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Russell Banks Quotes


An American writer of fiction and poetry.
(1940 - )

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A couple of years I taught in graduate programs at NYU and Columbia, in the early eighties.
 

Although I still occasionally paint and draw, my life has now been shaped by my writing.
 

And out of a desire essentially to imitate what I was reading, I began to write, like a clever monkey.
 

And there are people who want to be writers because they love to write. And they care.
 

But on the other hand, I don't actively seek out stories or hunt them down.
 

But really, it was reading that led me to writing. And in particular, reading the American classics like Twain who taught me at an early age that ordinary lives of ordinary people can be made into high art.
 

Chimpanzees are endangered. Severely.
 

First of all it's usually women who run these higher primate sanctuaries, rarely men. They are white. They come from privileged backgrounds. They are educated.
 

For almost anyone who chooses to be a writer, since so very few writers are able to learn a living from their work that is equivalent to the living earned by the average dentist or accountant.
 

I began as a boy with artistic talent... as a visual artist... I thought that was what I'd become and in my late teens drifted into reading serious literature.
 

I don't want it to be all that self-conscious or artificial, but it really grows out of my having invented myself as a listener so that I could hear her voice.
 

I much prefer working with kids whose life could be completely upended by a reading of a book over a weekend. You give them a book to read - they go home and come back a changed person. And that is so much more interesting and exciting.
 

If you dedicate your attention to discipline in your life you become smarter while you are writing than while you are hanging out with your pals or in any other line of work.
 

It's hard to spend years at a time working in total solitude with no reality-check.
 

John Brown first swam into my vision in the 1960s when I was a political activist in the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement at Chapel Hill, where I went to university.
 

Lists of books we reread and books we can't finish tell more about us than about the relative worth of the books themselves.
 

Motivations are too tangled and complex.
 

My major allegiance has been to storytelling, not to history.
 

Nobody does anything for one reason.
 

One of the things I have tried to do with this book and with all of them really is avoid that simple, easy, reductionist view of motivation and to show we do things for a complex net of reasons, a real braid of reasons.
 


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