Tobias Wolff Quotes


And you can tell the writers who do it - Robert Stone for example who with each new novel is doing something new. I appreciate that in other writers.

We each after a while have to become reconciled to what it is that our talents and appetites lead us to.

Reasons always came with a purpose to give the appearance of a struggle between principle and desire. Principle had power only until you found what you had to have.

You felt it as a depth of ease in certain boys their innate affable assurance that they would not have to struggle for a place in the world; that is already reserved for them.

I love Chekhov. I could go on all day about him.

Work for most people is really very social and the actual thinking is often done in community.

There are writers who do start doing the same thing again and again and almost inevitably fall into self-parody.

You have to be kind of clued into them they are a world of their own and most people find them disappointing because the best short stories are not constructed like novels.

The beauty of a fragment is that it still supports the hope of brilliant completeness.

Real maturity is the ability to imagine the humanity of every person as fully as you believe in your own humanity.

I was giving up--being realistic as people liked to say meaning the same thing. Being realistic made me feel bitter.

To be a writer you need to see things as they are and to see things as they are you need a certain basic innocence.

There's a joy in writing short stories a wonderful sense of reward when you pull certain things off.

A piece of writing is a dangerous thing " he said. "It can change your life.

One of the last courses I taught was on the Russian short story which I love.

Want! You must want something. What do you want?

But a lot of writers - and I'm one of them - do tend to feel dissatisfied. It makes you a little hard to live with but it's a goad and does keep you alert and restless.

One of the things that draws writers to writing is that they can get things right that they got wrong in real life by writing about them.

The human heart is a dark forest.

Anybody can be very destructive in that position without at all meaning to be and I know that I have been inadvertently destructive in the past for certain people on certain occasions.

One can imagine a world without essays. It would be a little poorer of course like a world without chess but one could live in it.

Most of us don't live lives that lend themselves to novelistic expression because our lives are so fragmented.

Most of us dont live lives that lend themselves to novelistic expression because our lives are so fragmented.

Memory is funny. Once you hit a vein the problem is not how to remember but how to control the flow.

Time which is your enemy in almost everything in this life is your friend in writing.

Fearlessness in those without power is maddening to those who have it.

You don't teach information in a writing workshop.

Because I don't have to be careful of people's feelings when I teach literature and I do when I'm teaching writing.

Writers cannot let themselves be servants of the official mythology. They have to whatever the cost say what truth they have to say.

Like so many writers I started writing stories because I didn't have much time for anything else.

It's probably why I'm a short story writer. I tend to remember things in the past in narrative form in story form and I grew up around people who told stories all the time.

The short story on the other hand is the perfect American form.

There's no right way to tell all stories only the right way to tell a particular story.

Everything has to be pulling weight in a short story for it to be really of the first order.

We are made to persist. that's how we find out who we are.

The reader really has to step up to the plate and read a short story.

I believe that the short story is as different a form from the novel as poetry is and the best stories seem to me to be perhaps closer in spirit to poetry than to novels.

I've allowed some of these points to stand because this is a book of memory and memory has its own story to tell. But I have done my best to make it tell a truthful story.