interviews

John le Carré, 1965

33-year-old John le Carré appears on the “Merv Griffin Show,” October 14, 1965.

Categories: Books · Writers    Tags: · ·

George Saunders on writing

Categories: Writers · Writing    Tags: ·

Nina Darnton’s “The Perfect Mother”

Here is a quick Q&A I did with Nina Darnton, whose novel The Perfect Mother launches November 29. If you liked Defending Jacob…

Categories: My Other Writing    Tags: ·

Brian Eno: Everything good proceeds from enthusiasm

Everything good proceeds from enthusiasm. The sense of “I really want to know how this turns out” will drive you on through many, many long nights of no results, whereas the feeling of “I think I ought to do this” dries up very quickly.

The big mistake is to wait for inspiration. It won’t come looking for you. It’s not so much creating something, I think, it’s noticing when something is starting to happen — noticing it and then building on it and saying, “Okay, that’s new, that hasn’t happened before. What does it mean? Where can I go with it?”

Categories: Creativity    Tags: · ·

David Lynch on Where Ideas Come From

We don’t do anything without an idea. So they’re beautiful gifts. And I always say, you desiring an idea is like a bait on a hook — you can pull them in. And if you catch an idea that you love, that’s a beautiful, beautiful day. And you write that idea down so you won’t forget it. And that idea that you caught might just be a fragment of the whole — whatever it is you’re working on — but now you have even more bait. Thinking about that small fragment — that little fish — will bring in more, and they’ll come in and they’ll hook on. And more and more come in, and pretty soon you might have a script — or a chair, or a painting, or an idea for a painting.

Via Brain Pickings

Categories: Creativity · Writing    Tags: · ·

Updike on his early stories

Categories: Writers    Tags: · ·

Annie Lennox on Creativity

Categories: Creativity    Tags: ·

Valediction

Maurice Sendak’s final interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air, in September 2011, animated by Christoph Niemann. Sendak died seven months later. (via The Dish)

Categories: Writers    Tags: · · ·

How Writers Write: Margaret Atwood

Categories: Writing    Tags: · · ·

Philip Roth interviewed on “Fresh Air”

TERRY GROSS: So if [writing] is so hard, why do it?

PHILIP ROTH: Well, that’s a question I ask myself too. I’ve been doing it since 1955. So that’s 55 years. It’s hard to give up something you’ve been doing for 55 years, which has been at the center of your life, where you spend six, eight, sometimes ten hours a day. And I always have worked every day, and I’m kind of a maniac, you know. How could a maniac give up what he does? Tell me.

GROSS: Is that seven days a week, like Saturday and Sunday?

ROTH: Yeah, I usually do, yeah.

GROSS: That is obsessive.

ROTH: Maniacal.

GROSS: Maniacal?

ROTH: Give it its right name. It’s maniacal.

Via nprfreshair

Categories: Writing    Tags: · ·

Olivia Fox: “fail successfully”

Olivia Fox on the impostor syndrome, innovation, and “failing successfully.” Shorter version here. Via.

Categories: Creativity    Tags: ·

An Interview

An interview I did today with a blog called D.A. Confidential, which also had nice things to say about this very blog. The interview is mostly about writing and my own path to publication. The blogger, Mark Pryor, is an assistant D.A. in Texas. He is currently shopping his first novel. Good luck, Mark!

Categories: Writing    Tags:

John Irving: “A need to be alone”

“I recognized at a pretty early age — certainly I was pre-teens — I noticed that the school day was enough of the day to spend with my friends. I seemed to have a need to … be alone.” I am sure this is a common characteristic of writers, even gregarious ones. Certainly I needed to have time alone as a kid, and I still do.

You can watch the full interview with John Irving here. Via Big Think.

Categories: Writers · Writing    Tags: · ·

Maugham: “great suspicion of posterity”

“I have great suspicion of posterity. I’m quite prepared to be entirely forgotten five years after my death.”

Somerset Maugham (via)

Categories: Writers    Tags: · ·

Philip Roth on the novel’s “cultic” future

More clips from this interview here.

Categories: Books · Internet · Publishing · Writers    Tags: · · ·

Remembering Updike the Father

John Updike’s son David, also a writer, has a lovely piece in the Times’ Paper Cuts blog. It is a eulogy for his father which he delivered at a tribute in March at the New York Public Library. I found this passage particularly touching:

But for someone who was getting famous, my father didn’t seem to work overly hard: he was still asleep when we went to school, and was often home already when we got back. When we appeared unannounced, in his office — on the second floor of a building he shared with a dentist, accountants and the Dolphin Restaurant — he always seemed happy and amused to see us, stopped typing to talk and dole out some money for movies. But as soon as we were out the door, we could hear the typing resume, clattering with us down the stairs.

My own sons, now five and eight, perceive me the same way, I think. To kids (and others), a writer at work does not seem to be doing much. They can’t understand that I am hard at it whether I am typing like mad or staring blankly out the window. Maybe this is true of all desk-work. Well, at least I have this one thing in common with Updike.

I admit, I feel a strange, vaguely filial attachment to writers of my father’s generation, especially Roth, Updike and Doctorow, whose books I grew up reading. Anyway, read the whole Updike eulogy. You won’t be sorry.

In the meantime, for all my fellow unmentored writers out there, here is Updike in 2004 with some fatherly advice for young writers.

The rest of the interview is here.

Categories: Writers · Writing    Tags: · · · · ·

How Writers Write: Philip Roth

“Without a novel I’m empty. I’m empty and not very happy.” From a writer’s point of view, it is touching to hear a giant like Roth confess to a feeling I know well. Here Roth discusses his writing process. I love the brief glimpse of Roth at his stand-up desk (beginning at about 3:23), composing his novels on what looks like the ancient blue screen of a DOS-based word processor. Roth uses a stand-up desk because of a bad back. “He works standing up, paces around while he’s thinking and has said he walks half a mile for every page he writes.” (link) How comforting it is to see the homely touch of those extra reams of paper stacked under the monitor to boost it up to eye level.

Categories: Writing    Tags: · · · ·