Happy birthday, Annie Proulx! 84, today!
“I read omnivorously, I always have, my entire life. I would rather be dead than not read.”
“You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.”
“I am influenced by words and the chewiness of language.”
“Curiosity is what drives me. I am interested in everything, and all the people I know and like have fierce passions for places and things. I never thought it was peculiar or abnormal to be this way when I was younger, but I’ve learnt differently. Most people are remarkably incurious.”
“I’m extremely delighted with words, and writing for me is play—play with words and arrange them so that they have resonance and meaning that can carry the burden of a story.”
“What I find to be very bad advice is the snappy little sentence, ‘Write what you know.’ It is the most tiresome and stupid advice that could possibly be given. If we write simply about what we know we never grow. We don’t develop any facility for languages, or an interest in others, or a desire to travel and explore and face experience head-on. We just coil tighter and tighter into our boring little selves. What one should write about is what interests one.”
“[I]magination is the human mind’s central life strategy. It is how we anticipate danger, pleasure, threat. The imagination is how our expectations are raised and formulated; it excites and ennobles our purpose in life. The imagination blocks out hunger, bodily harm, bad luck, injury, loneliness, insult, the condition of the marooned person or the orphan, grief and disappointment, restlessness, desperation, imprisonment, and approaching death. And from the imagination spring the ideas, the actions, and the beliefs that we hold.”
John Madera's fiction may be found in Conjunctions, Opium Magazine, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His criticism may be found 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, John Madera lives in New York City, where he runs Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.