And why should any man who writes, even if he writes things immortal, nurse anger at the world’s neglect? Who asked him to publish? Who promised him a hearing? Who has broken faith with him? Your poem, your novel, who bargained with you for it?
This was what I came to found. The conquest of loneliness was the missing link that was one day going to make a decent novelist out of me. If you are out here and cannot close off the loves and hates of all that back there in the real world the memories will overtake you and swamp you and wilt your tenacity. Tenacity stamina… close off to everything and everyone but your writing. That’s the bloody price. I don’t know maybe it’s some kind of ultimate selfishness. Maybe it’s part of the killer instinct. Unless you can stash away and bury thoughts of your greatest love you cannot sustain the kind of concentration that breaks most men trying to write a book over a three or four year period.
There are, first of all, two kinds of authors: those who write for the subject’s sake, and those who write for writing’s sake. […] The truth is that when an author begins to write for the sake of covering paper, he is cheating the reader; because he writes under the pretext that he has something to say.
In the eyes of others a man is a poet if he has written one good poem. In his own he is only a poet at the moment when he is making his last revision to a new poem. The moment before, he was still only a potential poet; the moment after, he is a man who has ceased to write poetry, perhaps forever.
I love the sound of words, the feel of them, the flow of them. I love the challenge of finding just that perfect combination of words to describe a curl of the lip, a tilt of the chin, a change in the atmosphere. Done well, novel-writing can combine lyricism with practicality in a way that makes one think of grand tapestries, both functional and beautiful. Fifty years from now, I imagine I’ll still be questing after just that right combination of words.