On Banning Books

We can prevent reading: but in the decree that forbids reading there will still be read something of the truth that we would wish never to be read

– Italo Calvino in “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler”

The Myth of Sisyphus

Every Western ideology promises some ultimate goal — a happy, a just, or a peaceful society. I don’t believe in that. We are things in flux. It may be that the stone always slides away from us and must be rolled back up again, but it’s something we must do; the stone belongs to us.

Gunter Grass in the Paris Review’s Art of Fiction No. 124

On Rebellion

One should not fear the rebel.  One should not be afraid of becoming a rebel himself.  To do something new has always been called rebellion…What is to be feared is the death of the spirit.  To believe only what one is taught to believe, to say only what one is taught to say, to do only what one is asked to do, to find security in life by existing formally like a doll poured from a model, to lose completely the idea of self confidence in ones independence and the belief in self-improvement – this is death of the spirit.  To live is to rebel.

– Tokutomi Roka, 1911, Japan

Good Narrative and Good Writing

I think good narrative comes from observing the world and what happens inside yourself. The opportunity to move in and out of two realities, your inner world and the world outside of you, is what I find fascinating about writing. If you just want to tell stories, there are other ways, other media, to do so.

– Laia Jufresa in BOMB Magazine

The Freedom of Anonymity

I personally feel that no one gives a shit about my books — maybe I’m just a pessimist — and that idea feels horrible and refreshing at the same time. I feel ignored and doomed to anonymity, but free to do whatever I want within the sacred space of literature. I can very easily forget about the world, which has forgotten about me since the beginning, and write my stuff to be at peace and to better understand myself and my surroundings, without trying to please anyone.

– Daniel Saldaña Paris in BOMB Magazine