I guess my life hasn’t always been happy, or easy, or exactly what I want. At a certain point, I just have to try not to think too much about certain things, or else they’ll break my heart.— Jonathan Franzen
The most sensitive Jonathan Franzen quotes that are little-known but priceless
The place of stillness that you have to go to to write, but also to read seriously, is the point where you can actually make responsible decisions, where you can actually engage productively with an otherwise scary and unmanageable world.
It's doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.
Nice people don't necessarily fall in love with nice people.
Integrity's a neutral value. Hyenas have integrity, too. They're pure hyena.
The personality susceptible to the dream of limitless freedom is a personality also prone, should the dream ever sour, to misanthropy and rage.
If multiculturalism succeeds in making us a nation of independently empowered tribes, each tribe will be deprived of the comfort of victimhood and be forced to confront human limitation for what it is: a fixture of life.
Fiction is a particularly effective way for strangers to connect across time and distance
And meanwhile the sad truth was that not everyone could be extraordinary, not everyone could be extremely cool; because whom would this leave to be ordinary?
The Mekons were kind of like the background music of my life.
What you discovered about yourself in raising children wasn't always agreeable or attractive.
Being dead's only a problem if you know you're dead, which you never do because you're dead!
Imagine that human existence is defined by an Ache: the Ache of our not being, each of us, the center of the universe; of our desires forever outnumbering our means of satisfying them.
It was a way of recognizing places of enchantment: people falling asleep like this.
We may freak out globally, but we suffer locally.
Nothing got inside the head without becoming pictures.
Remind me again what's wrong with Dave Matthews?" "Basically everything, except technical proficiency," Walter said. "Right." "But maybe especially the banality of the lyrics. 'Gotta be free, so free, yeah, yeah, yeah. Can't live without my freedom, yeah yeah.' That's pretty much every song.
This wasn't the person he'd thought he was, or would have chosen to be if he'd been free to choose, but there was something comforting and liberating about being an actual definite someone, rather than a collection of contradictory potential someones.
His tiredness hurt so much it kept him awake.
Readers and writers are united in their need for solitude, in their pursuit of substance in a time of ever-increasing evanescence: in their reach inward, via print, for a way out of loneliness.
I wrote two plotted books, got some of the fundamentals of storytelling down, then... it's sort of like taking the training wheels off, trying to write a book that's fun in the same way without relying on quite such mechanical or external beats.
When I finally gave up any hope of doing anything representative of the American family, I actually seemed to have tapped into other people's weirdness in that way.
I hate that word dysfunction.
Sounded to me like he had a pretty good idea what he was saying," Van replied, with surprisingly little anger. "It's a pity he had to overintellectualize like that. He did such good work, and then he had to go and intellectualize it.
It's not surprising to see in my own work, looking back, and in the work of some of my peers, an attention to family. It's nice to write a book that does tend toward significance and meaning, and where else are you sure of finding it?
It's very liberating for me to realize that I don't have to step up to the plate with a plot that involves the U.N. Security Council.
Our lives look a lot more interesting when they’re filtered through the sexy Facebook interface. We star in our own movies, we photograph ourselves incessantly, we click the mouse and a machine confirms our sense of mastery.
I used to think it was hard to write, and I still find the process more or less unpleasant, but if I know what I'm doing it rattles along, then the rewrite whips it into shape rather quickly.
It's just a matter of writing the kind of book I enjoy reading.
Something better be happening at the beginning, and then on every page after, or I get irritated.
He couldn't figure out if she was immensely well adjusted or seriously messed up.
THE CORRECTION, when it finally came, was not an overnight bursting of a bubble but a much more gentle letdown, a year-long leakage of value from key financial markets, a contraction too gradual to generate headlines and too predictable to seriously hurt anybody but fools and the working poor.
I really enjoy doing both, but I didn't write nonfiction until 1994.
And Silence of the Lambs is a really smart book.
I had a Viking sense of entitlement to whatever provisions I could plunder.
Since our technology is really just an extension of ourselves, we don’t have to have contempt for its manipulability in the way we might with actual people. It’s all one big endless loop. We like the mirror and the mirror likes us. To friend a person is merely to include the person in our private hall of flattering mirrors.
Brooklyn was like Philadelphia made better by its proximity to Manhattan.
Without privacy there was no point in being an individual.
There's a hazardous sadness to the first sounds of someone else's work in the morning; it's as if stillness experiences pain in being broken.
But as far as being popular, yeah, I think Dave Barry is really funny.
Family's the one thing you can't change.
You can cover yourself with tattoos. You can get a grapefruit-sized ring going through your earlobe. You can change your name. You can move to a different continent. But you cannot change who your parents were, and who your siblings are, and who your children are.
The world was ending then, it's ending still, and I'm happy to belong to it again.
Patty knew, in her heart, that he was wrong in his impression of her.
And the mistake she went to go on to make, the really big life mistake, was to go along with Walter's version of her in spite of knowing that it wasn't right. He seemed so certain of her goodness that eventually he wore her down.
I try to write things that can't be made into movies.
My novels have thwarted many attempts to film them and I think that was true of the essay, too. If you'd actually tried to be true to the essay, it would have been, perhaps, boring. So taking that narrow little cast of characters and expanding it out, that was what was exciting about the project for me.
If you're interested in how people behave, if you're interested in the way they talk about themselves, the way the conceive of themselves, it's very hard to ignore drugs nowadays, because that is so much part of the conversation.
If you want to have friends, you have to remember that nobody's perfect.
Every good writer I know needs to go into some deep, quiet place to do work that is fully imagined. And what the Internet brings is lots of vulgar data. It is the antithesis of the imagination. It leaves nothing to the imagination.
Popularity has become its own justification.
The figure of my father looms large in my imagination.
For every reader who dies today, a viewer is born, and we seem to be witnessing . . . the final tipping balance.
The problem with making a virtual world of oneself is akin to the problem with projecting ourselves onto a cyberworld: there’s no end of virtual spaces in which to seek stimulation, but their very endlessness, the perpetual stimulation without satisfaction, becomes imprisoning.