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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Novelists as Children

I don't think people become novelists for the most part, unless they have experienced a peculiar distancing, which generally occurs in childhood or youth and makes the direct satisfactions of living unsatisfactory, so that they have to seek basic satisfactions indirectly through what we can loosely call art. What makes the verbal artist is some kind of shock or crippling or injury which puts the world once removed from him. He writes about it to take possession of it. We start out thinking we're writing about other people and end up realizing we're writing about ourselves.

Ross McDonald in Shoptalk, edited by Donald M. Murray, 1990 

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