Pearls from artists* # 198June 1, 2016
* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
The writer doesn’t need economic freedom. All he needs is a pencil and some paper. I’ve never known anything good in writing to come from having accepted any free gift of money. The good writer never applies to a foundation. He’s too busy writing something. If he isn’t first rate he fools himself by saying he hasn’t got time or economic freedom. Good art can come out of thieves, bootleggers, or horse swipes. People really are afraid to find out just how much hardship and poverty they can stand. They are afraid to find out how tough they are. Nothing can destroy the good writer. The only thing that can alter the good writer is death. Good ones don’t have time to bother with success or getting rich…
Nothing can injure a man’s writing if he’s a first-rate writer. If a man is not a first-rate writer, there’s not anything that can help it much. The problem does not apply if he is not first-rate, because he has already sold his soul for a swimming pool.
William Faulkner in Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews First Series, edited and with an introduction by Malcolm Cowley
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