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When I was 17, I worked in a mentoring program in Harlem designed to improve the community. That's when I first gained an appreciation of the Harlem Renaissance, a time when African-Americans rose to prominence in American culture. For the first time, they were taken seriously as artists, musicians, writers, athletes, and as political thinkers.
The writer isn't made in a vacuum. Writers are witnesses. The reason we need writers is because we need witnesses to this terrifying century.
E. L. Doctorow
Human nature is not amenable to prediction based on the trends or tendencies prevailing at the time. It is amenable to startling creativity of the kind practiced by great artists, directors, writers, musicians, actors, who know how to touch a chord in humans everywhere.
It is unfortunate that so much of the history of Africa has been written by conquerors, foreigners, missionaries and adventurers. The Egyptians left the best record of their history written by local writers.
John Henrik Clarke
Since the founding of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other mainstays of what technology writers have come to call 'the social Web' or 'Web 2.0,' a sizable portion of humanity has learned to be together while apart, sacrificing intimacy for control and spontaneity for predictability.
Originality is nothing but judicious imitation. The most original writers borrowed one from another.
Everywhere I go, I'm asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a best seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.
What I take from writers I like is their economy - the ability to use language to very effective ends. The ability to have somebody read something and see it, or for somebody to paint an entire landscape of visual imagery with just sheets of words - that's magical.
Fact-checking doesn't exist primarily because some of us are liars and cheats. It exists because writers will be writers, much as they may mean to be historians.
Why would a lazy guy become a parent of five? Then again, why would creative people who inherently don't like change and criticism become writers, actors, or comedians? There's something about this process. I joke about it: My kids have made me a better person, and I only need, like, 34 more of them to be a really good guy.
Writers may be disreputable, incorrigible, early to decay or late to bloom but they dare to go it alone.
In truth, even if they have an imperfect insight into their own methods, I still slightly mistrust writers of fiction who are assured literary critics; it makes me suspect that they favour the word over the world it should describe. Such scribes fall victim too easily to the solecism of equating style with morality.
I was a pretty good fighter. But it was the writers who made me great.
Manners are of such great consequence to the novelist that any kind will do. Bad manners are better than no manners at all, and because we are losing our customary manners, we are probably overly conscious of them; this seems to be a condition that produces writers.
For short term relaxation, I take a hot tub. It's my best way to unblock writers' block, too. For a bit longer relaxation, I enjoy camping. Just being in the wilderness, with no phones or computers or anything I have to do really refreshes my spirit.
For a country to have a great writer is like having a second government. That is why no regime has ever loved great writers, only minor ones.
A lot of writers fall in love with their sentences or their construction of sentences, and sometimes that's great, but not everybody is Gabriel Garcia Marquez or James Joyce. A lot of people like to pretend that they are, and they wind up not giving people a good read or enlightening them.
The most common thing I find is very brilliant, acute, young people who want to become writers but they are not writing. You know, they really badly want to write a book but they are not writing it. The only advice I can give them is to just write it, get to the end of it. And, you know, if it's not good enough, write another one.
Hardboiled crime fiction came of age in 'Black Mask' magazine during the Twenties and Thirties. Writers like Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler learnt their craft and developed a distinct literary style and attitude toward the modern world.
Reading and writing, like everything else, improve with practice. And, of course, if there are no young readers and writers, there will shortly be no older ones. Literacy will be dead, and democracy - which many believe goes hand in hand with it - will be dead as well.
Artists - musicians, painters, writers, poets - always seem to have had the most accurate perception of what is really going on around them, not the official version or the popular perception of contemporary life.
Some writers like to boil down headlines of liberal newspapers into fiction, so they say there shouldn't be communal riots, everybody should love each other, there shouldn't be boundaries or fundamentalism. But I think literature is more than that; these are political views which most of us hold anyway.
It cannot be said often enough that science fiction as a genre is incredibly educational - and I'm speaking the written science fiction, not 'Star Trek.' Science fiction writers tend to fill their books if they're clever with little bits of interesting stuff and real stuff.
One thing that writers have in common is that they are readers first. They have read lots and lots of stuff, because they're just infested with lots of stuff.
If I had to give young writers advice, I would say don't listen to writers talking about writing or themselves.
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
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