Happy Birthday, Ann Patchett, born 2 December 1963
- Writing is a job, a talent, but it’s also the place to go in your head. It is the imaginary friend you drink your tea with in the afternoon.
- Reading fiction not only develops our imagination and creativity, it gives us the skills to be alone. It gives us the ability to feel empathy for people we’ve never met, living lives we couldn’t possibly experience for ourselves, because the book puts us inside the character’s skin.
- I think people become consumed with selling a book when they need to be consumed with writing it.
- It was all in my head and now all I had to do was figure out a way to get it down on paper.
- I can write for any magazine now, in any voice. I can do it in two hours, I could do it in my sleep, it’s like writing a grocery list.
- Write because you love the art and the discipline, not because you’re looking to sell something.
- …fiction writing is like duck hunting. You go to the right place at the right time with the right dog. You get into the water before dawn, wearing a little protective gear, then you stand behind some reeds and wait for the story to present itself…You choose the place and the day. You pick the gun and the dog. You have the desire to blow the duck apart for reasons that are entirely your own. But you have to be willing to accept not what you wanted to have happen, but what happens… By the time you get out of the marsh, you will have written a novel so devoid of ducks it will shock you.
- When well told, a story captured the subtle movement of change. If a novel was a map of a country, a story was the bright silver pin that marked the crossroads.
- Praise and criticism seem to me to operate exactly on the same level. If you get a great review, it’s really thrilling for about ten minutes. If you get a bad review, it’s really crushing for ten minutes. Either way, you go on.
Ann Patchett won the Orange Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award in 2002 for her novel Bel Canto. Patchett’s other novels include Run, The Patron Saint of Liars, Taft, and The Magician’s Assistant. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship. She won the Nashville Banner Tennessee Writer of the Year Award in 1994.
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