Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Author Quotes of the Year

The Times picks up some of the best author quotes of the year. My favourites:
Least enthusiastic author

“Q: How much time, if any, do you spend on the web? Is it a distraction or a blessing?

Jenny Diski : Acres of time, wasted, wasted. I play poker (and lose), I play ludo and mah jong. I check out MetaFilter. I buy frocks. Anything. It’s a kind of hell. I sometimes think I might go back to typewriting. But you can’t get the ribbons.”

Insightful interview of the year

“Q: What drew you to the story?

Denis Johnson : I have no idea.

Q: When you were writing Tree of Smoke, did you have an audience or ideal reader in mind? If so, who?

DJ: I write for my wife, my agent and my editor.

Q: Were there moments in the writing process where you worried the book wouldn’t work? If so, how did you press on?

DJ: Well, I’ve never thought about this before, but now that you ask it occurs to me I don’t have much interest in whether my books work or not.”

Interview with Denis Johnson by America’s National Book Foundation, when Tree of Smoke was a finalist for their awards

Excessive information award

Norman Mailer to Philip Roth, in queue for the loo before a memorial service: “Phil, sometimes I have to go into a telephone kiosk to pee. You just can’t wait at my age.”

Roth: “I know, it’s the same with me.”

Exchange recalled by Mailer in conversation with Andrew O’Hagan


KayKay said...

HaHa! Denis Johnson seems to have graduated from the Tom Clancy school of Arrogant Authors.

Fucking wankers! The only reason they even warrant an interview is because of a reading public and Literary Establishment that chooses to publicise their work. And they can't even give decent sound bites.

bibliobibuli said...

glad i wasn't the poor interviewer! mind you, i don't see how authors cannot but get pissed off when they are asked the same questions over and over. i so aware of this when i do 'em.

Anonymous said...

It's part of their jobs, so they have to deal with it. Maybe Johnson wsa being tongue in cheek...

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that people find this arrogant. Why is this considered arrogant ? he writes for his wife, who I think we can reasonably assume to be female (even without any pertinent facts, or indeed any facts at all, to back our most callous assumptions) and as such we can perhaps say that, notwithstanding the fact that there are no facts to back up this statement, and also that there can be no real facts to back up this statement, since humans are by nature unreliable and any "facts" gathered though polling should more appropriately be termed as "opinions", he's got at least an idea of which gender most of his readers are going to be, which, by mere accident of birth, turn out to be of the female persuasion (this use of the phrase "accident of birth" should not be construed as derogatory to the female half of the planet (the proportion of which can actually be proven, perhaps, but just about, given that there are people who actually have two or no genders (which is to say they're of the neuter gender,) and also if you would like to include animals and insects or perhaps even plants, into the equation.)

I don't see why this makes him arrogant. :)

PS. Did you read that all in one breath ? :)