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Steve Almond Quotes

Steve Almond

Steve Almond quotes: words of wisdom from the short story writer.

“The single biggest reason I got my stories taken in various literary magazines—and I want to stress this—is because I refused to give up. Period.”

“We live in a society that puts a high premium on success and I learned, mainly through my dad, that salvation would come through success.”

“To look at the work of your peers, and learn how to explain with kindness and precision, the nature of their mistakes is, in fact, how you learn to diagnose your own work.”

“A good teacher, after all, wields the authority of a parent with none of the psychological baggage. The best of them are semi-mysterious figures whose wisdom seems boundless and whose approval helps us discover who we are.”

“I know social media is just a tool, but we’ve been using it in a way that has transformed us from a nation into an audience.”

“No time at the keyboard is wasted.”

“But the real life of a writer resides in showing up at the keyboard every day, with the necessary patience and mercy, and making the best decisions you can on behalf of your people. It’s a slow process. It often feels hopeless, more like an affliction than an art form. Most of us will have to find our readers one by one, in other words, and against considerable resistance. If anything qualifies us as heroic, it’s that private perpetual struggle. Put down the magazine, soldier. Forget about the other guy. Remember who you are.”

“Your job as a writer is to listen well. Everyone telling a story is inevitably circling back to the things that obsess them. If you let people talk long enough they will tell you what they want to tell you. They will reveal themselves.”

“Include what matters early. Two questions we always start a story with are, who do we care about and what do they care about?”

“There are things about yourself that you might just not want to reveal… yet. Keep building your muscles when it comes to revealing yourself on the page.”

“Our job, then, is two-fold: to focus on our own failings as writers. But also to speak more forcefully as advocates for literature. Books are a powerful antidote for loneliness, for the moral purposelessness of the leisure class. It’s our job to convince the 95% of people who don’t read books, who instead medicate themselves in front of screens, that literary art isn’t some esoteric tradition, but a direct path to meaning, to an understanding of the terror that lives beneath our consumptive ennui.”

“Narration, after all, isn’t just a literary function. It represents the human capacity to tell stories in such a manner that they yield meaning.”

“Sad and funny often travel together. Back off and recognize the humor of the moment. Humor is not the opposite of sadness. It’s a cloak.”

“Humor has to serve an emotional purpose. It’s not enough to be making jokes. You have to be emotionally committed to telling the truth, as well.”

“Something is funny, most of all, because it’s true, and because the velocity of insight into this truth exceeds our normal standards. Something is funny because it’s outside our accepted boundary of decorum. Something is funny because it defies our expectations. Something is funny because it offers a temporary reprieve from the hardship of seeing the world as it actually is. Something is funny because it is able to suggest gently that even the worst of our circumstances and sins is subject to eventual mercy.”

“We need books because we are all, in the private kingdoms of our hearts, desperate for the company of a wise, true friend.”

“I want to view my own efforts to write a novel as a function of my own artistic aspirations rather than a good career move. And I need to learn how to commit to characters for a longer time, to confront the limits of my own capacities for attention and compassion. That’s what a writing career does, in the best instance: it allows you to keep after what you can’t do.”

“If you can stand it, play the long game. What I mean here is that you have to remain committed to the ultimate goal, which isn’t to win the immediate approval of the online world, or dazzle a workshop, but to improve your storytelling day by day. Finding the right balance of feedback—encouragement versus vigorous criticism—will help immeasurably. But your own commitment has to be to the process of improvement, not to the anticipated reward.”

“Authors should be as involved with the marketing of their books as they want to be. No more, no less. I happen to recognized, quite early on, that no one was going to buy my book if I didn’t do everything I could to let them know that the book existed.”

“The consensus was that I was an elitist, which is a right-wing term for someone smarter than you.”

“I love reading. I love being able to talk to an audience. When I’m in front of an audience, I’m on a mission to get people to read more. My book, any book, whatever. Just to get them to think about their internal lives a bit.”

“Time is a track that loops back on itself, where memories rattle like tin trains. How had I been spending my days, but in the whirl of memories?”

“God was, to me, a lovely dream, a brave make-believe daddy who provided comforting answers to those who couldn’t bear the prevailing evidence.”

“if you see suffering in the world, part of your job as a human being is to be a little bit responsible for alleviating that suffering in whatever way you can.”

“We don’t choose our freaks, they choose us. We may not understand why we freak on a particular food or band or sports team. We may have no conscious control over our allegiances, but they arise from our most scared fears and desires and, as such, they represent the truest expression of ourselves.”

“You’ve got all these parents who are projecting their pathologies of fear onto their kids and those kids are understandably messed up. Tragedies happen and that you have to allow kids to experience their own fear and guilt and sorrow. It’s the cover-up that really screws people over.”

“No one lives happily ever after. We live complicatedly ever after.”

“Despair is a form of hope. It is an acknowledgment of the distance between ourselves and our appointed happiness. At certain moments, it is reason enough to live.”

“Buying sh*t isn’t enough. What we wish for in our secret hearts is self-expression, the chance to reveal ourselves and to be loved for this revelation—devoured by love.”

“We should proceed in a spirit of humility, with the awareness that nobody has the franchise on truth. Tell the truth, but aim for mercy.”

“We are all, in the private kingdom of our hearts, desperate for the company of a wise, true friend. Someone who isn’t embarrassed by our emotions, or her own, who recognizes that life is short and all that we have to offer, in the end, is love.”

“At the end of night, before you close your eyes, be content with what you’ve done and be proud of who you are.”

Cory Johnson: your momma’s neighbor’s side chick’s last Uber Eats delivery guy’s third-favorite blogger. Here’s how he makes millions of dollars blogging without being bothered.