Literary Birthday – 22 July – David Shields

Happy Birthday, David Shields, born 22 July 1956.

Nine Quotes

  1. Anything processed by memory is fiction.
  2. Writing was, and in a way still is, very bound up for me with stuttering. Writing represented/represents the possibility of turning ‘bad language’ into ‘good language’. I now have much more control over my stutter.
  3. You’re one of 6.5 billion people now on the planet, and 99.9 percent of your genes are the same as everyone else’s.
  4. Isn’t everyone’s project, on some level, to offer tentative theses regarding what—if anything—we’re doing here? Against death, in other words, what solace, what consolation, what bulwark?
  5. Story seems to say that everything happens for a reason and I want to say, No, it doesn’t.
  6. When I’m having trouble writing something, I often close the document and compose the passage as email to, say, my friend Michael. I imagine I can feel the tug of the recipient at the other end of the wire, and this creates in me a needed urgency.
  7. Our culture is obsessed with real events because we experience hardly any.
  8. Most novels’ glacial pace isn’t remotely congruent with the speed of our lives and our consciousness of these lives.
  9. I don’t know what’s the matter with me, why I’m so adept at distance, why I feel so remote from things, why life feels like a rumour.

David Shields is an American author of non-fiction and fiction. His works include The Thing About Life Is That One Day You’ll Be Dead and Reality Hunger: A Manifesto. Visit

Source for photograph: Photo by Tom Collicott

Amanda Patterson by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 22nd July 2015