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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.
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.
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.
Some writers confuse authenticity, which they ought always to aim at, with originality, which they should never bother about.
W. H. Auden
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
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.
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.
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.
As for what's the most challenging aspect of teaching, it's convincing younger writers of the importance of reading widely and passionately.
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.
I was a pretty good fighter. But it was the writers who made me great.
Virginia Woolf said that writers must be androgynous. I'll go a step further. You must be bisexual.
Rita Mae Brown
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
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.
From my close observation of writers... they fall into two groups: 1) those who bleed copiously and visibly at any bad review, and 2) those who bleed copiously and secretly at any bad review.
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.
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.
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.
Sarajevo was this beautiful city, very cosmopolitan, multiethnic, full of wonderful people, artists and writers and poets and Serbs and Muslims and Croats, and living side by side. And then this medieval siege, and it was a medieval siege, came, and the Bosnian Serbs were on the hills lobbing in rockets and grenades and mortars.
Janine di Giovanni
I suppose there must be idiots who dream of signing deals with publishers while fully intending to drink martinis in cool bars or ride around on skateboards. But the actual writers I know are experts in neurotic self-torture. Every page of writing is the result of a thousand tiny decisions and desperate acts of will.
I found out about reviews early on. They're mostly written by sad men on bad afternoons. That's probably why I'm less angry than some writers, who are so narcissistic they consider every line of every review, even a thoughtful one, as major treason.
We Negro writers, just by being black, have been on the blacklist all our lives. Censorship for us begins at the color line.
I look for strong people. I don't like people who'll say yes to everything I might bring up. I want people who can argue and disagree and have a point of view that's reflected in the magazine. My dad believed in the cult of personality. He brought great writers and columnists to 'The Standard.'
When younger writers and poets, musicians and painters are weakened by a stemming of funds, they come to me saddened, not as full of dreams and excitement and ideas. I am then weakened and diminished, and made less rich.
Image of the Moment
We know what we are, but know not what we may be.
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