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Happy Birthday, Ivan Bunin, born 22 October 1870, died 8 November 1953
Life, arguably, is given to one only as a weapon for one’s contest with death, which man has to fight even beyond his grave. Death steals his name, yet he writes it on a cross or on a gravestone. She shrouds his lifetime with darkness, but again he resurrects his name using a written word.
It’s a terrible thing to say, but it’s the truth: if it were not for the misfortunes of the folk, thousands of our intellectuals would be profoundly unhappy people. What else would they have cried and written about? Without the folk, life would not have been life for them.
Words are one thing, deeds are quite another.
Everybody tends to read The Life of Arseniev as the account of my own life. That is not so. Reality is something that I am totally incapable of writing about directly. Even the heroine here is cooked up. But so immersed into her being I was that I came to believe in her, as if she were a real person, and so strong was that belief that I that couldn’t help crying as I was writing about her. She visited me in dreams, even.
Such things and deeds as are not written down are covered with darkness, and given over to the sepulchre of oblivion.
Bunin was the first Russian writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was known for his short novels, The Village and Dry Valley, and his novel The Life of Arseniev.
Happy Birthday, Patrick Kavanagh, born 21 October 1904, died 30 November 1967
A man innocently dabbles in words and rhymes and finds that it is his life.
My advice is this, do whatever pleases yourself. These things don’t matter. What does matter is that if you have anything worth while in you, any talent, you should deliver it. Nothing must turn you from that.
Women, never have got full credit for their bravery, they sacrifice everything to life.
The artist may hate his subject with that kind of furious enthusiastic hate which is a form of love, and which equally with love is a giver of life in literature.
Parochialism and provincialism are direct opposites. A provincial is always trying to live by other people’s loves, but a parochial is self-sufficient.
A man is original when he speaks the truth that has always been known to all good men.
The question of technique is not simply a matter of grammar and syntax or anything as easy as that. It has to do with the mystical. Real technique is a spiritual quality, a condition of mind, or an ability to invoke a particular condition of mind.
Malice is only another name for mediocrity.
A sweeping statement is the only statement worth listening to. The critic without faith gives balanced opinions, usually about second-rate writers.
To know fully even one field or one land is a lifetime’s experience. In the world of poetic experience it is depth that counts, not width. A gap in a hedge, a smooth rock surfacing a narrow lane, a view of a woody meadow, the stream at the junction of four small fields - these are as much as a man can fully experience.
Kavanaghwas an Irish poet and novelist. His best known works include the novel,Tarry Flynn and the poems, On Raglan Road and The Great Hunger.
Happy Birthday, Elfriede Jelinek, born 20 October 1946
Strictly speaking, there are no holidays for art; art pursues you everywhere, and that’s just fine with the artist.
He lies like a book. And he reads a lot of books.
As is said about most writers all I ever did from when I was a child was read, and I was a loner, which was furthered by my parents and my upbringing.
Very few women wait for Mr. Right. Most women take the first and worst Mr. Wrong.
I do not fight against men, but against the system that is sexist.
Every day, a piece of music, a short story, or a poem dies because its existence is no longer justified in our time. And things that were once considered immortal have become mortal again, no one knows them anymore. Even though they deserve to survive.
Art and order, the relatives that refuse to relate.
Only he who loves and is loved for his own sake can be happy, and what produces that happiness is not so much the sense of sexual communion as of two people being together … the sexual act viewed as a whole probably affords less happiness than a totally ordinary kiss or often indeed one simple word from the one you love.
Vice is basically the love of failure.
Happiness happens by chance, and is not a law or the logical consequences of actions.
Jelinek is an Austrian playwright and novelist. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2004.
Happy Birthday, Susan Straight, born 19 October 1960
Always listen. Voice and conversation and dialogue will come more easily if you listen closely – to the stories people tell you, even if offhand, and the conversations you overhear at the market, the hotel, the school. There are thousands of stories out there, but writers must be quiet.
After seven novels, I lately have started giving away my books — real books, printed on paper that has been sewn and bound. It’s not because no one wants to buy them but rather because so many young people still want to hold them, pass them around, write in them and see their own names on the first page. And they often can’t afford to buy books, much less imagine owning an e-reader.
I believe only fiction and cinema and photography and art and poetry allow us to fully inhabit someone else’s life, and only the novel allows the reader to be fully immersed in that world for days at a time.
The best advice I ever got from James Baldwin, one of my teachers – secondary characters are so much more important than you might think!
I take great pleasure in writing someone’s name in a book, because from the time I was 5 and walked three blocks from my house to the grocery store parking lot where the library bookmobile was parked every other week — browsing in that hot, narrow space with my fingers running down the spines of all those novels — I always wanted to keep one.
I can’t wait to get back to what I am working on, because I want to know what’s going to happen next in the story. It’s my great pleasure. I work and I teach and I have all these kids, but this is my great pleasure: the mystery of what is going to happen to all of these characters.