Happy Birthday, Téa Obreht, born 30 September 1985.
- A family has its own rituals and its own superstitions.
- When I hit a block, regardless of what I am writing, what the subject matter is, or what’s going on in the plot, I go back and I read Pablo Neruda’s poetry. I don’t actually speak Spanish, so I read it translation. But I always go back to Neruda. I don’t know why, but it calms me, calms my brain.
- The best fiction stays with you and changes you.
- These stories run like secret rivers through all the other stories of his life.
- My mother always says that fear and pain are immediate, and that, when they’re gone we’re left with the concept, but not the true memory.
- I am very interested in place, and the influences of place on characters.
- A lot of writers that I know have told me that the first book you write, you write about your childhood, whether you want to or not. It calls you back.
From High-School Confidential by Téa Obreht
But, in the social hierarchy of school, this host of miseries was overlooked in favor of a much more contemptible indignity: I wanted to be a writer.
This fact, which I proclaimed upon arrival in middle school, was a source of considerable mirth for the powerful few who dictated the social tide. I had announced it on my first day as naturally as I had given my name, because it was already part of how I saw myself, as fundamental to me as sleeping and breathing; it had never occurred to me that I should conceal my love of writing, that it—and not the well-worn “four-eyes”—might arm the greetings of near-strangers in the hall. “Hey, are you writing?” they would say, when I was lacing my sneakers or standing in the cafeteria line. “Are you gonna write this down?” The only comeback I could muster was to chide my assailants on their lack of imagination—to which I remember one girl replying, “Shut up! I imaginate all the time!”
By the time I got to high school, I had learned to be more cautious about revealing my dreams.
Téa Obreht is an American novelist. Her debut novel, The Tiger’s Wife, won the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction.
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