The lonely fill up their lives with books. I don’t live in nature. I don’t live in culture. I don’t live in my relationships. I live in books. What good can all the books of the world be, penned by the loneliest men who ever lived?
Raffi Cavoukian was born in Cairo in 1948 and moved with his Armenian parents to Toronto when he was 10.
I remember very vividly a little plaid dress on which my father sewed all these hanging beads, little horses and stuff. It was my favourite thing ever. I had it when I was four, and I kept it until I was 12, when I gave it to the little neighbour girl. For years, I regretted giving it to her, even though I had no use for it.
I remember where I was when I wrote that story, 'Mermaid in a Jar.' I was at a boyfriend's, and he was the only boy I ever dated who was rich, and his parents had a ski chalet, and I just didn't know how to break up with him, so I decided I would be celibate.
Few writers push the reader away with the coolness, dignity, and faint melancholy of Fleur Jaeggy.
To me, something that's beautiful in terms of a book is something that lives inside the reader both as a discrete and complete thing, but also something that seeps out into their life and thoughts.
I didn't study English literature - I studied philosophy at university - so Kierkegaard, Nietzsche - these people are among the most important writers to me. So my interest is in the big questions more than it is in storytelling.
Writing, for me, when I'm writing in the first-person, is like a form of acting. So as I'm writing, the character or self I'm writing about and my whole self - when I began the book - become entwined. It's soon hard to tell them apart. The voice I'm trying to explore directs my own perceptions and thoughts.
I believe there's a platonic ideal for every book that is written, like there's the perfect version of the book somewhere in the ether, and my job is to find what that book is through my editing.
Tove Jansson was the most successful Finnish illustrator and writer of children's books of her day, and she was the most widely read Finn abroad. She began her life as an artist early - she had her first drawing published at fifteen.
It's so weird how our existence hinges on just absolute crazy chance, but it feels so essential. It's like, 'Nothing would be here if you weren't here,' because you are the centre of your universe.
Laurie Simmons began showing her photographs in New York in the late '70s: black-and-white and then candy-colored scenarios with plastic dolls in 1950s-style domestic interiors.
Only in our failures are we absolutely alone. Only in the pursuit of failure can a person really be free. Losers may be the avant garde of the modern age.
I didn't wander into motherhood or nonmotherhood unconsciously, recklessly. I gave it due consideration.
Growing up, I never knew that Raffi turned down celebrity endorsements, TV shows, and specials and refused to make merchandise, but it makes sense given how I think about him: My memories are limited to his voice through the record player and the album covers I stared at.
Renown is something people have always wanted, but maybe what's modern is that it's considered a virtue, this desire, rather than a vice. I might be wrong about this.
You don't go to tarot readers or psychics when everything's going well. It's always evidence of rock-bottom.
'The Chairs are Where the People Go' was told to me by my friend Misha Glouberman; I typed as he talked. In 'How Should a Person Be?' the transcribed dialogues between me and my friends help form the structure of the book.
Some of my favorite experiences of art are when I am there but my attention has wandered. I think stimulation is overrated, and persistent stimulation is exhausting. You sometimes have to be banal, tedious: make the rhythm go soft and slow, give the mind a rest.
Everyone is their own kind of poet - you can't miss it when their words are written down.