Literary Birthday - 20 July - Cormac McCarthy

Happy Birthday, Cormac McCarthy, born 20 July 1933


  1. You are either born a writer or you are not.
  2. There’s no such thing as life without bloodshed. I think the notion that the species can be improved in some way, that everyone could live in harmony, is a really dangerous idea. Those who are afflicted with this notion are the first ones to give up their souls, their freedom. Your desire that it be that way will enslave you and make your life vacuous.
  3. I’m not interested in writing short stories. Anything that doesn’t take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth doing.
  4. I like what I do. Some writers have said in print that they hated writing and it was just a chore and a burden. I certainly don’t feel that way about it. 
  5. If you think about some of the things that are being talked about by thoughtful, intelligent scientists, you realize that in 100 years the human race won’t even be recognizable. We may indeed be part machine and we may have computers implanted. It’s more than theoretically possible to implant a chip in the brain that would contain all the information in all the libraries in the world. As people who have talked about this say, it’s just a matter of figuring out the wiring.
  6. I don’t know why I started writing. I don’t know why anybody does it. Maybe they’re bored, or failures at something else.
  7. Usually, you don’t know where a book comes from … it’s just there, some kind of an itch that you can’t quite scratch.
  8. The indulgent 800-page books that were written a hundred years ago are just not going to be written anymore and people need to get used to that. If you think you’re going to write something like The Brothers Karamazov or Moby-Dick, go ahead. Nobody will read it. I don’t care how good it is, or how smart the readers are. Their intentions, their brains are different.
  9. If there is an occupational hazard to writing, it’s drinking.
  10. I can normally tell how intelligent a man is by how stupid he thinks I am.
  11. I don’t know what of our culture is going to survive, or if we survive. If you look at the Greek plays, they’re really good. And there’s just a handful of them. Well, how good would they be if there were 2,500 of them? 
  12. The core of literature is the idea of tragedy… You don’t really learn much from the good things that happen to you.

McCarthy is an American novelist and playwright. He has written ten novels, including The RoadNo Country for Old MenAll the Pretty Horses, and Blood Meridian. McCarthy has been increasingly mentioned as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Source for Image

Amanda Patterson by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Pinterest,  Facebook,  Google+,  Tumblr  and  Twitter


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