William Styron was born 11 June 1925, and died 1 November 2006
- A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.
- The good writing of any age has always been the product of someone’s neurosis, and we’d have a mighty dull literature if all the writers that came along were a bunch of happy chuckleheads.
- I get a fine warm feeling when I’m doing well, but that pleasure is pretty much negated by the pain of getting started each day. Let’s face it, writing is hell.
- The writer’s duty is to keep on writing.
- When I’m writing I find it’s the only time that I feel completely self-possessed, even when the writing itself is not going too well. It’s fine therapy for people who are perpetually scared of nameless threats as I am most of the time.
- I don’t think even the most conscientious and astute teachers can teach anything about style. Style comes only after long, hard practice and writing.
- Most books, like their authors, are born to die; of only a few books can it be said that death has no dominion over them; they live, and their influence lives forever.
- Reading … the best state possible in which to keep absolute loneliness at bay.
- I try to get a feeling of what’s going on in the story before I put it down on paper, but actually most of this breaking-in period is one long, fantastic daydream, in which I think about anything but the work at hand. I can’t turn out slews of stuff each day. I wish I could. I seem to have some neurotic need to perfect each paragraph—each sentence, even—as I go along.
- Writers ever since writing began have had problems, and the main problem narrows down to just one word—life. Certainly this might be an age of so-called faithlessness and despair we live in, but the new writers haven’t cornered any market on faithlessness and despair, any more than Dostoyevsky or Marlowe or Sophocles did. Every age has its terrible aches and pains, its peculiar new horrors, and every writer since the beginning of time, just like other people, has been afflicted by what that same friend of mine calls “the fleas of life”—you know, colds, hangovers, bills, sprained ankles, and little nuisances of one sort or another. They are the constants of life, at the core of life, along with nice little delights that come along every now and then.
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