The smartest thing I did in law school: asking my future wife to go out dancing with me. The smartest thing I did when practicing law: quitting. The smartest thing I've done in writing: following my own head and writing what I wanted to write, and nothing but.

— Ben Fountain

The most massive Ben Fountain quotes that are guaranted to improve your brain

You have the mainstream bourgeois life of the U.

S., Europe, the "developed" world - the life of technology, education, mortgages, careers, a certain level of physical comfort - while on the other hand, several billion people on the planet exist on less than a dollar a day. That's a huge and terrible reality to get your head around.

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It took me 10 years to write a story that pleased me - that I could look at after it was published and not cringe.

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It is sort of weird being honored for the worst day of your life.

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I took two fiction-writing courses in college and majored in literature.

I felt that I had a knack though I wouldn't go so far as to call it a talent. But it scared me. I felt it was a childish thing wanting to write and that I would forget about it eventually.

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I got brilliant stories from people who'd never set foot in an MFA program and had published very little, and terrible stories from people who'd published a lot and had all the credentials. It was all over the map and that was part of the fun.

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I never listen to music when I'm writing.

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Late bloomer' is another way of saying 'slow learner.

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Americans are incredibly polite as long as they get what they want.

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There was no such thing as perfection in this world, only moments of such extreme transparency that you forgot yourself, a holy mercy if there ever was one.

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Maybe the light's at the other end of the tunnel.

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It's amazing what happens when you stick yourself in a place and let things take their more or less natural course.

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You'd think family would be the one sure thing in life, the gimme? Points you got just for being born? So much thick, meaty stuff bound you to these people, so many interlocking spirals of history, genetics, common cause, and struggle that it should be the most basic of all drives, that you would strive to protect and love one another, yet this bond that should be the big no-brainer was in fact the hardest thing.

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About Ben Fountain

Quotes 35 sayings
Profession Fiction writer
Birthday 1958

By the end of the first decade of writing, I considered myself a confirmed failure in the eyes of the world.

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Haiti is unique - the first successful slave revolt in history, the first black republic etc., and then when you get into the culture, the voodoo, and that wonderful synchretization of Christian and African belief and symbology, it's like nothing the world has ever seen.

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I think I was lucky to come of age in a place and time - the American South in the 1960s and '70s - when the machine hadn't completely taken over life. The natural world was still the world, and machines - TV, telephone, cars - were still more or less ancillary, and computers were unheard of in everyday life.

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The funny thing is, about the time I let go of any aspiration toward worldly success, that's about the time I started writing decent work.

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I kept going back while I was writing the novel - which never sold, may it rest in peace - and by the time it was finished I had too many connections to Haiti to walk away.

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A person deprived of beauty and pleasure puts me in mind of the Haitian notion of a zombie - a person disconnected from his or her soul, a person who works for others' profit but never his own, a person who mindlessly does the bidding of the boss and exists in an emotional and mental limbo.

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I'm ashamed and embarrassed to say that I've read very little of David Foster Wallace's work. It's a huge gap in my education, one of many.

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If a person wants to be of any use to himself, he better insist on getting his fair share of beauty and pleasure, and if there's something about the system that's keeping him from getting his share, then I think he's well within his rights to fight to change that.

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The Kessler Theater is one such gem, an Art Deco beauty … for a slice of real life, there’s always the Kessler.

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I realized I was never going to have any peace with myself unless I made an honest stab at trying to write.

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Somewhere along the way America became a giant mall with a country attached.

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I think if you spend much time dwelling on influence you can get self-conscious about every line you write. That's a great way to freeze up.

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I quit law in 1988 to start writing, and it took me 17 years from that point to get a book contract. I guess you can say I was on the slow train.

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I'm a writer, not an editor, and though the editing rarely cut into my writing time, it did take away from that walking-around-thinking-about-it-when-you're-not-thinking-about-it time that I think is important for writers. When you're half-thinking about what you're working on while driving, cooking . . . just letting things sift and settle, come to you.

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I have a horror of being self-indulgent and wasting time, and there is that risk in doing this kind of work. Are you totally deluded in sitting down at a desk every day and trying to write something? Is it self-indulgent, or might it possibly lead to something worthwhile? At a certain point I decided to keep on because I felt like the work was getting better, and I was taking great pleasure in that.

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I started publishing stories in small magazines early on, but after seven or eight or nine years you feel like you need a little more than that to show for your efforts.

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Eruptions of talent continue to happen in Haiti, in spite of everything.

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From about the age of 15 or 16 I'd had the notion that I wanted to write fiction, and I'd done enough in college to satisfy myself that I had a knack for it - I wouldn't call it "talent" - though I wondered if I'd ever have the guts to actually commit to it.

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If you want to write, then write; if you don't want to write, then don't write. I fell into the former category, and I just made the decision that I'd keep on because I liked it and might someday do something decent.

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If you could figure out how to live with family then you'd gone a long way toward finding your peace.

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I really had to decide why I was writing.

I had no interest in going back to law; I very briefly - for about six hours - considered going to get my MBA, but in the end, I realized that the only work I really wanted to do was write.

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I thought when I started writing that I'd have a book out in four or five years, and as it became apparent that that wasn't going to happen, I became increasingly frustrated and unsure of myself.

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