Literary Birthday – 3 February – Paul Auster

Happy Birthday, Paul Auster, born 3 February 1947.


  1. The story is not in the words; it’s in the struggle
  2. For some reason, all my characters come to me with their names attached to them. I never have to search for the names.
  3. The truth of the story lies in the details.
  4. Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice: reading for the pure pleasure of it, for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an author’s words reverberating in your head.
  5. Stories only happen to those who are able to tell them.
  6. The pen will never be able to move fast enough to write down every word discovered in the space of memory. Some things have been lost forever, other things will perhaps be remembered again, and still other things have been lost and found and lost again. There is no way to be sure of any this.
  7. One should never underestimate the power of books.
  8. We construct a narrative for ourselves, and that’s the thread that we follow from one day to the next. People who disintegrate as personalities are the ones who lose that thread.
  9. I like the sound a typewriter makes.
  10. When a person is lucky enough to live inside a story, to live inside an imaginary world, the pains of this world disappear. For as long as the story goes on, reality no longer exists.
  11. Memory is the space in which a thing happens for a second time.
  12. Writing is a solitary business. It takes over your life. In some sense, a writer has no life of his own. Even when he’s there, he’s not really there.
  13. I’ve always written by hand. Mostly with a fountain pen, but sometimes with a pencil – especially for corrections.
  14. I think it’s a very good thing to leave your country and look at it from afar.
  15. We all want to believe in impossible things, I suppose, to persuade ourselves that miracles can happen.

Paul Auster is an American author and director whose writing includes works such as The New York Trilogy, 4 3 2 1The Book of Illusions, and The Brooklyn Follies.

Source for Image: By David Shankbone – Shankbone, CC BY 3.0,

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 3rd February 2015

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