Literary Birthday – 6 January – E. L. Doctorow

E.L. Doctorow was born 6 January 1931 and died 21 July 2015.

E.L. Doctorow: Top 10 Quotes On Writing

  1. Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.
  2. Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
  3. Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader — not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.
  4. I am telling you what I know — words have music and if you are a musician you will write to hear them.
  5. Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.
  6. Writers are not just people who sit down and write. They hazard themselves. Every time you compose a book your composition of yourself is at stake.
  7. Stories distribute the suffering so that it can be borne.
  8. I don’t have a style, but the books do. Each demands its own method of presentation, and I like that. My theory about why Hemingway killed himself is that he heard his own voice; that he reached the point where he couldn’t write without feeling he was repeating himself. That’s the worst thing that can happen to a writer.
  9. A novelist is a person who lives in other people’s skins.
  10. The writer isn’t made in a vacuum. Writers are witnesses. The reason we need writers is because we need witnesses to this terrifying century.

E. L. Doctorow was an American author. He began his career as a reader at Columbia Pictures, then became an editor for New American Library in the early 1960s. He worked as chief editor at Dial Press from 1964 to 1969. The publication of The Book of Daniel in 1971 brought him literary acclaim. His next book, Ragtime was a commercial and critical success. He was awarded many honours, including the National Book Award, three National Book Critics Circle Awards, and two PEN Faulkner Award.

Source for Image: Slowking4, GFDL 1.2 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 6th January 2013