Best 44 of John Edgar Wideman quotes - MyQuotes

Follow
John Edgar Wideman
By Anonym 14 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

That split is inside all Americans. There are contradictions inside all of us about color and race. We've learned to cover them up and live with them and pretend that deep cleavage is not there. We all bear that illness.

By Anonym 15 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

To be a survivor as an African American man - maybe any man - you have to be pretty tough. Or at least that's what we all understand.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

Good writing is always about things that are important to you, things that are scary to you, things that eat you up.

By Anonym 14 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

My grandfather had asked me many times whether I'd like to come to South Carolina with him. He wanted to introduce me to our people down there and I didn't want to go. In those days, the South was still a place where black kids were lynched. Something horrible could happen to you. I've had that feeling my whole life.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

Books are an attempt to control something that's uncontrollable. That's one of the beauties of African American life. There was this thing called slavery and adjustments were made. It literally destroyed millions, but it didn't destroy the inner lives of all the people who experienced it. There are still horrible things that go on because of the myth of race, but we don't have to succumb totally. If I had only a negative side of things to present, I think I would have much less of a drive to do it. Because what would be the point?

By Anonym 15 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

There are still horrible things that go on because of the myth of race, but we don't have to succumb totally.

By Anonym 14 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

Kids use words in ways that release hidden meanings, revel the history buried in sounds. They haven't forgotten that words can be more than signs, that words have magic, the power to be things, to point to themselves and materialize. With their back-formations, archaisms, their tendency to play the music in words--rhythm, rhyme, alliteration, repetition--children peel the skin from language. Words become incantatory. Open Sesame. Abracadabra. Perhaps a child will remember the word and will bring the walls tumbling down.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

If I had only a negative side of things to present, I think I would have much less of a drive to do it. Because what would be the point?

By Anonym 15 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

When I'm writing, I'm thinking, "Well, this might be a book that I'll always be happy with, and certainly readers will be happy with." But another part of me knows that when I'm past the stage of writing, the book is gonna have good things about it, bad things about it - probably more bad than good. I just know that. That's who I am.

By Anonym 14 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

Our thoughts, our language, are always at a distance from whatever they're trying to describe. We're dreamers and - since we only have one life, and if we screw up we can get in a world of trouble - we're very intense dreamers. That's the beauty and the terror of being human beings: We just have these symbolic languages, these dreams, and that's all it ever is. There is no American or Frenchhistory. There are all these dreams that are floating around. People construct them and fight with them and criticize them, and the world goes on. I don't think the stars pay much attention.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

I don't write books because I have answers. I write books because I have questions. What we are is the questions that we ask, not the answers that we provide. It's all about the process of self-examination. I think that's what the best writing always contains.

By Anonym 14 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

Our thoughts, our language, are always at a distance from whatever they're trying to describe. We have other kinds of languages, like mathematics, like music, like art, but there's always that gap.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

I really dislike it when people talk about "experimental," because any good writer is experimental.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

I had a deep prejudice against the South. It's taken me many years to get over that, be more open and thoughtful.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

A great artist transforms our world, removes scales from our eyes, plugs from our ears, gloves from our fingertips and teaches us to perceive reality differently.

By Anonym 14 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

Remember that a book is many drafts - mine certainly are. It's improvisation. It's as much jazz and the way we talk and the way I heard people preach coming up as it is writing.

By Anonym 18 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

Thank you, Jesus, for blindness that every once in a great while allows one of us to hit the target.

By Anonym 15 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

Things seem to fall apart inevitably.

By Anonym 14 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

That's the beauty and the terror of being human beings: We just have these symbolic languages, these dreams, and that's all it ever is.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

I'm still divided in my principles and what I think is right and what I'm actually able to do, whether talking about writing or being a citizen or being a husband or being a father. And I'm trying to get better.

By Anonym 15 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

There is no American history. There is no French history. There is no John Wideman. There are all these dreams that are floating around. People construct them and fight with them and criticize them, and the world goes on. I don't think the stars pay much attention.

By Anonym 14 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

I want to give the evidence in a way that is convincing, but I don't want to cheat.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

I'm not a fearful person, but I'm a pretty pessimistic person. So some of my best times are waiting, anticipating. That's the way it always has been with me, whether anticipating a ball game, anticipating a relationship.

By Anonym 15 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

When you're at the basketball court watching a game, one person may be talking about a fight he had with his wife, another is talking about the last hard-on he got, someone else is talking about the presidential election. The language and the tone and the voice - I'd love to be able to capture that spontaneity.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

I really love James Joyce, Dubliners and other work. And I was interested in the way the dash was used in English topography - in his work particularly - and I realized there was no compulsion to use those ugly dot-dot curlicues all over the place to designate dialogue. I began to look around, and found writers who could make transitions quite clear by the language itself. I'm a bit of a maverick now. I'm always trying to push the medium.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

Everything is up for grabs, everything is relative. Except nothing is if you are serious about it because the moment you become serious about answering a question you have a stake in it. Relatively goes out of the window, in one sense because you're putting your a** out there - you are depending on the answer, you need the answer.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

I don't tell everything. I want the reader to have the feeling that maybe they know the whole truth, but they don't.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

As a reader, I do not like to have everything handed to me. Because after a while it gets formulaic and I'm thinking, "If this is so thought through, then why do I need to read it. It's done!" It becomes a beach book at a certain point.

By Anonym 15 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

There's something human that has to do with time and space and being who I am that is in progress and always will be in progress. And who I am, on different days, different moments, depends on different aspects of my past.

By Anonym 14 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

My father combined many of the elements that were feared in the culture, but also he was a warm figure, a figure we needed. We depended on him to give us a little bit of strength and courage.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

Even in my adult years, when I heard a white person speaking in a Southern accent I was initially suspicious.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

I really dislike when people talk about "experimental," because any good writer is experimental. As a writer, you don't know what the hell you're doing. You're just doing it. You hope it works out well. I've been experimenting with these things myself in my own books.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

I can't pretend that I did one really awful thing - I took a bite out of the apple but now I'm never going to sin again.

By Anonym 14 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

My mother loved my father. From my view, she let him get away with too much. It broke my heart to see him in an old people's home and stop being strong and lose his voice.

By Anonym 15 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

When it's played the way is supposed to be played, basketball happens in the air; flying, floating, elevated above the floor, levitating the way oppressed peoples of this earth imagine themselves in their dreams.

By Anonym 15 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

You have to be a minor superhero just to get to be a dignified man, and that's kind of exacerbated for men of color.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

I'm still vulnerable and still weak.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

I don't like the way question marks look. They're really ugly. They look like blots. At some other point in my life, I might have disliked them because I never knew how to properly apply them. Also commas, and whether they were outside the quote or inside the quote - that all seemed like an unnecessary pain in the ass.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

As a writer, you don't know what the hell you're doing. You're just doing it. You hope it works out well.

By Anonym 14 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

That's one of the beauties, I think, of African American life. There was this thing called slavery and adjustments were made. It literally destroyed millions, but it didn't destroy everybody and it didn't destroy the inner lives of all the people who experienced it.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

Books are an attempt to control something that's uncontrollable.

By Anonym 14 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

The hardship, the pain, the suffering of my brother and my son in prison, that's absolutely their experience, that's not mine. I don't get any credit for enduring that. I never give myself any credit for enduring that.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Edgar Wideman

I'm very hard-nosed and cold-blooded and I can walk past a drowning man. If I have someplace else to go, well, tough s**t. I could do that. I can. Have. Sometimes, not because I was callous but had to do it.