatever its blessings, however better it is than ours, but from our own poor scratched-over pages. For these we can hold up to life. That is, we are born with a mind and heart to hold each page up to, and to ask: is it valid?
Writing is an expression of the writer's own peculiar personality, could not help being so. Yet in reading great works one feels that the finished piece transcends the personal. All writers great and small must sometimes have felt that they have become part of what they wrote even more than it still remains a part of them.
Fiction shows us the past as well as the present moment in mortal light; it is an art served by the indelibility of our memory, and one empowered by a sharp and prophetic awareness of what is ephemeral. It is by the ephemeral that our feeling is so strongly aroused for what endures, or strives to endure.
I donÂ’t think we often see life resolving itself, not in any sort of perfect way, but I like the fiction writerÂ’s feeling of being able to confront an experience and resolve it as art, however imperfectly and brieflyÂ—to give it a form and try to embody itÂ—to hold it and express it in a storyÂ’s terms.
Laurel could not see her face but only the back of her neck, the most vulnerable part of anybody, and she thought: Is there any sleeping person you can be entirely sure you have not misjudged?
Southerners love a good tale. They are born reciters, great memory retainers, diary keepers, letter exchangers . . . great talkers.
ThereÂ’s still a strange moment with every book when I move from the position of writer to the position of reader, and I suddenly see my words with the eyes of the cold public. It gives me a terrible sense of exposure, as if IÂ’d gotten sunburned.
Yet regardless of where they come from, I cannot remember a time when I was not in love with them - with the books themselves, cover and binding and the paper they were printed on, with their smell and their weight and with their possession in my arms, captured and carried off to myself. ...I was ready for them, committed to all the reading I could give them...
For all I know, writing comes out of a superior devotion to reading.
I don't know whether I could do either one, reading or writing, without the other
Long before I wrote stories, I listened for stories. Listening for them is something more acute than listening to them. I suppose it's an early form of participation in what goes on. Listening children know stories are there. When their elders sit and begin, children are just waiting and hoping for one to come out, like a mouse from its hole.
Suppose you meet me in the woods.
Through travel I first became aware of the outside world; it was through travel that I found my own introspective way into becoming a part of it.
A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within.