- Birthday, Books, Quotes, Reading, Writing

“I think America, really, is over.”


Happy birthday, James Purdy! Here are some quotes from the writer.

“Some people confess in the flesh, others on paper.”

“[Writing is] like a battle. You’re often so into it you don’t have any high ideals. You’re just doing it. I have all these boxing prints on my walls. I always feel that’s what I am, a boxer. I get my brains knocked out every so often.”

“‘If the book’s bad enough, they’ll publish it, and if it’s bad bad enough, the daily reviewers will love it, and it’ll sell.'”

“‘He’s America in action—opposed to quality.'”

“Television masturbates its audience even though the audience is not really watching. It masturbates orifices the audience doesn’t have. It sticks holes in the viewer and masturbates in those holes. Then it finally gets into the brain and masturbates there, too. This will finally end in the whole culture having softening of the brain…It’s really another form of cancer, television.”

“Yes, that’s the great cancerous horror of America, that one is made to expect everything and give nothing. They’re this giant, cancerous consumer. And the more they eat, the more cancerous they become.”

“In a competitive society, the thing people fear the most is love.”

“Most books don’t even come into the world with the noise of the still-born.”



  • John Madera is the author of Nervosities (Anti-Oedipus Press, 2024). His other fiction is published in Conjunctions, Salt Hill, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His nonfiction is published in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, New York State Council on the Arts awardee John Madera lives in New York City, Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.

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