James Lee Burke

Literary Birthday – 5 December – James Lee Burke

Happy Birthday, James Lee Burke, born 5 December 1936.


  1. There’s nothing like rejection to make you do an inventory of yourself.
  2. I also figured out that what we call our destiny is usually determined by two or three casual decision which on the surface seem about as important as spitting your gum through a sewer grate.
  3. The best moments in life are not the kind many historians record.
  4. Using a first-person narrator is simply a matter of hearing the voice inside yourself.
  5. The only thing an artist has to remember is to never lose faith in his vision.
  6. You do it a day at a time. You write as well as you can, you put it in the mail, you leave it under submission, you never leave it at home.
  7. It has been my experience that most human stories are circular rather than linear. Regardless of the path we choose, we somehow end up where we commenced – in part, I suspect, because the child who lives in us goes along for the ride.
  8. We gain no wisdom by imposing our way on others.
  9. Writing is like being in love. You never get better at it or learn more about it. The day you think you do is the day you lose it. Robert Frost called his work a lover’s quarrel with the world. It’s ongoing. It has neither a beginning nor an end. You don’t have to worry about learning things. The fire of one’s art burns all the impurities from the vessel that contains it.
  10. Every rejection is incremental payment on your dues that in some way will be translated back into your work.

James Lee Burke is an American author. He is best known for creating his Dave Robicheaux character, who made his first appearance in the novel The Neon Rain, and who has been portrayed on screen by Alec Baldwin in Heaven’s Prisoners and Tommy Lee Jones in In the Electric Mist.

Source for image

Author’s website


by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 5th December 2014