There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
We don’t need a list of rights and wrongs, tables of dos and don’ts: we need books, time, and silence. ‘Thou shalt not’ is soon forgotten, but ‘Once upon a time’ lasts forever.
I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we are reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for? We need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into… forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.
Why do writers write? Because it isn’t there.
The basic rule [of writing] given us was simple and heartbreaking. A story to be effective had to convey something from the writer to the reader, and the power of its offering was the measure of its excellence. Outside of that, there were no rules.