Characters simply come and find me. They sit down, I offer them a coffee. They tell me their story and then they almost always leave. When a character, after drinking some coffee and briefly telling her story, wants dinner and then a place to sleep and then breakfast and so on, for me the time has come to write the novel. In a novel there’s not much autobiography. There are characters in transit. Naturally, I can project something of my experiences onto these characters, but they have their own autonomy, a personality that is often a mystery to me. I don’t always understand my characters. I write to understand them better.

Dacia Maraini

The Silence of the Outcasts: an interview with Dacia Maraini

Words without borders March 2008

life seems long and painful

January 10, 2019

I feel like we, in fact, live more than once, in multitudes. Like every moment, every day, every week, every month, every year. It’s almost forever. I know life seems long and painful sometimes, and short and painful other times. It’s a collection of experiences that only you have and each experience accumulates and is constantly expanding, like the universe. So I encourage you to keep an open mind about the largeness of your life because I’m excited about it and I hope you are too.

Sufjan Stevens
Prospect Park July 18th, 2017

Advice for new writers

January 21, 2018

I don’t think you should ever try to make things up. We all lead such strange lives that there is no need to. Use your own experiences and then twist it a bit. You should read what you have written out loud. I write a paragraph at a time and I walk up and down reading it out loud. It has to go te tum te dum te tum te dum. If it doesn’t, then there’s a word wrong. It hasn’t got rhythm, so I re-write it.

Beryl Bainbridge
Why I write