I try not to become too regular an addict of any one subculture.— Jonathan Lethem
The most successful Jonathan Lethem quotes that are little-known but priceless
I never take any notes or draw charts or make elaborate diagrams, but I hold an image of the shape of a book in my head and work from that mental hologram.
I've never related to the work geek at all-it sounds much more horrible than nerd. Like a freak biting a chicken's head off in a sideshow.
I learned to write fiction the way I learned to read fiction - by skipping the parts that bored me.
Tourette's is just one big lifetime of tag, really.
The world (or my brain---same thing) appoints me it, again and again. So I tag back. Can it do otherwise? If you've ever been it you know the answer.
I work on a laptop specifically so I can work in cafes and pretend I'm part of the human world.
I want what we all want," said Carl. "To move certain parts of the interior of myself into the exterior world, to see if they can be embraced.
What age is a black boy when he learns he's scary?
I can't bear the silent ringing in my skull.
It was only as I wrote about it that I began to find paths of access to feelings that were intolerable to me then.
Some people have things written all over their faces;
the big guy had a couple of words misspelled in crayon on his.
The arts and a belief in the values of the civil rights movement, in the overwhelming virtue of diversity, these were our religion. My parents worshipped those ideals.
My heart and the elevator, a plummet inside a plummet.
...Don't rupture another's illusion unless you're positive the alternative you offer is more worthwhile than that from which you're wrenching them. Interrogate your solipsism: Does it offer any better a home than the delusions you're reaching to shatter?
I have no one to blame for the construction for myself, of course, but I'm always surprised and slightly sulky when I realizeВ people are buying the whole thing.
I'd have been a filmmaker or a cartoonist or something else which extended from the visual arts into the making of narratives if I hadn't been able to shift into fiction.
I’ve always been uninterested in boundaries or quarantines between tastes and types, between mediums and genres.
I keep one simple rule that I only move in one direction - I write the book straight through from beginning to end. By following time's arrow, I keep myself sane.
I'm a firm believer that there are no rules in art. Every trajectory is different.
Art is about eliminating almost everything in order to focus on the thing that you need to talk about.
I've had the odd good luck of starting slowly and building gradually, something few writers are allowed anymore. As a result I've seen each of my books called the breakthrough. And each was, in its way.
I had always wanted to be a writer who confused genre boundaries and who was read in multiple contexts.
There were days when no kid came out of his house without looking around.
The week after Halloween had a quality both hungover and ominous, the light pitched, the sky smashed against the rooftops.
Fantastic writing in English is kind of disreputable, but fantastic writing in translation is the summit.
The kernel, the soul - let us go further and say the substance, the bulk, the actual and valuable material of all human utterances - is plagiarism.
Nerds are just deep, and neurotic, fans. Needy fans. We're all nerds, on one subject or another.
When the civil rights battle was won, all the Jews and hippies and artists were middle class white people and all the blacks were still poor. Materially, not much changed.
I plan less and less. It's a great benefit of writing lots, that you get good at holding long narratives in your head like a virtual space.
I don't paint anymore. I haven't since I abandoned it at 19, in order to begin writing seriously.
To the resentment that hides inside love, to the loneliness that hides among companions.
I've always been passionately in love with movies, to such a degree that even as a young person of about nineteen or twenty I thought maybe I would try to become a film director. The reason I didn't do it was because I felt I didn't have the right personality. At that time in my life, I was mortally shy.
The book is openly a kind of spiritual autobiography, but the trick is that on any other level it's a kind of insane collage of fragments of memory.
Discomfort is very much part of my master plan.
As much as I revere great writing, and am still humbled by it, literary activities are no longer esoteric to me. When I read a great novel - something that I could never have written myself - I'm still looking at it a little bit like a technician.
My fiction has been influenced by the visual arts, though not in obvious ways, it seems to me. I don't offer tremendous amounts of visual information in my work.
The more film I watch, the more John Ford looks like a giant.
His politics aren't so good, and you have to learn to accept John Wayne as an actor, but he's a poet in black and white.
It was good while it was good.
Teenage life - possibly adult life too is all about what you want and can’t have. And then about what you receive and misuse.
I guess they needed a maze in Japan, where everything's neat and tidy.
In America everybody's already wandering around lost.
Once you fall into habits, I think, you're dead as an artist.
You have to challenge yourself and never rest on your laurels, never think about what you've done in the past.
what exactly is postmodernism, except modernism without the anxiety?
I prefer old books and find them more relevant.
I dislike new books. It's like drinking wine that's not ready.
Comics? Honestly, that's more a matter of nostalgia for me.
I think most of that energy has gone to my love of literature and my love of film.
Writing is a necessity and often a pleasure, but at the same time, it can be a great burden and a terrible struggle.
I believe that written stories will continue to survive because they answer an essential human need. I think movies might disappear before the novel disappears, because the novel is really one of the only places in the world where two strangers can meet on terms of absolute intimacy.
The computer is the way I'm making books, but I still think about the physical properties. I visualize the length of a book, the proportions of a book, in material terms.
Poetry is supposed to be musical. But people don't understand prose. They're so used to reading journalism - clunky, functional sentences that convey factual information - facts, more than just the surfaces of things.
What's beautiful about art is that it circumscribes a space, a physical and mental space. If you try to put the entire world into every page, you turn out chaos.
Artists freeze themselves into these weird postures that are meant to be impressive and involving, then they fling them out into the world like Polaroids, and then they move on. And I'm stuck in this intense relationship to the Polaroid.
It was often this way, life consisted of a series of false beginnings, bluff declarations of arrival to destinations not even glimpsed.