Russell Banks quotes

  • I much prefer working with kids whose life could be completely upended by a reading of a book over a weekend. You give them a book to read - they go home and come back a changed person. And that is so much more interesting and exciting.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Book #Reading #Home

  • But really, it was reading that led me to writing. And in particular, reading the American classics like Twain who taught me at an early age that ordinary lives of ordinary people can be made into high art.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Art #Reading #Writing

  • If you dedicate your attention to discipline in your life you become smarter while you are writing than while you are hanging out with your pals or in any other line of work.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Writing #Discipline #Attention

  • Lists of books we reread and books we can't finish tell more about us than about the relative worth of the books themselves.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Book #Lists #Relative

  • Nobody does anything for one reason.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Doe #Reason

  • Choose your agent as carefully as you would choose your accountant or lawyer. Or dentist.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Agents #Lawyer #Dentist

  • It's hard to spend years at a time working in total solitude with no reality-check.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Reality #Years #Solitude

  • But on the other hand, I don't actively seek out stories or hunt them down.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Hunting #Hands #Stories

  • I began as a boy with artistic talent... as a visual artist... I thought that was what I'd become and in my late teens drifted into reading serious literature.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Reading #Boys #Artist

  • A couple of years I taught in graduate programs at NYU and Columbia, in the early eighties.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Couple #Years #Nyu

  • Much more than memoir; it's history.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Memoir

  • When an old man and a young man work together, it can make an ugly sight or a pretty one, depending on who's in charge. If the young man's in charge or won't let the old man take over, the young man's brute strength becomes destructive and inefficient, and the old man's intelligence, out of frustration, grows cruel and inefficient. Sometimes the old man forgets that he is old and tries to compete with the young man's strength, and then it's a sad sight. Or the young man forgets that he is young and argues with the old man about how to do the work, and that's a sad sight, too.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Frustration #Men #Sight

  • It's hard to know more about a person's life than what that person wants you to know.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Want #Persons

  • What you believe matters, however. It’s all anyone has to act on. And since what you do is who you are, your actions define you. If you don’t believe anything is true simply because you can’t logically prove what’s true, you won’t do anything. You won’t be anything. You’ll end up spending your life in a rocking chair looking out at the horizon waiting for an answer that never comes. You might as well be dead. It’s an old philosophical problem.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Believe #Philosophical #Waiting

  • Public libraries are the sole community centers left in America. The degree to which a branch of the local library is connected to the larger culture is a reflection of the degree to which the community itself is connected to the larger culture.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Reflection #America #Community

  • My major allegiance has been to storytelling, not to history.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Storytelling #Allegiance

  • Luck can't last a lifetime unless you die young.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Luck #Lasts #Lifetime

  • For almost anyone who chooses to be a writer, since so very few writers are able to learn a living from their work that is equivalent to the living earned by the average dentist or accountant.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Average #Able #Dentist

  • Loyalty is weird, it kicks in when you dont expect it and the people who deserve loyalty least seem to get it the most.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Loyalty #People #Kicks

  • They were gone and I missed them but even so I was very happy. For the rest of my life no matter where on this planet earth I went and no matter how scared or confused I got, I could wait until dark and look up into the night sky and see my three friends again and my heart would swell with love of them and make me strong and clearheaded.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Strong #Confused #Heart

  • If you dedicate your attention to discipline in your life you become smarter.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Discipline #Attention #Self Discipline

  • Boys like it when you talk to them as if they were grown men—at least he always did when he was a kid—because they pretend that’s what they are anyhow, grown-up men, and they do it for their entire lives.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Kids #Men #Boys

  • We are the planet, fully as much as water, earth, fire and air are the planet, and if the planet survives, it will only be through heroism. Not occasional heroism, a remarkable instance of it here and there, but constant heroism, systematic heroism, heroism as governing principle.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Air #Fire #Water

  • One hates a person for the same reason one loves him 
    -- Russell Banks

    #Hate #One Love #Reason

  • It was strange to stand there in front of the mirror and see myself like I was my own best friend, a kid wanted to hang with forever. This was a boy I could travel to the seacoasts with, a boy I'd like to meet up with in foreign cities like Calcutta and London and Brazil, a boy I could trust who also had a good sense of humor and liked smoked oysters from a can and good weed and the occasional 40 ounces of malt. If I was going to be alone for the rest of my life this was the person I wanted to be alone with.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Weed #Kids #Boys

  • The 60s passed and faded and I grew older, and in 1987 bought a house in upstate New York, and it turned out that John Brown was buried down the road from my house and that he had lived there longer than anywhere else and his house was still standing.
    -- Russell Banks

    #New York #House #John Brown

  • The best thing about writing programs is that it rationalized the apprenticeship of a writer.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Writing #Program #Apprenticeship

  • The United States particularly abandoned Liberia after the end of the Cold War.
    -- Russell Banks

    #War #United States #Cold

  • What I am finding now is that my audience is getting younger as I get older, which is a very good thing as you know - you don't want them to get older as you get older.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Want #Good Things #Very Good

  • Motivations are too tangled and complex.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Motivation #Tangled

  • The way I feel about every book is this: you don't finish it, you abandon it. All of my books have in some sense failed, otherwise I wouldn't write another one. If I wrote the perfect book, I wouldn't have to write again, and I wouldn't want to. That's not true for everyone, but it's true for me. I could walk away then. But so far I haven't managed to do it.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Book #Writing #Perfect

  • Like Neanderthals, men prefer to hunt alone or, if in a pack, at the head of it. Women, whether in the field or in a campfire, are collaborative, and when they hunt...they work together.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Men #Together #Fields

  • Storytelling is an ancient and honorable act. An essential role to play in the community or tribe. It's one that I embrace wholeheartedly and have been fortunate enough to be rewarded for.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Play #Community #Roles

  • John Brown first swam into my vision in the 1960s when I was a political activist in the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement at Chapel Hill, where I went to university.
    -- Russell Banks

    #War #Rights #Political

  • First of all it's usually women who run these higher primate sanctuaries, rarely men. They are white. They come from privileged backgrounds. They are educated.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Running #Men #White

  • And there are people who want to be writers because they love to write. And they care.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Writing #People #Care

  • Although I still occasionally paint and draw, my life has now been shaped by my writing.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Writing #Paint #Draws

  • And out of a desire essentially to imitate what I was reading, I began to write, like a clever monkey.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Clever #Reading #Writing

  • Chimpanzees are endangered. Severely.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Chimpanzees

  • One of the things I have tried to do with this book and with all of them really is avoid that simple, easy, reductionist view of motivation and to show we do things for a complex net of reasons, a real braid of reasons.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Motivation #Real #Book

  • There is a wonderful intelligence to the unconscious. It’s always smarter than we are.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Wonderful #Unconscious

  • Through writing, through that process, they realize that they become more intelligent, and more honest and more imaginative than they can be in any other part of their life.
    -- Russell Banks

    #Writing #Intelligent #Honest