Happy Birthday, Padgett Powell, born 25 April 1952
Padgett Powell Quotes
- Even if you’re the worst writer in the world, at least you’ll have the evidence.
- I knew I was supposed to be a writer; I had made that declaration in the closet of my soul.
- Life is a sandwich of activity between two periods of bed-wetting.
- If you could have a famous writer, dead or alive, write an obituary for you and really puff you up to have been something you weren’t, perhaps, or otherwise take liberties with your memory, what writer would you choose?
- The new world may be in fact a very, very, very, very old world.
- That’s part of fiction, creating a world better than the one you live in.
Padgett Powell’s Advice On Writing
Keep in mind what writing should do:
1) Be alive.
2) Be surprising.
3) Obey tenets of economy, verve, etc.
4) Amount to something (usually, in terms of having “something at stake”).
5) Payoff (i.e., resolve).
Any three of five is worth spoiling paper for. It should be remembered also that:
6) Brave wild failure is applauded.
7) You should be less comfortable if you’re pretty sure of what you’re writing about.
8) You should ignore, at all times, all sense of authorial narrative obligations, and, certainly, your own preconceptions and ideas.
This is more preaching than could possibly be salubrious. So, some more: Obey only the logic of immediacy, from word to word. Or, obey only its obverse, the illogic of immediacy, or the logic of inimmediacy, as you prefer.
Padgett Powell is an American novelist. His debut novel, Edisto was nominated for the American Book Award. Powell has been a writing professor at the University of Florida since 1984.
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