Nelson Algren Quotes.
Thinking of Poe, thinking of Mark Twain and Vachel Lindsay, thinking of Jack London and Tom Wolfe, one begins to feel there is almost no way of becoming a creative writer in America without being a loser.
Loving Chicago is like loving a woman with a broken nose.
To literary critics a book is assumed to be guilty until it proves itself innocent.
I’d put the ninety-nine billion dollars – whatever it is – that’s being appropriated for the Air Force and the Navy, and I’d put it into schools. I’d put it into traveling scholarships.
He was falling between glacial walls, he didn’t know how anyone could fall so far away from everyone else in the world. So far to fall, so cold all the way, so steep and dark between those morphine-coloured walls.
The only way I could finish a book and get a plot was just to keep making it longer until something happens.
Yet once you’ve come to be part of this particular patch, you’ll never love another. Like loving a woman with a broken nose, you may well find lovelier lovelies. But never a lovely so real.
I don’t think the isolation of the American writer is a tradition; it’s more that, geographically, he just is isolated, unless he happens to live in New York City. But I don’t suppose there’s a small town around the country that doesn’t have a writer.
Obsession remains the price of creation, and the writer who declines that risk will come up with nothing more creative than ‘The Foxes of Harrow’ or ‘Mrs. Parkington.’
When we get more houses than we can live in, more cars than we can ride in, more food than we can eat ourselves, the only way of getting richer is by cutting off those who don’t have enough.
I’m not against sentimentality. I think you need it. I mean, I don’t think you get a true picture of people without it in writing… It’s a kind of poetry, it’s an emotional poetry, and, to bring it back to the literary scene, I don’t think anything is true that doesn’t have it, that doesn’t have poetry in it.
I’ve always figured the only way I could finish a book and get a plot was just to keep making it longer and longer until something happens – you know, until it finds its own plot – because you can’t outline and then fit the thing into it. I suppose it’s a slow way of working.
The struggle to write with profundity of emotion and at the same time to live like a millionaire so exhausted F. Scott Fitzgerald that he was at last brought down to the point where he could no longer be both a good writer and a decent person.
I went out there for a thousand a week, and I worked Monday, and I got fired Wednesday. The guy that hired me was out of town Tuesday.
I don’t recommend being a bachelor, but it helps if you want to write.
I do have the feeling that other writers can’t help you with writing. I’ve gone to writers’ conferences and writers’ sessions and writers’ clinics, and the more I see of them, the more I’m sure it’s the wrong direction. It isn’t the place where you learn to write.
The American middle class’s faith in personal comfort as an end in itself is, in essence, a denial of life. And it has been imposed upon American writers and playwrights strongly enough to cut them off from their deeper sources.
I’ve always felt strongly that a writer shouldn’t be engaged with other writers, or with people who make books, or even with people who read them. I think the farther away you get from the literary traffic, the closer you are to sources. I mean, a writer doesn’t really live; he observes.
I don’t think I’ve ever been either militant or profound as an anti-Fascist. When the issue has come up, when certain things have come up, and I’ve been called on to express – literally, when I’ve been cornered, then I take a left-wing stand.
I am against censorship. I don’t think there is anything more stupid than censorship.
Any writer who knows what he’s doing isn’t doing very much.
Literature is made upon any occasion that a challenge is put to the legal apparatus by conscience in touch with humanity.
If you write something, and you believe in it, you’d like to see sixty million people moved by it.
The avocation of assessing the failures of better men can be turned into a comfortable livelihood, providing you back it up with a Ph.D.
You don’t write a novel out of sheer pity any more than you blow a safe out of a vague longing to be rich. A certain ruthlessness and a sense of alienation from society is as essential to creative writing as it is to armed robbery.