JLF: writers, voices of

Martin Amis on writing about sex:

“It’s impossible to write autobiographically about sex. What voice can you use: ‘Bravo, I took her again in the morning?’”

and on writing:

“To accuse a novelist of egotism is like accusing a boxer of violence.”
“But writing is not a collaborative art. A writer comes most alive when they are alone.”
“If life is a foot, fiction is a shoe.”

Junot Diaz in an earlier interview on writing for applause:

“And I spent ten years writing Oscar Wao, and I definitely didn’t spend the ten years being like, “I’m amazing! This has taken ten years, because this much genius requires a decade!” [laughter] I spent the whole time, you know, fucked up, unhappy, really miserable and convinced that I’d ruined the whole thing, and all the stuff you get when you spend a really long time lost in the desert. I think more than anything, my basic lesson as an artist has been humility. So when I get a bunch of stuff, like “Do you want to come to this thing, do you want to come to that thing?” I say to myself “Do I want to go to this because I want applause? Do I want applause to make up for the fact that my mommy never held me enough? Or is this something where I feel I can be of service, is this an event where I can be of service?” That’s the way I choose.”

And at the JLF on applause:

“Most books look for applause, a reinforcement of current day ideas. Books are a work of art. They should look to add something, not seek applause. Otherwise it is the society asking us to do the monkey dance so that they can clap. And sadly most seem to be dancing.”

Richard Ford on reading:

“I just read. I don’t work with such distinctions of culture. When I read an Indian novel in English, I think I am reading a novel. I don’t think that I have to put on my Indian hat, because this is going to be a book by Indians about Indians. When I read, I try to make sense of the work in terms of a system of values that I understand. The idea is to be comfortable with things that I don’t understand.”

Nam Le on being marginalized:

“One thing I like about the literary world, there are enough hurt feelings to go around. I imagine that even as we speak, there is a white, male, middle-aged writer sitting in Brooklyn complaining about being sidelined by foreign exotica.”

Orhan Pamuk on “Turkish love”:

“When I write about love, the critics in the US and Britain say that this Turkish writer writes very interesting things about Turkish love. Why can”t love be general? I am always resentful and angry of this attempt to narrow me and my capacity to experience this humanity. When non-Western authors express this humanity through their work their humanity is reduced to their nation”s humanity.”





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