There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.
The history of a city was like the history of a family – there is closeness, and even affection, but death eventually separates everyone from each other. It is only the vividness of memory that keeps the dead alive forever; a writer’s job is to imagine everything so personally that the fiction is as vivid as our personal memories.
Plots come to me at such odd moments: when I am walking along a street, or examining a hat-shop with particular interest, suddenly a splendid idea comes into my head.
Perhaps the pleasure one feels in writing it is not the infallible test of the literary value of a page; perhaps it is only a secondary state which is often superadded, but the want of which can have no prejudicial effect on it. Perhaps some of the greatest masterpieces were written while yawning.[Peut-être le plaisir qu’on a eu à l’écrire n’est-il pas le critérium infaillible de la valeur d’une belle page ; peut-être n’est-il qu’un état accessoire qui s’y surajoute souvent, mais dont le défaut ne peut préjuger contre elle. Peut-être certains chefs-d’oeuvre ont-ils été composés en bâillant.]
Of all that is written, I love only what a person has written with his blood. Write with blood, and thou wilt find that blood is spirit.
Nothing turns out quite in the way you thought it would when you are sketching out notes for the first chapter, or walking about muttering to yourself and seeing a story unroll.
Nothing is as surprising as life. Except for writing. Except for writing. Yes, of course, except for writing, the only consolation.
My belief is that if we live another century or so—I am talking of the common life which is the real life and not of the little separate lives which we live as individuals—and have five hundred a year each of us and rooms of our own; if we have the habit of freedom and the courage to write exactly what we think.