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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.
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
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.
I am conscious of trying to stretch the boundaries of non-fiction writing. It's always surprised me how little attention many non-fiction writers pay to the formal aspects of their work.
Alain de Botton
Whenever there's an opportunity to celebrate the written word and celebrate the folks that read the written word, and, I think, to encourage other writers to write and encourage folks to read more and get connected to it in a personal way, it's a positive thing.
One of the things that I tell beginning writers is this: If you describe a landscape, or a cityscape, or a seascape, always be sure to put a human figure somewhere in the scene. Why? Because readers are human beings, mostly interested in human beings. People are humanists. Most of them are humanists, that is.
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.
Sixty percent of all Indians live in urban areas, but nobody's writing about them. They're really an underrepresented population, and the ironic thing is very, very few of those we call Native American writers actually grew up on reservations, and yet most of their work is about reservations.
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.
Originality is nothing but judicious imitation. The most original writers borrowed one from another.
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.
As for what's the most challenging aspect of teaching, it's convincing younger writers of the importance of reading widely and passionately.
We Negro writers, just by being black, have been on the blacklist all our lives. Censorship for us begins at the color line.
You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we're doing it.
I flew into a small airport surrounded by cornfields and pastures, ready to carry out the two commands my father had written out for me the night before I left Calcutta: Spend two years studying creative writing at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, then come back home and marry the bridegroom he selected for me from our caste and class.
When I started at the 'Guardian,' though, I couldn't think of anything we saw eye to eye on, except feminism, and even this would soon be arguable as 'Guardian' writers queued up to drool over Eminem.
'Skyline' is an alien invasion film that really takes an interesting look at the genre. The writers did an amazing job of creating a new take at how life from other planets come and plan to invade Earth.
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.
There is a group of entrepreneurs pushing the envelope, government officials that are making significant changes despite the odds, and visionary writers, academics, and colleagues whose work confirms, amplifies, and stretches my own thinking.
I have tons of regrets, but I think that's one of the reasons that push people to create things. Out of their angst, their regret, comes the best from artists, painters and writers.
It is one of the paradoxes of American literature that our writers are forever looking back with love and nostalgia at lives they couldn't wait to leave.
But with writers, there's nothing wrong with melancholy. It's an important color in writing.
When I think about writers who use fiction as social commentary and to raise social awareness but who are also very popular, I think of Dickens.
A critic is a eunuch working in a harem. He watches it, but he knows he can't do it. Critics very often are failed writers and, like failed priests, they hate religion.
Writers may be disreputable, incorrigible, early to decay or late to bloom but they dare to go it alone.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
John F. Kennedy
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