Graham Swift Famous Quotes & Sayings

83 Graham Swift Famous Sayings, Quotes and Quotation.

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All novelists must form their personal pacts in some way with the slowness of their craft. There are some who demand of themselves a 'rate of production,' for whom it's a matter of pride to complete, say, a book every year. Graham Swift Sayings: All novelists must form their personal pacts in some way with the slowness of their
There's no such thing as the contemporary novel. Before I seem the complete reactionary, let me add that I've happily joined in many discussions about 'the contemporary novel' where what that usually, unproblematically means is novels that have appeared recently or may appear soon. Graham Swift Sayings: There's no such thing as the contemporary novel. Before I seem the complete reactionary, let
There's an undeniable thrill in seeing what's most current in our lives offered back to us in fictional guise, but it soon dates and it's never enough. Graham Swift Sayings: There's an undeniable thrill in seeing what's most current in our lives offered back to
The pen is very quick for getting stuff from your brain to the page. I can do hieroglyphics in the margin. There are days when I really enjoy the flow of ink. I mean, nice pen, ink straight on to the page. Graham Swift Sayings: The pen is very quick for getting stuff from your brain to the page. I
I respond to the sound of London being spoken - to the sound of London. Graham Swift Sayings: I respond to the sound of London being spoken - to the sound of London.
Ah, children, pity level-crossing keepers, pity lock-keepers - pity lighthouse-keepers - pity all the keepers of this world (pity even school teachers), caught between their conscience and the bleak horizon ... Graham Swift Sayings: Ah, children, pity level-crossing keepers, pity lock-keepers - pity lighthouse-keepers - pity all the keepers
I don't reread my books. Graham Swift Sayings: I don't reread my books.
How we forgive narrowness of mind, when it accompanies largeness of heart. Yet no breadth of intellect exonerates want of feeling. Graham Swift Sayings: How we forgive narrowness of mind, when it accompanies largeness of heart. Yet no breadth
I had a fear of becoming anything, a fear of becoming a specialist. I might have become a doctor, but if you become a doctor, that's your specialty in life and you are defined by it. One of the attractions of being a writer is that you're never a specialist. Your field is entirely open; your field is the entire human condition. Graham Swift Sayings: I had a fear of becoming anything, a fear of becoming a specialist. I might
The idea of stopping is not unmeaningful to me. I think there might be a time when, in theory at least, you'd say, 'Well I've mostly done what I want to do.' But how could you ever prevent a few years down the line some germ of an idea getting at you and you've got to do it again? Graham Swift Sayings: The idea of stopping is not unmeaningful to me. I think there might be a
Those TV pictures had looked like scenes from hell. Flames leaping up into the night. Even so, cattle aren't people. Just a few months later Jack had turned on the telly once again and called to Ellie to come and look, as people must have been calling out, all over the world, to whoever was in the next room, 'Drop what you're doing and come and look at this. Graham Swift Sayings: Those TV pictures had looked like scenes from hell. Flames leaping up into the night.
My mother was a great bringer-up of children. My memories are of a sense of security and comfort. Graham Swift Sayings: My mother was a great bringer-up of children. My memories are of a sense of
My upbringing was absolutely not the archetypal writer's upbringing. Even, arguably, the opposite. Graham Swift Sayings: My upbringing was absolutely not the archetypal writer's upbringing. Even, arguably, the opposite.
I'm not a writer who looks for the fantastic and the sensational. I like the world we've got. If there is anything special and magical, I have to find it in the ordinary stuff. Graham Swift Sayings: I'm not a writer who looks for the fantastic and the sensational. I like the
Literature is the voice of the human heart. Graham Swift Sayings: Literature is the voice of the human heart.
And there's no saying what heady potions we won't concoct, what meanings, myths, manias we won't imbibe in order to convince ourselves that reality is not an empty vessel. Graham Swift Sayings: And there's no saying what heady potions we won't concoct, what meanings, myths, manias we
When people aren't expecting to be seen, they look their truest. Graham Swift Sayings: When people aren't expecting to be seen, they look their truest.
All nature's creatures join to express nature's purpose. Somewhere in their mounting and mating, rutting and butting is the very secret of nature itself. Graham Swift Sayings: All nature's creatures join to express nature's purpose. Somewhere in their mounting and mating, rutting
Or realism. Or realism. If history shows that the scale of human calamity increases. If the evidence of history corroborates what my students sense by intuition - Graham Swift Sayings: Or realism. Or realism. If history shows that the scale of human calamity increases. If
Life goes on. It doesn't go on. Yes, yes, I know, all we want in the end, we living, breathing creatures (am I still one of them?) is life. All we want to believe in is the persistence and vitality of life. Faced with the choice between death and the merest hint of life, what scrap, what token wouldn't we cling to in order to keep that belief? A leaf? A single moist, green leaf? That will do, that will be enough. Graham Swift Sayings: Life goes on. It doesn't go on. Yes, yes, I know, all we want in
I came from a lower-middle-class postwar family in a time of austerity and retrenchment, with no one in the family who was in any way artistic or a potential mentor to a budding writer, and yet this is what I became. Graham Swift Sayings: I came from a lower-middle-class postwar family in a time of austerity and retrenchment, with
The e-book does seem at the moment to threaten the livelihood of writers, because the way in which writers are paid for their work in the form of e-books is very much up in the air. Graham Swift Sayings: The e-book does seem at the moment to threaten the livelihood of writers, because the
When something's one thing, it's not another. Graham Swift Sayings: When something's one thing, it's not another.
There is a certain inescapable attachment. If you are born somewhere and circumstances don't take you away from it, then you grow up and remain within it. Graham Swift Sayings: There is a certain inescapable attachment. If you are born somewhere and circumstances don't take
There has always been, for me, this other world, this second world to fall back on
a more reliable world in so far as it does not hide that its premise is illusion.
Graham Swift Sayings: There has always been, for me, this other world, this second world to fall back
The oak was, of course, a great stealer of the surrounding pasture - its only value to provide shade for the livestock - but it was a magnificent tree. It had been there at least as long as Luxtons had owned the land. To have removed it would have been unthinkable (as well as a forbidding practical task). It simply went with the farm. No one taking in that view for the first time could have failed to see that the tree was the immovable, natural companion of the farmhouse, or, to put it another way, that so long as the tree stood, so must the farmhouse. And no mere idle visitor - especially if they came from a city and saw that tree on a summer's day - could have avoided the simpler thought that it was a perfect spot for a picnic. Graham Swift Sayings: The oak was, of course, a great stealer of the surrounding pasture - its only
But this would have been to ignore the young man of only twenty-five, who, for all his, by now, increasing and debilitating proneness to thought, still possessed, in spite of himself, a healthy animal nature. He falls in love, heavily, thickly, thankfully (is there any other way?). He is still
thank God
open to experience. He sees himself, indeed, as "saved"
returned to the sweet, palpable goodness of the world.
Graham Swift Sayings: But this would have been to ignore the young man of only twenty-five, who, for
Realism; fatalism; phlegm. To live in the Fens is to receive strong doses of reality. The great flat monotony of reality; the wide empty space of reality. Melancholia and self-murder are not unknown in the Fens. Heavy drinking, madness and sudden acts of violence are not uncommon. How do you surmount reality, children? How do you acquire, in a flat country, the tonic of elevated feelings? Graham Swift Sayings: Realism; fatalism; phlegm. To live in the Fens is to receive strong doses of reality.
It makes you feel sort of cheap and titchy. Like it's looking down at you, saying, I'm Canterbury Cathedral, who the hell are you? Graham Swift Sayings: It makes you feel sort of cheap and titchy. Like it's looking down at you,
How quick and rushing life can sometimes seem, when at the same time it's so slow and sweet and everlasting. Graham Swift Sayings: How quick and rushing life can sometimes seem, when at the same time it's so
A feeble fire is worse than an empty grate. Graham Swift Sayings: A feeble fire is worse than an empty grate.
What we wish upon the future is very often the image of some lost, imagined past. Graham Swift Sayings: What we wish upon the future is very often the image of some lost, imagined
And I didn't know I loved her till I'd dreamt of her. I didn't know it was the real thing until an illusion had signalled it. Graham Swift Sayings: And I didn't know I loved her till I'd dreamt of her. I didn't know
The real art is not to come up with extraordinary clever words but to make ordinary simple words do extraordinary things. To use the language that we all use and to make amazing things occur. Graham Swift Sayings: The real art is not to come up with extraordinary clever words but to make
I do my thinking while I walk. It just loosens up the mind in the way that you don't get when you are sitting at a desk. Graham Swift Sayings: I do my thinking while I walk. It just loosens up the mind in the
His mother is dead, yet she has never not been, in theory, at his shoulder. He wants her not to have known and suffered or even witnessed all the things that followed her death. Including all this now. But that would be like wishing her dead. Merely dead. Graham Swift Sayings: His mother is dead, yet she has never not been, in theory, at his shoulder.
There's this thing called progress. But it doesn't progress. It doesn't go anywhere. Because as progress progresses the world can slip away. It's progress if you can stop the world slipping away. My humble model for progress I the reclamation of land. Which is repeatedly, never-ending retrieving what it lost. A dogged and vigilant business. A dull yet valuable business. A hard, inglorious business. But you shouldn't go mistaking the reclamation of land for the building of empires. Graham Swift Sayings: There's this thing called progress. But it doesn't progress. It doesn't go anywhere. Because as
If people read 'Tomorrow' and feel that it is offering them some view of my own household, they would be very, very wrong. Graham Swift Sayings: If people read 'Tomorrow' and feel that it is offering them some view of my
People die when curiosity goes.People have to find out, people have to know. How can there be any true revolution till we know what we're made of? 830 Graham Swift Sayings: People die when curiosity goes.People have to find out, people have to know. How can
I think what I like to do is to begin with the ordinary and find the extraordinary in it. Graham Swift Sayings: I think what I like to do is to begin with the ordinary and find
Literature, after all, from Homer onwards, is littered with the recounting of deaths and with the fascination for death, and in this it only expresses what we all repeatedly dwell on but do not necessarily or readily voice. So far as death goes, I don't claim any oddity. There is only one sea: I'm in the same boat as everyone else. And that seems, more generally, to be the position that every novelist, unless they are possessed of a peculiar arrogance, should take: I am mortal too, I am human too. I too, like you, share life's joys, pains, confusions. We're all in the same boat. Graham Swift Sayings: Literature, after all, from Homer onwards, is littered with the recounting of deaths and with
And though, indeed, it only happened once, it's gone on happening, the way unique and momentous things do, for ever and ever, as long as there's a memory for them to happen in ... Graham Swift Sayings: And though, indeed, it only happened once, it's gone on happening, the way unique and
People die when curiosity goes. Graham Swift Sayings: People die when curiosity goes.
I tend to begin with what you might call the very small world of personal life. But I am certainly interested in how that small, intimate world connects or doesn't connect with a larger world. Graham Swift Sayings: I tend to begin with what you might call the very small world of personal
And what does this question Why imply? It implies ( ... ) dissatisfaction, disquiet, a sense that all is not well. In a state of perfect contentment there would be no need or room for this irritant little word. History begins only at the point where things go wrong; history is born only with trouble, with perplexity, with regret. So that hard on the heels of the word Why comes the sly and wistful word If. If it had not been for ... If only ... Were it not ... Those useless Ifs of history. Graham Swift Sayings: And what does this question Why imply? It implies ( ... ) dissatisfaction, disquiet, a
History is a yarn. And can I deny that what I wanted all along was not some golden nugget that history would at last yield up, but History itself: the Grand Narrative, the filler of vacuums, the dispeller of fears of the dark? Graham Swift Sayings: History is a yarn. And can I deny that what I wanted all along was
In my work you often get an abrupt shift in time, a jolt. But the emotional logic will take the reader on. I hope. I trust. After all, our memories do not work with any sequential logic. Graham Swift Sayings: In my work you often get an abrupt shift in time, a jolt. But the
London is like no other city I know in its ability to become beautiful. You can suddenly turn a corner and there are odd moments - of light, of weather. Graham Swift Sayings: London is like no other city I know in its ability to become beautiful. You
You may have your suspicions, your fears, you may even believe there is something, somewhere, terribly, drastically wrong, but because someone else is in charge, because there is a part of the system above you which you don't know, you don't question it, you even distrust your own doubts. Graham Swift Sayings: You may have your suspicions, your fears, you may even believe there is something, somewhere,
And so long as we have this itch for explanations, must we not always carry round with us this cumbersome but precious bag of clues called History? Another definition: Man, the animal which demands an explanation, the animal which asks Why. Graham Swift Sayings: And so long as we have this itch for explanations, must we not always carry
Children, only animals live entirely in the Here and Now. Only nature knows neither memory nor history. But man - let me offer you a definition - is the storytelling animal. Wherever he goes he wants to leave behind not a chaotic wake, not an empty space, but the comforting marker-buoys and trail-signs of stories. He has to go on telling stories. He has to keep on making them up. As long as there's a story, it's all right. Even in his last moments, it's said, in the split second of a fatal fall - or when he's about to drown - he sees, passing rapidly before him, the story of his whole life. Graham Swift Sayings: Children, only animals live entirely in the Here and Now. Only nature knows neither memory
Unfortunately writers take a very small part of the profit on their books, and I think in the e-book world there is a real danger they will take even less, unless they are vigilant and robust about protecting their own interests. Graham Swift Sayings: Unfortunately writers take a very small part of the profit on their books, and I
If you can't stand your own company alone in a room for long hours, or, when it gets tough, the feeling of being in a locked cell, or, when it gets tougher still, the vague feeling of being buried alive
then don't be a writer.
Graham Swift Sayings: If you can't stand your own company alone in a room for long hours, or,
Novels, in my experience, are slow in coming, and once I've begun them I know I have years rather than months of work ahead of me. Graham Swift Sayings: Novels, in my experience, are slow in coming, and once I've begun them I know
I think the purveyors of e-books are only too happy for this atmosphere of 'everything belongs to everybody' to increase because it means they don't have to think so much about the original maker of the thing, or they can get away with paying them less. Graham Swift Sayings: I think the purveyors of e-books are only too happy for this atmosphere of 'everything
And as for the Ellison Fellow's feelings towards Katherine Potter
to be honest, they involve a good deal of confusion. He reacts before Katherine Potter, in fact, as he has reacted before all new, strange (attractive) women who happen, since a certain event, to have crossed his path. He does not know how to deal with them. He is filled with dismay, a giddy sense of arbitrariness, an apprehension that the universe holds nothing sacred; all of which is only to be stilled by the imperative of loyal resistance.
He is not immune to the prickle of passing lust. But he deals defensively with it. He reacts either with disdainful dismissal (Not your type, definitely not your type) or with a rampant if covert seizure of lecherousness (Christ, what tits! What legs! What an arse!), which serves the same forestalling function by reducing its object to meat and its subject (he is past fifty, after all) to a pother of shame.
Graham Swift Sayings: And as for the Ellison Fellow's feelings towards Katherine Potterto be honest, they involve a
What is a history teacher? He's someone who teaches mistakes. Graham Swift Sayings: What is a history teacher? He's someone who teaches mistakes.
I share my name with an aerobatic bird that can whiz across a whole summer sky in seconds. A swift is so equipped for speed that it can scarcely cope with being stationary. Graham Swift Sayings: I share my name with an aerobatic bird that can whiz across a whole summer
Children, be curious. Nothing is worse (I know it) than when curiosity stops. Nothing is more repressive than the repression of curiosity. Curiosity begets love. It weds us to the world. It's part of our perverse, madcap love for this impossible planet we inhabit. People die when curiosity goes. People have to find out, people have to know. Graham Swift Sayings: Children, be curious. Nothing is worse (I know it) than when curiosity stops. Nothing is
Today's news, which may be yesterday's anyway, will be eclipsed tomorrow. Graham Swift Sayings: Today's news, which may be yesterday's anyway, will be eclipsed tomorrow.
Why is it that every so often history demands a bloodbath, a holocaust, an Armageddon? And why is it that every time the time before has taught us nothing? Graham Swift Sayings: Why is it that every so often history demands a bloodbath, a holocaust, an Armageddon?
He demands an explanation. Graham Swift Sayings: He demands an explanation.
When anything goes digital, let alone something as immaterial as a book, there is a tendency to see it as just in the air to be taken, and to lose the sense that somebody once made it. Graham Swift Sayings: When anything goes digital, let alone something as immaterial as a book, there is a
When I am writing, I'm very much on the ground, on the same ground my characters are treading. Graham Swift Sayings: When I am writing, I'm very much on the ground, on the same ground my
That's the way it is: life includes a lot of empty space. We are one-tenth living tissue, nine-tenths water; life is one-tenth Here and Now, nine-tenths a history lesson. For most of the time the Here and Now is neither now nor here. Graham Swift Sayings: That's the way it is: life includes a lot of empty space. We are one-tenth
What job do you want to do?
And I see them all hanging up before me, like clothes on a rack, all the jobs, tinker, tailor, soldier, and you have to pick one and then you have to pretend for the rest of your life that that's what you are. So they aint no different really from accidents of birth. I didn't know that phrase then but I learnt it later. It's a good phrase ...
Graham Swift Sayings: What job do you want to do?And I see them all hanging up before me,
What does education do, what does it have to offer, when deprived of its necessary partner, the future, and face instead with - no future at all? Graham Swift Sayings: What does education do, what does it have to offer, when deprived of its necessary
When it comes down to it, Matthew was just another disillusioned idealist, an over-reactive Hamlet type--couldn't take it that the world was real. Graham Swift Sayings: When it comes down to it, Matthew was just another disillusioned idealist, an over-reactive Hamlet
As a novelist, I suppose I can say that I'm highly articulate. But I know, as a person, in other ways, I'm not always articulate. I think we are all, from time to time, inarticulate, at some level, about some things. Graham Swift Sayings: As a novelist, I suppose I can say that I'm highly articulate. But I know,
The novel that's contemporary in the sense of being wholly 'of now' is an impossibility, if only because novels may take years to write, so the 'now' with which they begin will be defunct by the time they're finished. Graham Swift Sayings: The novel that's contemporary in the sense of being wholly 'of now' is an impossibility,
Part of the very impulse of writing for me is actually wanting to get away from myself. Graham Swift Sayings: Part of the very impulse of writing for me is actually wanting to get away
It can be dismaying, all the same, for a novelist to compare the slowness of the writing with the speed of the reading. Novels are read in a matter of days, even hours. A writer may labor for weeks over a particular passage that will have its effect on a reader for an instant - and that effect may be subliminal or barely noticed. Graham Swift Sayings: It can be dismaying, all the same, for a novelist to compare the slowness of
I am struck by the way people behave on the Tube. They look at each other beadily and inquisitively, and something goes on in their thoughts which must be equivalent to the way dogs and other animals, when they meet, sniff each other's arses and nuzzle each other's fur. Graham Swift Sayings: I am struck by the way people behave on the Tube. They look at each
Reality's not strange, not unexpected.Reality doesn't reside in the hallucination of events. Reality is uneventfulness, vacancy, flatness. Reality is that nothing happens. Graham Swift Sayings: Reality's not strange, not unexpected.Reality doesn't reside in the hallucination of events. Reality is uneventfulness,
Happiness quells thought. And work quells thought. Graham Swift Sayings: Happiness quells thought. And work quells thought.
Pillow talk. It's how you know, it's how you tell, that something different, something special is happening: that this might even be the most important night of your life. Some day -some night- I hope you both may know it, with whoever it may be: the wish, stealing up on you, not to just merge bodies, but all you have, all your years, all your memories up to that point. And why should you wish to do that, if you haven't already guessed that your future too, will be shared? Graham Swift Sayings: Pillow talk. It's how you know, it's how you tell, that something different, something special
One of the things that probably drew me to writing was that it was something you could get on with by yourself. Publishing means going public. But the actual activity could scarcely be more invisible. And private. Graham Swift Sayings: One of the things that probably drew me to writing was that it was something
So what was it then exactly, this truth-telling? ... It was about being true to the very stuff of life, it was about trying to capture, though you never could, the very feel of being alive. It was about finding a language. And it was about being true to the fact, the one thing only followed from the other, that many things in life - of so many more than we think - can never be explained at all. Graham Swift Sayings: So what was it then exactly, this truth-telling? ... It was about being true to
Possibly he knew, as he wrote this, that he was mad - because inside every madman sits a little sane man saying 'You're mad, you're mad.' Graham Swift Sayings: Possibly he knew, as he wrote this, that he was mad - because inside every
There are no compasses for journeying in time. Graham Swift Sayings: There are no compasses for journeying in time.
Structure that really pays off is all based on emotion. I don't write down an elaborate plan. It's really done by feel. It's one area of my writing that I think I've got surer at as I've evolved. Graham Swift Sayings: Structure that really pays off is all based on emotion. I don't write down an
Once upon a time, before the boys were killed and when there were more horses than cars, before the male servants disappeared and they made do, at Upleigh and at Beechwood, with just a cook and a maid, the Sheringhams had owned not just four horses in their own stable, but what might be called a 'real horse', a racehorse, a thoroughbred. Its name was Fandango. It was stabled near Newbury. It had never won a damn thing. But is was the family's indulgence, their hope for fame and glory on the racecourses of southern England. The deal was that Pa and Ma - otherwise known in his strange language as 'the shower' - owned the head and body and he and Dick and Freddy had a leg each.
'What about the fourth leg?'
'Oh the fourth leg. That was always the question.
Graham Swift Sayings: Once upon a time, before the boys were killed and when there were more horses
Of course there are times when I hate London, but equally there are times when I can walk 'round a corner and I really feel that this is my place. Graham Swift Sayings: Of course there are times when I hate London, but equally there are times when