Literary Birthday – 8 March – Jeffrey Eugenides

Happy Birthday, Jeffrey Eugenides, born 8 March 1960.

Jeffrey Eugenides Quotes

  1. The daily act of writing remains as demanding and maddening as it was before, and the pleasure you get from writing – rare but profound – remains at the true heart of the enterprise. On their best days, writers all over the world are winning Pulitzers, all alone in their studios, with no one watching.
  2. I, even now, persist in believing that these black marks on white paper bear the greatest significance, that if I keep writing I might be able to catch the rainbow of consciousness in a jar.
  3. I like to write every day if I can. I tend to get up late and start at maybe 10 o’clock and work through the day until evening…I sort of have to keep it like a professional job. Like a 9-to-5 job, but seven days a week.
  4. What I do as a writer, I work with situations, characters, certain situations and characters that appeal to me. And then, I try to imagine them and write the story that seems to flow from them.
  5. I approach writing female characters the same why I approach writing male characters. I never think I’m writing about women, I think I’m writing about one woman, one person. And I try to imagine what she is like, and endow her with a lot of my own thoughts and history.
  6. I was directed because I knew I wanted to be a novelist, but I didn’t have a very good job or a way of getting published. I found those years to be among the most difficult of my life.
  7. I’m hopefully making the reader feel a lot about the characters and then about their own life.
  8. One of the reasons that art is important to me is sometimes it actually feels more coherent than life. It orders the chaos.
  9. There are some books that reached through the noise of life to grab you by the collar and speak only of the truest things.
  10. Basically what we have here is a dreamer. Somebody out of touch with reality. When she jumped, she probably thought she’d fly.
  11. I know that attaching memories to books may be going out of the world, but while it lasts, it’s a strong record of your life.
  12. I want an ending that’s satisfying. I’m more of a classical writer than a modernist one in that I want the ending to be coherent and feel like an ending. I don’t like when it just seems to putter out. I mean, life is chaotic enough.
  13. I always work in a room where there’s no Internet to keep from being distracted so easily.
  14. I was aware that you weren’t supposed to write about suburbia, that it was undignified in some way, the subject matter not momentous enough. And so, for a long time, that kept me from writing about it. But once I began, I realised it was just as interesting as anywhere else.
  15. The mind self-edits. The mind airbrushes. It’s a different thing to be inside a body than outside. From outside, you can look, inspect, compare. From inside there is no comparison.
  16. Maybe the best proof that the language is patriarchal is that it oversimplifies feeling.

Jeffrey Eugenides is an American Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and short story writer. He is the author of The Virgin Suicides, Middlesex, and The Marriage Plot.

Source for image: Ubud Writers Festival, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 8th March 2013