Quote of the Day
I write from real life. I am an unrepentant eavesdropper and a collector of stories. I record bits of overheard dialogue.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A style is the consequence of recurrent habits, restraints, or rules invented or inherited, written or overheard, intuitive or preconceived.
I often think about how my sons will come to know about September 11th. Something overheard? A newspaper image? In school? I would prefer that they learn about it from my wife and me, in a deliberate and safe way. But it's hard to imagine ever feeling ready to broach the subject without some impetus.
Jonathan Safran Foer
I'm actually a very lazy person. Most of the time, I'm happy to sit around and stare. Or watch bad TV soaps. It's quite rare for me to get inspired by anything, but it could be something small. A view of the Serpentine. A snatch of music. Or a little shred of conversation overheard on a bus, such as, 'You also will marry someone of my choice.'
One day, the infielders were having a pretty bad time and were making some bad throws to me at first base. After digging a few out of the dirt, Joe Orengo called over to me, 'Atta boy, John, you look like a big cat.' Some of the writers overheard the remark and asked Joe about it later. The nickname has stuck with me ever since.
You can throw a novel into focus with one overheard line.
For many years, I thought a poem was a whisper overheard, not an aria heard.
I was a bartender in New York and I overheard this girl saying she made $3000 doing a commercial. A kid at work told me, 'Hey, I know this director and he'd really like you!'. So I walked into this guy's office and was like 'I was thinking maybe I could make $3000' and he hired me for commercials, short films, like 15 jobs in a row.
As a young boy I won a few dollars in 1972 when Riva Ridge won the Kentucky Derby. I had overheard someone say he was going to win, and I guess that made an impression on me.
Much of what happens in Love Always is really from overheard conversations in the Russian Tea Room. It's an improvisation of the way certain Hollywood agents think and talk to each other.
When I was young, I overheard a Brit say Canada wasn't a real country because it doesn't have any poets. Even then, I kind of knew that was wrong, but I still thought, 'Wow, here's my chance to do something, to be of service to my country.'
Obviously any fiction is going to be a combination of what is invented, what is overheard, what is experienced, what is experienced by people close to you, what you are told, what you have read, all mixed together into this kind of soup which, like any good soup, at the end you cannot really distinguish the ingredients.
I overheard things in the Woolworths when I was a child, people saying, 'Oh, poor, little thing,' as if they had some understanding that I was being born biracial into a world that was still very difficult for interracial marriages and biracial children.
The characters in my stories all have quite loud lives in my head. It's a relief to get them on the page. Often they come from people I've noticed or overheard - but that is only a part of them. It's only by writing that I discover who these people really are.
Actors should be overheard, not listened to, and the audience is 50 percent of the performance.
One day, when my son was eight, he came into the kitchen while I was cooking and said: 'You put bad words in your books, don't you?' No doubt he had overheard my mother, who often tells people who ask about my work: 'Well, you'll never find her books in the Christian bookstore.'
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