Happy Birthday, Will Self, born 26 September 1961
10 Will Self Quotes
- As a bookish adolescent, I sopped up texts as if I were blotting paper and they were fluid.
- A creative life cannot be sustained by approval any more than it can be destroyed by criticism.
- The high arts of literature and music stand in a curious relationship to one another, at once securely comfortable and deeply uneasy – rather like a long-term marriage.
- I always wanted to write fiction. Always. As far back as I can remember it’s been integral to my sense of myself – everything else was always a displacement activity.
- I prefer to write first drafts as soon as possible after waking, so that the oneiric inscape is still present to me.
- Once the working classes were in chains, now they’re in chain restaurants.
- From time to time, as if heaven-sent to annoy, someone will ask me if I’m self-disciplined when it comes to my work. I usually look witheringly at them and snarl, ‘What do you think?’ I mean, how do you imagine anyone writes a quarter of a million words a year for publication?
- I’m an anarchist. I’m implacably opposed to heirarchical systems of power and control. I also mistrust crowds, as they often operate according to their lowest common denominator. In terms of evolutionary psychology, the crowd is very close to a herd of stampeding wildebeest.
- I think of writing as a sculptural medium. You are not building things. You are removing things, chipping away at language to reveal a living form.
- A final word. Curious. Many years of reading many books has led me to a somewhat bizarre literary critical theory, namely that all significant texts are distinguished by the preponderance of a single word. In Alice’s adventures in Wonderland that word is ‘curious’ (In The Brothers Karamazov it’s ‘ecstasy’, but that needn’t concern us here.) The word ‘curious’ appears so frequently in Carroll’s text that it becomes a kind of tocsin awakening us from our reverie. But it isn’t the strangeness of Alice’s Wonderland that it reminds us of-it’s the bizarre incomprehensibility of our own.
Will Self is an English author, journalist and television personality. He has written nine novels, five collections of shorter fiction, three novellas and five collections of non-fiction writing. His best-known novel Umbrella was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
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