The words of his various writing instructors and professional mentors over the years came back to him at times like these, and he found a new understanding in their advice: Writing is rewriting. The rough draft is just that. You can’t polish what you haven’t written. Things that made for a normal life—like a daily routine that followed the sun—took a back seat to times like these, and he exulted in that change because it served as proof that his writing was indeed the most important thing in his life. It wasn’t a conscious choice on his part, like deciding to repaint the bathroom or go buy the groceries, but an overarching reallocation of his existence that was as undeniable as breathing. Day turned into night, breakfast turned into dinner, and the laptop or the writing tablet beckoned even when he was asleep. He would often awake with a new idea—as if he’d merely been on a break and not unconscious—and he would see the empty seat before the desk not as his station in some pointless assembly line, but as the pilot’s seat in a ship that could go anywhere.
Medicine is my lawful wife, and literature is my mistress. When I get fed up with one, I spend the night with the other. Though it is irregular, it is less boring this way, and besides, neither of them loses anything through my infidelity.
Maybe she would have done more good as a playwright than as a doctor, after all — clichés were like plaque in the arteries of the imagination, they clogged the sense of what was possible. Maybe if enough people had worked to demolish clichés, the world wouldn't have ended.
An ad for cigars appears in 100,000 newspapers; sales of that brand increase by 3% for a short time thereafter. A new play receives a viciously negative review in a theatrical journal that prints 500 copies; the playwright shoots himself. Who’s the better writer?
I crave for knowledge. I envy tolerant, peaceful folks. I am frightened by ignorance. I loathe violence.
He can see what move I'm planning to make in chess and counters before I can do it. He always knows who the killer is in a detective story. I think he could make a career out of detecting, but he wants to write plays for theater. Maybe he could be a Shakespeare instead of a Sherlock. He could be anything. Anything he wants to be.
I had never read a book written by an African-American. I didn't know that black people could write books. I didn't know that blacks had done any great things. I was always conscious of my inferiority and I always remembered my place - until the Civil Rights Movement came to the town where I was born and grew up.