John Gardner | Quotations of a Novelist | # 5

john-gardner-on-becoming-a-novelist-cover
“To put all this in the form of another traditional metaphor, aesthetic styles—patterns for communicating feeling and thought—become dull with use, like carving knives, and since dullness is the chief enemy of art, each generation of artists must find new ways of slicing the fat off reality.”

“Art is as original and important as it is precisely because it does not start out with clear knowledge of what it means to say.” ― John Gardner
john-gardner-1933-1982
John Gardner (1933–1982) was born in Batavia, New York. His critically acclaimed books include the novels Grendel, The Sunlight Dialogues, and October Light, for which he received the National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as several works of nonfiction and criticism . including . On Becoming a Novelist. He was also a professor of medieval literature and a pioneering creative writing teacher whose students included Raymond Carver and Charles Johnson. When I worked at Bennington College in Southern VT I would often see him walking across the campus during the Summer Writing Workshops. Or when his white hair was flowing as he rode his beloved motorcycle on campus or away. – j.kiley

John Gardner | Quotations of a Novelist | # 4

john-gardner-on-becoming-a-novelist-cover
“I think of the pastness of the past: how the moment I am alive in, prisoned in, moves like a slowly tumbling form through darkness, the underground river. Not only ancient history – the mythical age of the brothers’ feud – but my own history one second ago, has vanished utterly, dropped out of existence.” ― John Gardner
john-gardner-1933-1982
John Gardner (1933–1982) was born in Batavia, New York. His critically acclaimed books include the novels Grendel, The Sunlight Dialogues, and October Light, for which he received the National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as several works of nonfiction and criticism . including . On Becoming a Novelist. He was also a professor of medieval literature and a pioneering creative writing teacher whose students included Raymond Carver and Charles Johnson. When I worked at Bennington College in Southern VT I would often see him walking across the campus during the Summer Writing Workshops. Or when his white hair was flowing as he rode his beloved motorcycle on campus or away. – j.kiley

John Gardner | Quotations of a Novelist | # 3

john-gardner-on-becoming-a-novelist-cover
“Theoretically there’s no reason one should get [writer’s block], if one understands that writing, after all, is only writing, neither something one ought to feel deeply guilty about nor something one ought to be inordinately proud of.”

“The very qualities that make one a writer in the first place contribute to the block: hypersensitivity, stubbornness, insatiability, and so on. Given the general oddity of writers, no wonder there are no sure cures.” ― John Gardner, On Becoming a Novelist
john-gardner-1933-1982
John Gardner (1933–1982) was born in Batavia, New York. His critically acclaimed books include the novels Grendel, The Sunlight Dialogues, and October Light, for which he received the National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as several works of nonfiction and criticism . including . On Becoming a Novelist. He was also a professor of medieval literature and a pioneering creative writing teacher whose students included Raymond Carver and Charles Johnson. When I worked at Bennington College in Southern VT I would often see him walking across the campus during the Summer Writing Workshops. Or when his white hair was flowing as he rode his beloved motorcycle on campus or away. – j.kiley

John Gardner | Quotations of a Novelist | # 2

john-gardner-on-becoming-a-novelist-cover
“Nothing is sillier than the creative writing teacher’s dictum “Write about what you know.” But whether you’re writing about people or dragons, your personal observation of how things happen in the world—how character reveals itself—can turn a dead scene into a vital one. Preliminary good advice might be: Write as if you were a movie camera. Get exactly what is there. All human beings see with astonishing accuracy, not that they can necessarily write it down.” ― John Gardner, On Becoming a Novelist
john-gardner-1933-1982
John Gardner (1933–1982) was born in Batavia, New York. His critically acclaimed books include the novels Grendel, The Sunlight Dialogues, and October Light, for which he received the National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as several works of nonfiction and criticism . including . On Becoming a Novelist. He was also a professor of medieval literature and a pioneering creative writing teacher whose students included Raymond Carver and Charles Johnson. When I worked at Bennington College in Southern VT I would often see him walking across the campus during the Summer Writing Workshops. Or when his white hair was flowing as he rode his beloved motorcycle on campus or away. – j.kiley

John Gardner | Quotations of a Novelist | # 1

john-gardner-on-becoming-a-novelist-cover
“Daemonic compulsiveness can kill as easily as it can save. The true novelist must be at once driven and indifferent. Van Gogh never sold a painting in his life. Poe came close with poetry and fiction, selling very little. Drivenness only helps if it forces the writer not to suicide but to the making of splendid works of art, allowing him indifference to whether or not the novel sells, whether or not it’s appreciated. Drivenness is trouble for both the novelist and his friends; but no novelist, I think, can succeed without it. Along with the peasant in the novelist, there must be a man with a whip.” ― John Gardner, On Becoming a Novelist
john-gardner-1933-1982
John Gardner (1933–1982) was born in Batavia, New York. His critically acclaimed books include the novels Grendel, The Sunlight Dialogues, and October Light, for which he received the National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as several works of nonfiction and criticism . including . On Becoming a Novelist. He was also a professor of medieval literature and a pioneering creative writing teacher whose students included Raymond Carver and Charles Johnson. When I worked at Bennington College in Southern VT I would often see him walking across the campus during the Summer Writing Workshops. Or when his white hair was flowing as he rode his beloved motorcycle on campus or away. – j.kiley

John Gardner | On Becoming a Novelist | #43

john-gardner-on-becoming-a-novelist-cover
“We’ve all heard the stories of Tolstoy’s pains over Anna Karenina, Jane Austen’s over Emma, or even Dostoevsky’s over Crime and Punishment, a novel he grieved at having to publish prematurely, though he had worked at it much longer than most popular-fiction writers work at their novels.”

“I write for those who desire, not publication at any cost, but publication one can be proud of–serious, honest fiction, the kind of novel that readers will find they enjoy reading more than once, the kind of fiction likely to survive.” ― John Gardner, On Becoming a Novelist
john-gardner-1933-1982
John Gardner (1933–1982) was born in Batavia, New York. His critically acclaimed books include the novels Grendel, The Sunlight Dialogues, and October Light, for which he received the National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as several works of nonfiction and criticism . including . On Becoming a Novelist. He was also a professor of medieval literature and a pioneering creative writing teacher whose students included Raymond Carver and Charles Johnson. When I worked at Bennington College in Southern VT I would often see him walking across the campus during the Summer Writing Workshops. Or when his white hair was flowing as he rode his beloved motorcycle on campus or away. – j.kiley

John Gardner | On Becoming a Novelist | #42

john-gardner-on-becoming-a-novelist-cover
“Novel-writing is not so much a profession as a yoga, or “way,” an alternative to ordinary life-in-the-world. Its benefits are quasi-religious—a changed quality of mind and heart, satisfactions no non-novelist can understand—and its rigors generally bring no profit except to the spirit. For those who are authentically called to the profession, spiritual profits are enough.” ― John Gardner, On Becoming a Novelist
john-gardner-1933-1982
John Gardner (1933–1982) was born in Batavia, New York. His critically acclaimed books include the novels Grendel, The Sunlight Dialogues, and October Light, for which he received the National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as several works of nonfiction and criticism . including . On Becoming a Novelist. He was also a professor of medieval literature and a pioneering creative writing teacher whose students included Raymond Carver and Charles Johnson. When I worked at Bennington College in Southern VT I would often see him walking across the campus during the Summer Writing Workshops. Or when his white hair was flowing as he rode his beloved motorcycle on campus or away. – j.kiley