So that individuation may be compared to a pyramid in that it is only achieved by the placement of the top stone… The Jews, Ford said. They ain't like anyone else I know. There goes you theory up shits creek. He smiled.— E. L. Doctorow
The most delicious E. L. Doctorow quotes that will activate your inner potential
Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.
Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.
You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can see the whole trip that way.
The three most important documents a free society gives are a birth certificate, a passport, and a library card.
Writing is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as the headlights, but you make the whole trip that way.
Writers are not just people who sit down and write.
They hazard themselves. Every time you compose a book your composition of yourself is at stake.
Because like all whores you value propriety.
You are creature of capitalism, the ethics of which are so totally corrupt and hypocritical that your beauty is no more than the beauty of gold, which is to say false and cold and useless.
Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you're doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.
All over the world today, not just in the totalitarian countries, assiduous functionaries in Ministries of Truth are clubbing history dumb and rendering language insensible.
In the twentieth century one of the most personal relationships to have developed is that of the person and the state. It's become a fact of life that governments have become very intimate with people, most always to their detriment.
I am led to the proposition that there is no fiction or nonfiction as we commonly understand the distinction: there is only narrative.
There is no longer any such thing as fiction or nonfiction; there's only narrative.
Writing a novel is like driving a car at night.
Sometimes you run over a drunk who's lain down and fallen asleep on the warm pavement. I mean, do you keep going, or what?
Like art and politics, gangsterism is a very important avenue of assimilation into society.
The act of composition is a series of discoveries.
I like commas. I detest semi-colons — I don’t think they belong in a story. And I gave up quotation marks long ago. I found I didn’t need them, they were fly-specks on the page.
I try to avoid experience if I can. Most experience is bad.
The theory for admitting accomplice testimony that is uncorroborated is that conspiracy is by its nature secretive and that only the parties to it can know it occurred. But in practice this means the accomplice's guilt is modified to the degree that he can convict the defendant.
The writer isn't made in a vacuum. Writers are witnesses. The reason we need writers is because we need witnesses to this terrifying century.
One of the things I had to learn as a writer was to trust the act of writing.
To put myself in the position of writing to find out what I was writing.
Planning to write is not writing.
I am often asked the question How can the masses permit themselves to be exploited by the few. The answer is By being persuaded to identify with them.
The voice of the Constitution is the inescapably solemn self-consciousness of the people giving the law unto themselves.
Longing, the hope for fulfillment, is the one unwavering passion of the world's commerce.
Things that appear on the front page of the newspaper as 'fact' are far more dangerous than the games played by a novelist, and can lead to wars.
And so do people pass out of one's life and all you can remember of them is their humanity, a poor fitful thing of no dominion, like your own.
And though the newspapers called the shooting the Crime of the Century, Goldman knew it was only 1906 and there were ninety-four years to go.
A novelist is a person who lives in other people's skins.
It was evident to him that the world composed and recomposed itself constantly in an endless process of dissatisfaction.
If you feel a bump on page one hundred, it may be you went off on page fifty.
Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you're doing - none of that is writing. Writing is writing. Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
Communists have no respect for people, only for positions.
I have been everywhere because I don't know what I'm looking for.
It is the immigrant hordes who keep this country alive, the waves of them arriving year after year.... Who believes in America more than the people who run down the gangplank and kiss the ground?
We dress them [children] in the presumptions of the world.
They are the bright small face of hope. They are the last belief we have, the belief in making them believe.
I did have a feeling then that the culture of factuality was so dominating that storytelling had lost all its authority.
There is really no fiction or non-fiction;
there is only narrative. One mode of perception has no greater claim on the truth than the other; that the distance has perhaps to do with distance - narrative distance - from the characters; it has to do with the kind of voice that is talking, but it certainly hasn't to do with the common distribution between fact and imagination.
I thought of myself as a writer for years before I got around to writing anything.
Implications of treason are fed like cubes of sugar to the twelve-headed animal which is justice. In ... opening remarks. In the way questions are asked. In support of lines of questioning where cases of treason are cited and the Judge endorses the relevance of the citation.
I worry about images. Images are what things mean.
Congress is so beholden to the money that any solution in the general interest will be frustrated and subverted by the corporate interests who feel they will be damaged by progress, fair play and justice.
I've always felt, as a writer, that radicals are fascinating because they're relations, they have a place in the American family. They're the relatives everyone wishes would go away. They're the embarrassments to decorum and good taste.
It proposed that human beings, by the act of making witness, warranted times and places for their existence other than the time and place they were living through.
I am telling you what I know—words have music and if you are a musician you will write to hear them.
We are all good friends. Friendship is what endures. Shared ideals, respect for the whole character of a human being.
I've known several cases of writers who decide to write about something and they research the hell out of it and when they're ready to write, they can't move because they are so burdened. I start writing. Whatever I need somehow comes to hand.
What we call fiction is the ancient way of knowing, the total discourse that antedates all the special vocabularies....Fiction is democratic, it reasserts the authority of the single mind to make and remake the world.
The difference between Socrates and Jesus is that no one had ever been put to death in Socrates' name. And that is because Socrates' ideas were never made law. Law, in whatever name, protects privilege.
You can't remember sex. You can remember the fact of it, and recall the setting, and even the details, but the sex of the sex cannot be remembered, the substantive truth of it, it is by nature self-erasing, you can remember its anatomy and be left with a judgment as to the degree of your liking of it, but whatever it is as a splurge of being, as a loss, as a charge of the conviction of love stopping your heart like your execution, there is no memory of it in the brain, only the deduction that it happened and that time passed, leaving you with a silhouette that you want to fill in again.
Dad is always hiding in his book.
A novel is a printed circuit through which flows the force of a reader's own life.