Styron, 1954

anthology_vol4_mediumA few favorite lines from William Styron’s 1954 interview with The Paris Review.  I would insert a *heart* emoticon here, but I don’t think Styron would like it.


Do you enjoy writing?  I certainly don’t.  I get a fine, warm feeling when I’m doing well, but that pleasure is pretty much negated by the pain of getting started each day.  Let’s face it, writing is hell.

And what time of the day do you find best for working?  The afternoon.  I like to stay up late at night and get drunk and sleep late.

Do you find you need seclusion?  The actual process of writing … demands complete, noiseless privacy, without even music; a baby howling two blocks away will drive me nuts.

How far removed must you be from your subject matter?  Pretty far.  I don’t think people can write immediately, and well, about an experience emotionally close to them.

What should be the purpose of a young writer?  To write, and he shouldn’t drink too much.  He shouldn’t think that after he’s written one book he’s God Almighty and air all his immature opinions in pompous interviews.  Let’s have another cognac.

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