Tobias Wolff Famous Quotes & Sayings

84 Tobias Wolff Famous Sayings, Quotes and Quotation.

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Knowing that everything comes to an end is a gift of experience, a consolation gift for knowing that we ourselves are coming to an end. Before we get it we live in a continuous present, and imagine the future as more of that present. Happiness is endless happiness, innocent of its own sure passing. Pain is endless pain. Tobias Wolff Sayings: Knowing that everything comes to an end is a gift of experience, a consolation gift
He did not remember when he began to regard the heap of books on his desk with boredom and dread, or when he grew angry at writers for writing them. He did not remember when everything began to remind him of something else. Tobias Wolff Sayings: He did not remember when he began to regard the heap of books on his
Rhyme is bullshit. Rhyme says that everything works out in the end. All harmony and order. When I see a rhyme in a poem, I know I'm being lied to. Go ahead, laugh! It's true - rhyme's a completely bankrupt device. It's just wishful thinking. Nostalgia. Tobias Wolff Sayings: Rhyme is bullshit. Rhyme says that everything works out in the end. All harmony and
That, for me, is a very important test of a young writer's commitment because most of them are going to have to continue doing that when they've finished the program. Tobias Wolff Sayings: That, for me, is a very important test of a young writer's commitment because most
A true piece of writing is a dangerous thing. It can change your life. Tobias Wolff Sayings: A true piece of writing is a dangerous thing. It can change your life.
One of the things that draws writers to writing is that they can get things right that they got wrong in real life by writing about them. Tobias Wolff Sayings: One of the things that draws writers to writing is that they can get things
Like so many writers I started writing stories because I didn't have much time for anything else. Tobias Wolff Sayings: Like so many writers I started writing stories because I didn't have much time for
To be a writer you need to see things as they are, and to see things as they are you need a certain basic innocence. Tobias Wolff Sayings: To be a writer you need to see things as they are, and to see
Our memories tell us who we are and they cannot be achieved through committee work, by consulting other people about what happened. That doesn't mean that at all times memories are telling us the absolute truth, but that the main source of who we are is that memory, flawed or not. Tobias Wolff Sayings: Our memories tell us who we are and they cannot be achieved through committee work,
In a world where the most consequential things happen by chance, or from unfathomable causes, you don't look to reason for help. You consort with mysteries ... They have been killed in place of you - in your place. You don't think it out, not at the time, not in those terms, but you can't help but feel it, and go on feeling it. It's the close call you have to keep escaping from, the unending doubt that you have a right to your own life. It's the corruption suffered by everyone who lives on, that henceforth they must wonder at the reason and probe its justice. Tobias Wolff Sayings: In a world where the most consequential things happen by chance, or from unfathomable causes,
I believe that the short story is as different a form from the novel as poetry is, and the best stories seem to me to be perhaps closer in spirit to poetry than to novels. Tobias Wolff Sayings: I believe that the short story is as different a form from the novel as
A piece of writing is a dangerous thing," he said. "It can change your life. Tobias Wolff Sayings: A piece of writing is a dangerous thing," he said. "It can change your life.
But a lot of writers - and I'm one of them - do tend to feel dissatisfied. It makes you a little hard to live with, but it's a goad and does keep you alert and restless. Tobias Wolff Sayings: But a lot of writers - and I'm one of them - do tend to
You have to be kind of clued into them, they are a world of their own, and most people find them disappointing because the best short stories are not constructed like novels. Tobias Wolff Sayings: You have to be kind of clued into them, they are a world of their
Writers cannot let themselves be servants of the official mythology. They have to, whatever the cost, say what truth they have to say. Tobias Wolff Sayings: Writers cannot let themselves be servants of the official mythology. They have to, whatever the
It's probably why I'm a short story writer. I tend to remember things in the past in narrative form, in story form, and I grew up around people who told stories all the time. Tobias Wolff Sayings: It's probably why I'm a short story writer. I tend to remember things in the
Whatever it is that makes closeness possible between people also puts them in the way of hard feelings if that closeness ends. Tobias Wolff Sayings: Whatever it is that makes closeness possible between people also puts them in the way
And in my heart I despised the life I led in Seattle. I was sick of it and had no idea how to change it. I thought that in Chinook, away from Taylor and Silver, away from Marian, away from people who had already made up their minds about me, I could be different. I could introduce myself as a scholar-athlete, a boy of dignity and consequence, and without any reason to doubt me people would believe I was that boy, and thus allow me to be that boy. I recognized no obstacle to miraculous change but the incredulity of others. This was an idea that died hard, if it ever really died at all. Tobias Wolff Sayings: And in my heart I despised the life I led in Seattle. I was sick
The bullet is already in the brain; it won't be outrun forever, or charmed to a halt. In the end it will
do its work and leave the troubled skull behind, dragging its comet's tail of memory and hope and
talent and love into the marble hall of commerce.
Tobias Wolff Sayings: The bullet is already in the brain; it won't be outrun forever, or charmed to
That room - once you enter it, you never really leave. You can forget you're there, you can go on as if you hold the reins, that the course of your life, yeah even its length, will reflect the force of your character and the wisdom of your judgments. And then you hit an icy path on a turn one sunny March day and the wheel in your hands becomes a joke and you no more than a spectator to your own dreamy slide toward the verge, and then you remember where you are. Tobias Wolff Sayings: That room - once you enter it, you never really leave. You can forget you're
In order for us to live comfortably with ourselves while living on unjust terms with others, we have to tell ourselves a story that makes us innocent. Tobias Wolff Sayings: In order for us to live comfortably with ourselves while living on unjust terms with
You could say that all my characters are reflections of myself, in that I share their wish to count for something, and their utmost confusion as to how this is supposed to be done. Tobias Wolff Sayings: You could say that all my characters are reflections of myself, in that I share
And you can tell the writers who do it - Robert Stone, for example, who with each new novel is doing something new. I appreciate that in other writers. Tobias Wolff Sayings: And you can tell the writers who do it - Robert Stone, for example, who
Perhaps that is why the novel flourished in England. You had these communities that would stay put and people would see one another all the time and cause one another to change and have the opportunity to observe the changes over time. Tobias Wolff Sayings: Perhaps that is why the novel flourished in England. You had these communities that would
Just don't lose the magic. Tobias Wolff Sayings: Just don't lose the magic.
I tell you, the one thing I hate is an absolutist. I hate absolutist ideologies, I hate absolutist aesthetics, I hate absolutist theologies, they're the burden and bane of this world. Tobias Wolff Sayings: I tell you, the one thing I hate is an absolutist. I hate absolutist ideologies,
When your power comes from others, on approval, you are their slave. Never sacrifice yourselves - never! Whoever urges you to self-sacrifice is worse than a common murderer, who at least cuts your throat himself, without persuading YOU to do it. Tobias Wolff Sayings: When your power comes from others, on approval, you are their slave. Never sacrifice yourselves
I had no right to see them this way. Tobias Wolff Sayings: I had no right to see them this way.
Why were Jack and his brother digging post holes? A fence there would run parallel to the one that already enclosed the farmyard. The Welches had no animals to keep in or out - a fence there could serve no purpose. Their work was pointless. Years later, while I was waiting for a boat to take me across the river, I watched two Vietnamese women methodically hitting a discarded truck tire with sticks. They did it for a good long while, and were still doing it when I crossed the river. They were part of the dream from which I recognized the Welches, my defeat-dream, my damnation-dream, with its solemn choreography of earnest useless acts. Tobias Wolff Sayings: Why were Jack and his brother digging post holes? A fence there would run parallel
There are writers who do start doing the same thing again and again and almost inevitably fall into self-parody. Tobias Wolff Sayings: There are writers who do start doing the same thing again and again and almost
I was giving up
being realistic, as people liked to say, meaning the same thing. Being realistic made me feel bitter.
Tobias Wolff Sayings: I was giving upbeing realistic, as people liked to say, meaning the same thing. Being
What writers do is they tell their own story constantly through other people's stories. They imagine other people, and those other people are carrying the burden of their struggles, their questions about themselves. Tobias Wolff Sayings: What writers do is they tell their own story constantly through other people's stories. They
You felt it as a depth of ease in certain boys, their innate, affable assurance that they would not have to struggle for a place in the world; that is already reserved for them. Tobias Wolff Sayings: You felt it as a depth of ease in certain boys, their innate, affable assurance
One of the last courses I taught was on the Russian short story, which I love. Tobias Wolff Sayings: One of the last courses I taught was on the Russian short story, which I
One can imagine a world without essays. It would be a little poorer, of course, like a world without chess, but one could live in it. Tobias Wolff Sayings: One can imagine a world without essays. It would be a little poorer, of course,
We didn't know it then,' Hooper said. 'We used to talk about how when we got back in the world we were going to do this and we were going to do that. Back in the world we were going to have it made. But ever since then it's been nothing but confusion.' Hooper took the cigarette case from his pocket but didn't open it. He leaned forward on the table.
'Everything was clear,' he said. 'You learned what you had to know and you forgot the rest. All this chickenshit. This clutter. You didn't spend every living minute of the day thinking about your own sorry-ass little self. Am I getting laid enough. What's wrong with my kid. Should I insulate the fucking house. That's what does it to you, Porchoff. Thinking about yourself. That's what kills you in the end.
Tobias Wolff Sayings: We didn't know it then,' Hooper said. 'We used to talk about how when we
You don't teach information in a writing workshop. Tobias Wolff Sayings: You don't teach information in a writing workshop.
But for now Anders can still make time. Time for the shadows to lengthen on the grass, time for the tethered dog to bark at the flying ball, time for the boy in right field to smack his sweat-blackened mitt and softly chant, They is, they is, they is. Tobias Wolff Sayings: But for now Anders can still make time. Time for the shadows to lengthen on
Because I don't have to be careful of people's feelings when I teach literature, and I do when I'm teaching writing. Tobias Wolff Sayings: Because I don't have to be careful of people's feelings when I teach literature, and
The short story, on the other hand, is the perfect American form. Tobias Wolff Sayings: The short story, on the other hand, is the perfect American form.
We are made to persist. That's how we find out who we are. Tobias Wolff Sayings: We are made to persist. That's how we find out who we are.
Lose Faith. Pray anyway. Persist. We are made to persist, to complete the whole tour. That's how we find out who we are. Tobias Wolff Sayings: Lose Faith. Pray anyway. Persist. We are made to persist, to complete the whole tour.
Getting from La Jolla to Alta Vista State Hospital isn't easy, unless you have a car or a breakdown. April's Father had a breakdown and they got him there in no time. Tobias Wolff Sayings: Getting from La Jolla to Alta Vista State Hospital isn't easy, unless you have a
Anybody can be very destructive in that position without at all meaning to be, and I know that I have been inadvertently destructive in the past for certain people on certain occasions. Tobias Wolff Sayings: Anybody can be very destructive in that position without at all meaning to be, and
It was like fishing a swamp, where you feel the tug of something that at first seems promising and then resistant and finally hopeless as you realize that you've snagged the bottom, that you have the whole planet on the other end of your line. Tobias Wolff Sayings: It was like fishing a swamp, where you feel the tug of something that at
When we are green, still half-created, we believe that our dreams are rights, that the world is disposed to act in our best interests, and that falling and dying are for quitters. We live on the innocent and monstrous assurance that we alone, of all the people ever born, have a special arrangement whereby we will be allowed to stay green forever Tobias Wolff Sayings: When we are green, still half-created, we believe that our dreams are rights, that the
Most of us don't live lives that lend themselves to novelistic expression, because our lives are so fragmented. Tobias Wolff Sayings: Most of us don't live lives that lend themselves to novelistic expression, because our lives
It takes a childish or corrupt imagination to make symbols of other people. Tobias Wolff Sayings: It takes a childish or corrupt imagination to make symbols of other people.
Reasons always came with a purpose, to give the appearance of a struggle between principle and desire. Principle had power only until you found what you had to have. Tobias Wolff Sayings: Reasons always came with a purpose, to give the appearance of a struggle between principle
... why would Caesar fear Ovid, except for knowing that neither his divinity nor all his legions could protect him from a good line of poetry. Tobias Wolff Sayings: ... why would Caesar fear Ovid, except for knowing that neither his divinity nor all
I have never been able to understand the complaint that a story is "depressing" because of its subject matter. What depresses me are stories that don't seem to know these things go on, or hide them in resolute chipperness; "witty stories," in which every problem is the occasion for a joke; "upbeat" stories that flog you with transcendence. Please. We're grown ups now. Tobias Wolff Sayings: I have never been able to understand the complaint that a story is "depressing" because
I try to help people become the best possible editors of their own work, to help them become conscious of the things they do well, of the things they need to look at again, of the wells of material they have not even begun to dip their buckets into. Tobias Wolff Sayings: I try to help people become the best possible editors of their own work, to
The very act of writing assumes, to begin with, that someone cares to hear what you have to say. It assumes that people share, that people can be reached, that people can be touched and even in some cases changed. So many of the things in our world lead us to despair. It seems to me that the final symptom of despair is silence, and that storytelling is one of the sustaining arts; it's one of the affirming arts. A writer may have a certain pessimism in his outlook, but the very act of being a writer seems to me to be an optimistic act. Tobias Wolff Sayings: The very act of writing assumes, to begin with, that someone cares to hear what
We each after a while have to become reconciled to what it is that our talents and appetites lead us to. Tobias Wolff Sayings: We each after a while have to become reconciled to what it is that our
There's a joy in writing short stories, a wonderful sense of reward when you pull certain things off. Tobias Wolff Sayings: There's a joy in writing short stories, a wonderful sense of reward when you pull
In the very act of writing I felt pleased with what I did. There was the pleasure of having words come to me, and the pleasure of ordering them, re-ordering them, weighing one against another. Pleasure also in the imagination of the story, the feeling that it could mean something. Mostly I was glad to find out that I could write at all. In writing you work toward a result you won't see for years, and can't be sure you'll ever see. It takes stamina and self-mastery and faith. It demands those things of you, then gives them back with a little extra, a surprise to keep you coming. It toughens you and clears your head. I could feel it happening. I was saving my life with every word I wrote, and I knew it. Tobias Wolff Sayings: In the very act of writing I felt pleased with what I did. There was
When I was about 14 or 15 I decided to become a writer and never for a moment since have I wanted to do anything else. Tobias Wolff Sayings: When I was about 14 or 15 I decided to become a writer and never
E felt no more than a boy again-but a very well-versed boy who couldn't help thinking of the scene described by these old words, surely the most beautiful words written or said: His father, when he saw him coming, ran to meet him. Tobias Wolff Sayings: E felt no more than a boy again-but a very well-versed boy who couldn't help
I had never seen such sorrow; it appalled me. And I was even more appalled by her attempts to overcome it, because they so plainly, pathetically failed and in failing opened up a view of the world I had only begun to suspect, where wounds did not heal, and things did not work out for the best Tobias Wolff Sayings: I had never seen such sorrow; it appalled me. And I was even more appalled
The human heart is a dark forest Tobias Wolff Sayings: The human heart is a dark forest
Want! You must want something. What do you want? Tobias Wolff Sayings: Want! You must want something. What do you want?
And I learned that it's a bad idea to curse if you're in trouble, but a good idea to sing, if you can. Tobias Wolff Sayings: And I learned that it's a bad idea to curse if you're in trouble, but
We even talked like Hemingway characters, though in travesty, as if to deny our discipleship: That is your bed, and it is a good bed, and you must make it and you must make it well. Or: Today is the day of the meatloaf. The meatloaf is swell. It is swell but when it is gone the not-having meatloaf will be tragic and the meatloaf man will not come anymore. Tobias Wolff Sayings: We even talked like Hemingway characters, though in travesty, as if to deny our discipleship:
Time, which is your enemy in almost everything in this life, is your friend in writing. Tobias Wolff Sayings: Time, which is your enemy in almost everything in this life, is your friend in
I recall that my workshop leaders were tactful in their ways of acquainting me with my shortcomings as a writer. So much so that I hardly realized they were doing it. I want always to keep that sort of thing in mind when I'm teaching. The way you get better in everything in this life is to make mistakes. Otherwise you're probably doing it right by accident. But you have to do everything wrong before you can really start with some authority to do it right. Tobias Wolff Sayings: I recall that my workshop leaders were tactful in their ways of acquainting me with
I love Chekhov. I could go on all day about him. Tobias Wolff Sayings: I love Chekhov. I could go on all day about him.
Real maturity is the ability to imagine the humanity of every person as fully as you believe in your own humanity. Tobias Wolff Sayings: Real maturity is the ability to imagine the humanity of every person as fully as
I'm a survivor, I said. But I didn't think that claim would carry much weight in an obituary. Tobias Wolff Sayings: I'm a survivor, I said. But I didn't think that claim would carry much weight
You boys know what tropism is, it's what makes a plant grow toward the light. Everything aspires to the light. You don't have to chase down a fly to get rid of it - you just darken the room, leave a crack of light in a window, and out he goes. Works every time. We all have that instinct, that aspiration. Science can't dim that. All science can do is turn out the false lights so the true light can get us home. Tobias Wolff Sayings: You boys know what tropism is, it's what makes a plant grow toward the light.
I was a sitting duck myself, and Arthur had a map of my nerves. Tobias Wolff Sayings: I was a sitting duck myself, and Arthur had a map of my nerves.
The reader really has to step up to the plate and read a short story. Tobias Wolff Sayings: The reader really has to step up to the plate and read a short story.
Everything has to be pulling weight in a short story for it to be really of the first order. Tobias Wolff Sayings: Everything has to be pulling weight in a short story for it to be really
Writers, to my way of thinking, are no more free in their choices than most people. Our material chooses us; certain things engage us, certain things do not. Tobias Wolff Sayings: Writers, to my way of thinking, are no more free in their choices than most
I've allowed some of these points to stand, because this is a book of memory, and memory has its own story to tell. But I have done my best to make it tell a truthful story. Tobias Wolff Sayings: I've allowed some of these points to stand, because this is a book of memory,
Memory is funny. Once you hit a vein the problem is not how to remember but how to control the flow. Tobias Wolff Sayings: Memory is funny. Once you hit a vein the problem is not how to remember
Anders turns and looks at him. He wants to hear Coyle's cousin repeat what he's just said, but he knows better than to ask. The others will think he's being a jerk, ragging the kid for his grammar. But that isn't it, not at all - it's that Anders is strangely roused, elated, by those final two words, their pure unexpectedness and their music. He takes the field in a trance, repeating them to himself. Tobias Wolff Sayings: Anders turns and looks at him. He wants to hear Coyle's cousin repeat what he's
Work for most people is really very social, and the actual thinking is often done in community. Tobias Wolff Sayings: Work for most people is really very social, and the actual thinking is often done
Without pandering to your presumed desire to identify with the hero of a story, they made you feel that what mattered to the writer had consequence for you, too. Tobias Wolff Sayings: Without pandering to your presumed desire to identify with the hero of a story, they
Fearlessness in those without power is maddening to those who have it. Tobias Wolff Sayings: Fearlessness in those without power is maddening to those who have it.
The beauty of a fragment is that it still supports the hope of brilliant completeness. Tobias Wolff Sayings: The beauty of a fragment is that it still supports the hope of brilliant completeness.
There are very few professions in which people just sit down and think hard for five or six hours a day all by themselves. Of course it's why you want to become a writer - because you have the liberty to do that, but once you have the liberty you also have the obligation to do it. Tobias Wolff Sayings: There are very few professions in which people just sit down and think hard for
I teach one semester a year, and this year I'm just teaching one course during that semester, a writing workshop for older students in their late 20s and early 30s, people in our graduate program who are already working on a manuscript and trying to bring it to completion. Tobias Wolff Sayings: I teach one semester a year, and this year I'm just teaching one course during
But as my brother was doing his research for a book about my father, it became his opinion that the most influential anti-semitism my father encountered when he was growing up was from Jews, because his relatives were German Jews, and doctors. Tobias Wolff Sayings: But as my brother was doing his research for a book about my father, it
Because the more you write the more you're aware of the weight of your tradition and the difficulties of the form and the more you have already done that you do not want to do again. Tobias Wolff Sayings: Because the more you write the more you're aware of the weight of your tradition