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Don’t you know all writers ever talk about is their troubles? Coleridge was a drug addict. Poe was an alcoholic. Marlowe was stabbed by a man he was treacherously trying to stab. Chatteron killed himself. Byron was accused of incest. Anyone who conceives of writing as an agreeable stroll towards a middle-class life style will never write anything but crap. The purpose of writing is to make your mother and father drop dead with shame.


Never complain of being misunderstood. You can choose to be understood, or you can choose not to. Writing is work. It's also gambling. Technique alone is never enough. Be without fear. Too much fear and all you'll get is silence.


You have to have passion. To hell with facts! It doesn't matter how "real" your story is, or how "made up": what matters is its necessity. We tell stories in order to live.


The thing that’s important to me is that you never know. You’re always sort of feeling your way. There is no truth. There is only perception. Stare. It is the only way to educate your eye. And if there are no jobs at the end of it, that’s not necessarily a reason not to do it.




Sources (in order of appearance): Sylvia Beach, Bennett Cerf, Derek Raymond, J.P. Donleavy, David Hare, Margaret Atwood, Raymond Chandler, Ken Kesey, Anne Enright, Joan Didion, Diane Arbus, Gustave Flaubert, Walker Evans, and Sue Shaw.


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