Writers remember everything. Especially the hurts. Strip a writer to the buff, point to the scars, and he’ll tell you the story of each small one. From the big ones you get novels, not amnesia. A little talent is a nice thing to have if you want to be a writer, but the only real requirement is that ability to remember the story of every scar.[to Paul]
Writers aren’t people exactly. Or, if they’re any good, they’re a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person. It’s like actors, who try so pathetically not to look in mirrors. Who lean backward trying — only to see their faces in the reflecting chandeliers.
They know a million tricks, those novelists. Take Doctor Goebbels; that’s how he started out, writing fiction. Appeals to the base lusts that hide in everyone no matter how respectable on the surface. Yes, the novelist knows humanity, how worthless they are, ruled by their testicles, swayed by cowardice, selling out every cause because of their greed – all he’s got to do is thump on the drum, and there’s his response. And he laughing, of course, behind his hand at the effect he gets.
A good novelist does not lead his characters, he follows them. A good novelist does not create events, he watches them happen and then writes down what he sees. A good novelist realizes he is a secretary, not God.
When a man becomes a writer, I think he takes on a sacred obligation to produce beauty and enlightenment and comfort at top speed.
The writer’s joy is the thought that can become emotion, the emotion that can wholly become a thought.
The public takes from a writer, or a writing, what it needs and lets the remainder go. but what they take is usually what they need least and what they let go is what they need most.
The great novelists are philosophical novelists – that is, the contrary of thesis-writers.[Les grands romanciers sont des romanciers philosophes, c’est-à-dire le contraire d’écrivains à thèse.]