Literary Birthday – 12 January – Walter Mosley

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. A man’s bookcase will tell you everything you’ll ever need to know about him.
  6. I’ve always loved science fiction. I think the smartest writers are science fiction writers dealing with major things.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Poetry teaches us music, metaphor, condensation, and specificity.
  10. The reader is always looking for two things in the novel: themselves and transcendence.
  11. 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.

Source for Quote / Image from author’s website with permission: Credit Marcia Wilson

Amanda Patterson

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 12th January 2014