Quotes

Some quotes from writers that tend to either inspire or cheer me up:

‘It took me a while to see that [there] isn’t a question of discovering your voice but of seeing that you have a voice already just as you have a personality, and that if you continue to write you have no choice but to speak, write, and live in it. What you have to do, in a sense, is take possession of yourself. The human being and the writer are the same.’
Hanif Kureishi

‘Literature is concerned with the self-conscious exploration of the lives of men, women and children in society. Even when it is comic, it sees life as something worth talking about. This is why airport fiction, or ‘blockbusters’, books which are all plot, can never be considered literature, and why, in the end, they are of little value. It is not only that the language in which they are written lacks bounce and poignancy, but that they don’t return the reader to the multifariousness and complication of existence… In literature personality is all, and the exploration of character – or portraiture, the human subject – is central to it.’
Hanif Kureishi

‘Despite how many people there are, our voices are rarely so similar that someone would confuse you for someone else. That’s just how a voice in writing is—it’s clearly you.’
Christopher Meeks

‘What is written without effort is in generally read without pleasure.’
Samuel Johnson

‘I turn sentences around. That’s my life. I write a sentence and then I turn it around. Then I look at it and I turn it around again. Then I have lunch. Then I come back in and write another sentence. Then I have tea and turn the new sentence around. Then I read the two sentences over and turn them both around. Then I lie down on my sofa and think. Then I get up and throw them out and start from the beginning.’
Philip Roth

‘Writing is the hardest work in the world. I have been a bricklayer and a truck driver, and I tell you — as if you haven’t been told a million times already – that writing is harder. Lonelier. And nobler and more enriching.’
Harlan Ellison

‘Writers are people who never stop being puzzled, in the way that small children are, about what’s going on about them … children are growing up into a world where no-one really explains anything to them. They can only make sense of  things by looking close and trying to work out what’s going on.  And I think most people seem after a certain time to decide they know how it all works. Writers are people who, really till the end of their days, never know how it works. Everything is a puzzle to them.’
David Malouf

‘Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader–not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.’
E.L. Doctorow

‘There are significant moments in everyone’s day that can make literature. That’s what you ought to write about.’
Raymond Carver

‘If you’re a singer, you lose your voice. A baseball player loses his arm. A writer gets more knowledge, and if he’s good, the older he gets, the better he writes.’
Mickey Spillane

Finally, my own credo:
GOOD WRITING IS WRITING THAT HAS A SENSE OF URGENCY ABOUT IT AND RENDERS THE FAMILIAR AS STRANGE