Happy Birthday, Walter Mosley, born 12 January 1952.
On becoming a writer:
The Observer: How did you come to be a writer?
Mosley: I wrote a sentence. I was a computer programmer working for Mobil Oil. It was a Saturday. Nobody was there. I got tired of writing computer code and I wrote a sentence: ‘On hot sticky days in southern Louisiana, the fire ants swarm’. I wrote that and I said – because I’d read a lot of books in my life – I said, ‘You know, that’s a good enough sentence to be the beginning of a novel.’ And I started writing, and I have been writing ever since. I was about 34-35 at that time.
Quotes on Writing
- If you want to be a writer, you have to write every day… You don’t go to a well once but daily. You don’t skip a child’s breakfast or forget to wake up in the morning.
- I wake up, write three hours—a thousand words. The next day, I reread that thousand words I wrote yesterday. And then I write my next thousand words. And that goes on and on, until I get to the end of the novel.
- The job of the writer is to take a close and uncomfortable look at the world they inhabit, the world we all inhabit, and the job of the novel is to make the corpse stink.
- The first thing you have to know about writing is that it is something you must do every day. There are two reasons for this rule: Getting the work done and connecting with your unconscious mind.
- A man’s bookcase will tell you everything you’ll ever need to know about him.
- I’ve always loved science fiction. I think the smartest writers are science fiction writers dealing with major things.
- The process of writing a novel is like taking a journey by boat. You have to continually set yourself on course. If you get distracted or allow yourself to drift, you will never make it to the destination.
- I’ve written a lot of really good books. Now we’ll see if I can write any more good books. I mean there’s a chance I won’t, but I’m going to try.
- Poetry teaches us music, metaphor, condensation, and specificity.
- The reader is always looking for two things in the novel: themselves and transcendence.
- If you want to write believable fiction, you will have to cross over the line of your self-restraint and revel in the words and ideas that you would never express in your everyday life.
Walter Mosley is an American crime novelist. He has written a series of best-selling historical mysteries featuring the hard-boiled detective Easy Rawlins, a black private investigator and World War II veteran. They include the titles Devil in a Blue Dress and Little Scarlet.
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