Literary Birthday – 11 February – Gordon Lish

Happy Birthday, Gordon Lish, born 11 February 1934.

Eight Quotes

  1. I see the notion of talent as quite irrelevant. I see instead perseverance, application, industry, assiduity, will, will, will, desire, desire, desire.
  2. It’s not what happens to people on the page; it’s about what happens to a reader in his heart and mind.
  3. Never be sincere – sincerity is the death of writing.
  4. I have come to be convinced that it is only the unbending observance of custom that sustains life in an urban circumstance.
  5. Don’t have stories; have sentences.
  6. It is necessary to attempt some kind of severance between ourselves and the noise that is everywhere thus. Is that doable? I don’t know that it is doable, but one makes the effort. We have to first be cocky enough; we have to first be solipsistic enough, to believe that our noise, the noise we hope to project, is the noise worth hearing.
  7. The secret of good writing is telling the truth.
  8. Wear your heart on the page, and people will read to find out how you solved being alive.

Gordon Lish is an American writer. As a literary editor, he championed many new American authors, including Raymond Carver, Barry Hannah, Amy Hempel, Rick Bass, and Richard Ford. His own works include What I Know So Far: Stories, Self-Imitation of Myself, and Dear Mr. Capote.

Click here if you want to see a photograph of the author.

by Amanda Patterson

Please click here for our Literary Birthday Calendar

Posted on: 11th February 2015