Amy Waldman quotes

  • History is the history of human behavior, and human behavior is the raw material of fiction. Most people recognize that novelists do research to get the facts right - how a glove factory works, for example, or how courtesans in imperial Japan dressed.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Japan #People #Novelists

  • [s]he was a compulsive pessimist, always looking for the soft brown spot in the fruit, pressing so hard she created it.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Fruit #Pessimist #Brown

  • Sorrow can be a bully.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Bully #Sorrow

  • As a novelist, you deepen your characters as you go, adding layers. As a reporter, you try to peel layers away: observing subjects enough to get beneath the surface, re-questioning a source to find the facts. But these processes aren't so different.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Character #Trying #Novelists

  • As a reporter you tend to seek coherence from your subject or your source - it all needs to add up and make sense. In truth, in reality, there's often a great deal of murkiness and muddiness, confusion and contradiction.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Reality #Confusion #Add

  • Fiction just has a lot more room for ambivalence and internal conflict, contradiction, and for me that sums up so much of what people felt after 9/11 - confusion even. And I think that's hard to capture in journalism.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Thinking #People #Confusion

  • I found 'The Twin' sitting on a coffee table at a writers' colony in 2009. It carried praise from J.M. Coetzee. That seemed ample justification for using it to avoid my own writing. I finished it - weeping - a day later, and I've been puzzling over its powerful hold on me ever since.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Powerful #Coffee #Writing

  • I had been a reporter for 15 years when I set out to write my first novel. I knew how to research an article or profile a subject - skills that I assumed would be useless when it came to fiction. It was from my imagination that the characters in my story would emerge.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Writing #Character #Years

  • I read Claire Messud's 'The Emperor's Children,' I read Joseph O'Neill's 'Netherland' - but to me, they're not 9/11 novels. In 'The Emperor's Children,' 9/11 felt to me like a piece of the plot; the novel wasn't wrestling with what 9/11 meant. And 'Netherland' felt the same way. I liked both books a lot but I don't see them as 9/11 novels.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Children #Book #Wrestling

  • I think in the wake of 9/11, like a lot of Americans, you know, we were all very traumatized by the attacks, traumatized in a totally different way by some of what happened afterward in response. And I think there have been these questions hovering in the past decade of, what kind of country are we? Who are we?
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Country #Past #Thinking

  • Imagination, it turns out, is a great deal like reporting in your own head. Here is a paradox of fiction-writing. You are crafting something from nothing, which means, in one sense, that none of it is true. Yet in the writing, and perhaps in the reading, some of a character's actions or lines are truer than others.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Reading #Writing #Character

  • In Germany, you have a huge official memorial to the murdered Jews and then you have this artist who's been putting these stumbling blocks, these brass cobblestones, outside the houses Jews were taken away from. It's somewhat controversial and has met some resistance.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Block #Taken #Artist

  • Over the centuries, and even today, the Bible and Christian theology have helped justify the Crusades, slavery, violence against gays, and the murder of doctors who perform abortions. The words themselves are latent, inert, harmless - until they aren't.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Christian #Gay #Doctors

  • So the premise of 'The Submission' is that there's an anonymous competition to design a 9/11 memorial and it's won by an American Muslim, an architect born and raised in Virginia, and his name is Mohammad Khan.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Virginia #Names #Design

  • The September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon prompted a fundamental shift in the American government's approach to Islamic terrorism.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Islamic #Government #September 11

  • While researching 'The Submission,' I went to a protest against the Ground Zero mosque in New York when I was about to give birth to twins. It was about 100 degrees. People thought I was very dedicated.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #New York #Zero #People

  • And as journalists we look for differences - differences between countries, cultures, classes, and communities. We're very sensitized to difference, but it's much harder to write about similarities across countries, cultures, classes, and communities.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Country #Writing #Class

  • My parents are aging and there are difficult issues. It's strange to have children at the beginning of life and parents nearing the end.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Children #Issues #Parent

  • There were in life rarely, if ever, "right" decisions, never perfect ones, only the best to be made under the circumstances.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Perfect #Decision #Made

  • Nothing in life gets dropped without someone else having to pick it up.
    -- Amy Waldman

  • Fabricating reality was criminal; editing it, commonplace.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Reality #Editing #Criminals

  • Perhaps this was the secret to being at peace: want nothing but what is given to you.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Secret #Want #Given

  • In life, redemption was walking up the down escalator: stop to congratulate yourself, and back you slid.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Redemption #Walking

  • Marrying Cal, the scion of a family whose wealth dated to the Industrial Revolution and had multiplied through every turn of the American economy since, ought to have eased her worries about failing to climb as high as she believed she deserved. But the money was his, not theirs. The unspoken power this gave him kept her from asking: Why don't you stay home?
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Home #Worry #Asking

  • The rhetoric is the first step, it coarsens attitudes
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Attitude #Steps #Firsts

  • In architecture, space was a material to be shaped, even created. For these men, the material was silence. Silence like water in which you could drown, the absence of talk as constricting as the absence of air.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Men #Space #Air

  • Eden, paradise - all the best gardens are imaginary.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Garden #Eden #Paradise

  • In America time was gold; in Bangladesh, corrugated tin.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #America #Gold #Tin

  • Religious speech is extreme, emotional, and motivational. It is anti-literal, relying on metaphor, allusion, and other rhetorical devices, and it assumes knowledge within a community of believers.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Religious #Emotional #Community

  • I wasn't sitting around years ago thinking, 'I really want to write a novel.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Writing #Thinking #Years

  • I'm kind of a mash-up of taste - Graham Greene and Jane Austen; W.G. Sebald and Alice Munro.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Taste #Kind #Austen

  • My children, who are almost two: watching them develop has made me pay much closer attention to how we become who we are.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Children #Two #Attention

  • Work less than you think you should. It took me a while to realise there was a point each day when my creativity ran out and I was just producing words - usually lousy ones - for their own sake. And nap: it helps to refresh the brain, at least mine.
    -- Amy Waldman

    #Creativity #Thinking #Naps