Kazuo Ishiguro: “one of the things that’s interested me always is how we live in small worlds and big worlds at the same time”

Q: I suppose what you have been writing about all this time, in a way, is that question of our place in the world, our connection to each other, our connection with the world. That is perhaps the theme you explore the most, do you think?


KI: Yes, I would say so, I mean I think … If I could put it a little bit more narrowly that that, I mean it’s probably … one of the things that’s interested me always is how we live in small worlds and big worlds at the same time, that we have a personal arena in which we have to try and find fulfilment and love. But that inevitably intersects with a larger world, where politics, or even dystopian universes, can prevail. So I think I’ve always been interested in that. We live in small worlds and big worlds at the same time and we can’t, you know, forget one or the other.

Margaret Atwood :”rights did not descend out of the sky

Q: This idea, especially when it comes to women’s rights, that, “Okay, well, things are moving forward. Women are better off than they used to be.” Do you think we’re rethinking whether that is always true right now?

Edinburgh International Book Festival

Margaret Atwood : Well, there’s no such thing as inevitable progress. And it always has been true and always will be true that rights did not descend out of the sky. Rights are things that people agree on, and they end up agreeing on them because people work to get them to agree. So they can always change their minds. They say, “Well, this has gone too far. We certainly can’t have high heels; let’s abolish them.” Or whatever it may be. And people are prone in times of crisis, turmoil, and social unrest … to limiting things. Because it makes them feel safer.

So there’s no inevitability about it. And you can’t have human rights for women unless you have human rights. Think of that. You cannot. Because unless you decide that women are some class of nonhuman beings and should have special treatment, then you have to have a general category of human rights, which includes women as human beings.

Source : https://www.vox.com/conversations/2017/4/26/15435378/margaret-atwood-handmaids-tale-interview






Kurt Vonnegut : “One thing I hate about school committees today is that they cut arts programs out of the curriculum”

Q: Tell me the reasons you’ve been attracted to a life of creation, whether as a writer or an artist. 


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Kurt Vonnegut : I’ve been drawing all my life, just as a hobby, without really having shows or anything. It’s just an agreeable thing to do, and I recommend it to everybody. I always say to people, practice an art, no matter how well or badly [you do it], because then you have the experience of becoming, and it makes your soul grow. That includes singing, dancing, writing, drawing, playing a musical instrument. One thing I hate about school committees today is that they cut arts programs out of the curriculum because they say the arts aren’t a way to make a living. Well, there are lots of things worth doing that are no way to make a living. [Laughs.] They are agreeable ways to make a more agreeable life.

Source : http://tim.blog/2007/11/29/lack-of-seriousness-the-last-interview-with-vonnegut/




JK Rowling: “I was a single mother and it really was hand to mouth at one point”

Winfrey: So how has being the first billionaire author affected your perception of yourself?

Britain Scotland Celebrities

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Rowling: I dress better. But that’s not just about money, ’cause you meet lots of rich people who dress atrociously. It’s more that you can afford to – well, you can definitely afford better clothes. I think the single biggest thing that money gave me – and obviously I came from a place where I was a single mother and it really was hand to mouth at one point. It was literally as poor as you can get in Britain without being homeless at one point. If you’ve ever been there you will never, ever take for granted that you don’t need to worry. Never.

Source : http://www.harrypotterspage.com/2010/10/03/transcript-of-oprah-interview-with-j-k-rowling/


Haruki Murakami: Talent Is Nothing Without Focus and Endurance


In every interview I’m asked what’s the most important quality a novelist has to have. It’s pretty obvious: talent. Now matter how much enthusiasm and effort you put into writing, if you totally lack literary talent you can forget about being a novelist. This is more of a prerequisite than a necessary quality. If you don’t have any fuel, even the best car won’t run.The problem with talent, though, is that in most cases the person involved can’t control its amount or quality. You might find the amount isn’t enough and you want to increase it, or you might try to be frugal and make it last longer, but in neither case do things work out that easily. Talent has a mind of its own and wells up when it wants to, and once it dries up, that’s it. Of course, certain poets and rock singers whose genius went out in a blaze of glory—people like Schubert and Mozart, whose dramatic early deaths turned them into legends—have a certain appeal, but for the vast majority of us this isn’t the model we follow.


If I’m asked what the next most important quality is for a novelist, that’s easy too: focus—the ability to concentrate all your limited talents on whatever’s critical at the moment. Without that you can’t accomplish anything of value, while, if you can focus effectively, you’ll be able to compensate for an erratic talent or even a shortage of it. I generally concentrate on work for three or four hours every morning. I sit at my desk and focus totally on what I’m writing. I don’t see anything else, I don’t think about anything else.

After focus, the next most important thing for a novelist is, hands down, endurance. If you concentrate on writing three or four hours a day and feel tired after a week of this, you’re not going to be able to write a long work. What’s needed of the writer of fiction—at least one who hopes to write a novel—is the energy to focus every day for half a year, or a year, or two years.

Fortunately, these two disciplines—focus and endurance—are different from talent, since they can be acquired and sharpened through training. You’ll naturally learn both concentration and endurance when you sit down every day at your desk and train yourself to focus on one point. This is a lot like the training of muscles I wrote of a moment ago. You have to continually transmit the object of your focus to your entire body, and make sure it thoroughly assimilates the information necessary for you to write every single day and concentrate on the work at hand. And gradually you’ll expand the limits of what you’re able to do. Almost imperceptibly you’ll make the bar rise. This involves the same process as jogging every day to strengthen your muscles and develop a runner’s physique. Add a stimulus and keep it up. And repeat. Patience is a must in this process, but I guarantee results will come.

In private correspondence the great mystery writer Raymond Chandler once confessed that even if he didn’t write anything, he made sure he sat down at his desk every single day and concentrated. I understand the purpose behind his doing this. This is the way Chandler gave himself the physical stamina a professional writer needs, quietly strengthening his willpower. This sort of daily training was indispensable to him.

Most of what I know about writing I’ve learned through running every day. These are practical, physical lessons. How much can I push myself? How much rest is appropriate—and how much is too much? How far can I take something and still keep it decent and consistent? When does it become narrow-minded and inflexible? How much should I be aware of the world outside, and how much should I focus on my inner world? To what extent should I be confident in my abilities, and when should I start doubting myself? I know that if I hadn’t become a long-distance runner when I became a novelist, my work would have been vastly different. How different? Hard to say. But something would definitely have been different.

Source : http://99u.com/articles/7068/haruki-murakami-talent-is-nothing-without-focus-and-endurance

Anton Chekhov: “I try to show man to himself as he is, not as he is in our imaginations and myths”

Q: Why should people read your plays?


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Chekhov: I’m not sure they should.

I try to show man to himself as he is, not as he is in our imaginations and myths, or as he is on our modern stage. Life is composed primarily of banal events like greetings, partings, menial labor, meals, and unremarkable conversation; so, too, are my plays. If man were sufficiently aware of how he lives, I would feel no need to write plays about it.

Source : http://yesandrew.com/the-sunday-interview-anton-chekhov/


CHUCK PALAHNIUK: unless it makes you weep it doesn’t feel like you’re doing anything worthwhile.

Q: When did you realize that writing from “the wound” was a productive way to approach writing?


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CHUCK PALAHNIUK: It’s funny: unless it makes you weep it doesn’t feel like you’re doing anything worthwhile. I find that if I can read a story without taking [the anti-anxiety medication] Lorazepam, then it’s not worth presenting. I stressed this to my doctor when I asked him for Lorazepam before my tour. I said, “I cannot stand up there and read this without crying. I need the emotion to land out there. I want to make those thousand people cry, not me.”

Source : http://www.believermag.com/issues/201405/?read=interview_palahniuk_spanbauer