Charles Jackson (b. April 6th): “The writer lives by biting the hand that feeds him.”

6 Apr

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Charles Jackson, born 6 April 1903 and died 21 September 1968, was an American author best known for his 1944 novel The Lost Weekend.

Quotes on writing:

  1. The writer knows his own worth, and to be overvalued can confuse and destroy him as an artist.
  2. The writer must essentially draw from life as he sees it, lives it, overhears it or steals it, and the truer the writer, perhaps the bigger the blackguard. He lives by biting the hand that feeds him.
  3. I know they’re always disappointed to meet a writer; they have some preconceived idea about you and expect you to be ‘interesting’ or intense or drunk or something different from just a normal average guy like anybody else.
  4. Like all his attempts at fiction it would be as personal as a letter – painful to those who knew him, of no interest to those who didn’t; precious or self-pitying in spots, in others too clever for its own good; so packed with Shakespeare that it looked as if he worked with a concordance in his lap; so narcissistic that its final effect would be that of the mirrored room which gives back the same image times without count.
  5. If you should decide that you didn’t like books written in the first person, or books about whaling, patricide, prostitution, war, wretched poverty, divorce, madness, adultery, homosexuality, cripples, or the most erotic kind of fornication for fornication’s sake, and thus rule them off your list, you’d be doing yourself out of some of the greatest works of literature in history – in fact, nearly all of them. What counts is what the writer brings to his story, not the subject itself.

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