Josef Breitenbach remembers being welcomed cordially, but with an apology from John Steinbeck that he must finish doing his laundry before the session might begin. Breitenbach, newly arrived in the U.S., had never before seen a washing machine, so Steinbeck invited him to the laundry room to see how such a thing worked. Steinbeck was followed everywhere by a pet that Breitenbach found appropriate to the writer’s simple and friendly presence: a large, scruffy sheepdog.
Francine du Plessix Gray, The Art of Fiction No. 96
A. R. Ammons: “Running a business is like writing a poem. In business, for example, you bring in the raw materials and then subject them to a certain kind of human change. You introduce the raw materials into a system of order, like the making of a poem, and once the matter is shaped it’s ready to be shipped.”
Elizabeth Spencer: “Writing is hard work and guarantees no security, no rewards or pensions—it can’t promise you anything. Bearing that in mind, you go ahead with it because you love it. Any art has the aspects of a love affair, lifelong.”
Dodie Bellamy: “Self-criticism comes in during gaps where I lose my focus, or sometimes when I’m up in front of a room giving a reading and I’m unexpectedly mortified, and there’s nothing else to do but to continue reading with an air of confidence while thinking, How could you write such sick fucking stuff?”