Even those who write against fame wish for the fame of having written well, and those who read their works desire the fame of having read them.
Take care that you never spell a word wrong. Always before you write a word, consider how it is spelled, and, if you do not remember, turn to a dictionary. It produces great praise to a lady to spell well.
I was born to be an editor, I always edit everything. I edit my room at least once a week. Hotels are made for me. I can change a hotel room so thoroughly that even its proprietor doesn’t recognize it…. I edit people’s clothes, dressing them infallibly in the right lines…. I change everyone’s coiffure — except those that please me — and these I gaze at with such satisfaction that I become suspect, I edit people’s tones of voice, their laughter, their words. I change their gestures, their photographs. I change the books I read, the music I hear … It’s this incessant, unavoidable observation, this need to distinguish and impose, that has made me an editor. I can’t make things. I can only revise what has been made.
Living gives you a better understanding of life. I would hope that my characters have become deeper and more rounded personalities. Wider travels have given me considerably greater insight into how cultural differences affect not only people, but politics and art.
Writing has laws of perspective of light and shade just as painting does or music. If you are born knowing them fine. If not learn them. Then rearrange the rules to suit yourself.
If you believe as the Greeks did that man is at the mercy of the gods then you write tragedy. The end is inevitable from the beginning. But if you believe that man can solve his own problems and is at nobody’s mercy then you will probably write melodrama.
It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything.
Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.
Writing is a voice that calls us from dreams that peeks out of the corner of our eyes when we think no one is looking the longing that breaks our hearts even when we think we should be happiest and to which we cannot give a name.
I have trusted to my intuition to find the subjects, and I have written intuitively. I have an idea when I start, I have a shape; but I will fully understand what I have written only after some years.