The ancient commission of the writer has not changed. He is charged with exposing our many grievous faults and failures, with dredging up to the light our dark and dangerous dreams for the purpose of improvement.
I hold that a writer who does not passionately believe in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor any membership in literature.
When the first-rate author wants an exquisite heroine or a lovely morning, he finds that all the superlatives have been worn shoddy by his inferiors. It should be a rule that bad writers must start with plain heroines and ordinary mornings, and, if they are able, work up to something better.
What shouldn’t you do if you’re a young playwright? Don’t bore the audience! I mean, even if you have to resort to totally arbitrary killing on stage, or pointless gunfire, at least it’ll catch their attention and keep them awake. Just keep the thing going any way you can.
To finish is sadness to a writer—a little death. He puts the last word down and it is done. But it isn’t really done. The story goes on and leaves the writer behind, for no story is ever done.
There are writers who are great visionaries, who can depict huge movements – things like that. They’re the great writers. I’m just the other kind.
The writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world. And he must hold to this illusion even when he knows it is not true.
The writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man’s proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit — for gallantry in defeat — for courage, compassion and love. In the endless war against weakness and despair, these are the bright rally-flags of hope and of emulation.