Mol (mollyringle) wrote,

John Gardner quote

Poets and short story writers must learn to work with the care of a miniaturist in the visual arts. Novelists can afford to stand back now and then and throw paint at the wall.
- John Gardner, On Becoming a Novelist, p. 90

(I do love my paint-flinging. Just one reason I'm a novelist at heart.) :)

More good stuff from Gardner, balm to my soul:

The whole world seems to conspire against the young novelist. ...friends, relatives, and professional writers, are quick to point out the terrible odds (thereby increasing them) against anyone’s (ever, anywhere) becoming a successful writer. "Writing takes a rare and special gift," they say (not strictly true); "The market for writing gets worse every year" (largely false); or, "You’ll starve!" (maybe so). And the discouragement offered by other human beings is the least of it... The writer asks himself day after day, year after year, if he's fooling himself, asks why people write novels anyhow--long, careful studies of the hopes, joys, and disasters of creatures who, strictly speaking, do not exist. The writer may be undermined by creeping misanthropy, while the writer’s wife, or husband, is growing sulky and embarrassed. The idiots who write for TV pull in money by the fistful, while this saint among mortals, the novelist, pumps gas, types memos, or sells life insurance to keep food in the mouths of his children....Almost no one mentions that for a certain kind of person, nothing is more joyful or satisfying than the life of a novelist, if not for its financial rewards then for others; that one need not turn into a misanthrope or a drunk; that in fact one can be a more or less successful M.D., engineer, or forest ranger, even follow the unfashionable profession of housewife, and also be a novelist--at any rate, many novelists, both great and ordinary, have done it. ...More people fail at becoming successful businessmen than fail at becoming artists. (preface)
Tags: writing

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