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Writers on Writing: Selected Quotations

FAME

A character in B. Traven’s story, “The Night Visitor,” who has written several books he has chosen not to publish, contemplates fame: “What is fame, after all? It stinks to hell and heaven. Today I am famous. Today my name is printed on the front page of all the papers in the world. Tomorrow perhaps fifty people can still spell my name correctly. Day after tomorrow I may starve to death and nobody cares. That’s what you call fame.”


Most people who become suddenly famous overnight will find that they lose practically eighty percent of their friends. Your old friends just can’t stand it for some reason. Truman Capote

Fame invades your private life. It takes away from the time that you spend with friends, and the time that you can work. It tends to isolate you from the real world. Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Fame is a kind of death because it arrests life around the person in the public eye. If one is recognized everywhere, one begins to feel like Medusa. People stop their normal life and actions and freeze into staring manikins. “We can never catch people or life unawares,” as I wrote to my mother, in an outburst of frustration. “It is always looking at us.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Learn to spot and avoid “writer groupies.” The writer’s self-sufficiency and our love for our work tend to attract insecure people who never can get enough love. They grow jealous of our work and come to regard it as a rival. These people can destroy you, so kick them out of your life or don’t admit them in the first place. Florence King

People say, “Well, you went on television, it enlarged your readership.” It did not at all, not at all. I might as well tell you, I lost some readership, because the profound audience felt somehow bothered by my too easy manner. Jerzy Kosinski

Every time a story about me appears in a newspaper, I am injured professionally. Norman Mailer

One bulls-eye and you’re rich and famous. The rich get more famous and the famous get rich. You’re the talk of the town….The sense of so much depending on success is very hard to ignore, perhaps impossible. It leads to disproportionate anxiety and disproportionate relief or disappointment. Tom Stoppard

I never cease to be amazed why some of my friends became famous and others, just as talented, didn’t. I’ve come to suspect it’s a matter of wanting fame or not, and those who don’t want it, don’t get it. Malcolm Cowley

I have come to regard this matter of fame as the most transparent of all vanities. Herman Melville

A writer is nothing but a gray dirt-covered root. The works he sends up into the sunlight are his fruits, and only those are worthy of attention. Herman Woulk

Of all the questions I’m asked, the most difficult is, “How does it feel to be famous?” Since I’m not, that question always catches me with a feeling of surrealism….I’ve got three kids and I’ve changed all their diapers, and when it’s two o’clock in the morning and you’re changing something that’s sort of special delivery with one eye open and one eye shut you don’t feel famous. Stephen King

The fame thing is interesting because I never wanted to be famous, and I never dreamt I would be famous….You know I didn’t think they’d rake through my bins, I didn’t expect to be photographed on the beach through long lens. I never dreamt it would impact my daughter’s life negatively, which at times it has. It would be churlish to say there’s nothing good about being famous; to have a total stranger walk up to you as you’re walking around Safeways, and say a number of nice things that they might say about your work. J. K. Rowling

Whatever fame a novelist my attain, it’s always kind of an anonymous one. I can go anywhere, and no one knows who I am…. Jonathan Kellerman

You write one book and you’re ready for fame and fortune. I don’t know that people are spending the time and attention on learning how to write—which takes years. Everybody sees the success stories. Sue Grafton


This page was last updated on: Tuesday, January 22, 2008

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A. James Fisher
Dept. of Political Science & Criminal Justice, 146 Hendricks Hall
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro, PA 16444
e-mail: jfisher@edinboro.edu blog: http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com

								

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