Best 67 of Chang Rae Lee quotes - MyQuotes

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Chang Rae Lee
By Anonym 18 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

Our tainted world looms within us, every one.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

For each of us has a perch on the tree. After we are gone, that perch is marked by a notch, permanent, yes, but with its edges muting over time, assuming the tree is ever growing. Years from now someone can see that you were here, or there, and although you had little conception or care for the wider branching, in the next life there might be a sigh of wonder at how quietly flourishing it all was, if never majestic.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

For if there is ever a moment when we are most vulnerable, it’s when we’re closest to the idea of the attained desire, and thus farthest from ourselves, which is when we’ll tread through any flame.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

So my first book I had no experience having written a book, but each book is a little snapshot of who you are at that moment, accrued all through time, so I accept that.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

I really try to forget. I only look at my old works if there's an interview and someone asks me about it. Otherwise, it's not even in the rearview mirror.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

Obviously loss of family is huge and critical, but I think really it's more about losing a sense of family. The horror of that kind of incompleteness. Writing this book, I tried not to think about my father, which does no one any good fictionally. I did try to imagine not just the horror of that moment, but the horror of having witnessed it, and the lifelong void. And I think that's what's so frightening.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

And it occurred to me that in this new millennial life of instant and ubiquitous connection, you don't in fact communicate so much as leave messages for one another, these odd improvisational performances, often sorry bits and samplings of ourselves that can't help but seem out of context. And then when you do finally reach someone, everyone's so out of practice or too hopeful or else embittered that you wonder if it would be better not to attempt contact at all.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

I had a visceral connection to the period [of Korean War]. By visceral I suppose I mean emotional. But every fiction requires so much that is not that so I did a lot of other research and a lot of thinking, a lot of struggling there.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

Before I had published anything, I still hung out with people who liked to write. None of us had published, so there was no talk about the business, and there was probably a lot more angsty talk back then. But these days maybe there are some more laments about the culture, but I would say no.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

Part of writing a novel is being willing to leap into the blackness. You have very little idea, really, of what's going to happen. You have a broad sense, maybe, but it's this rash leap. It's like spelunking. You kind of create the right path for yourself. But, boy, are there so many points at which you think, absolutely, I'm going down the wrong hole here. And I can't get back to the right hole. I'm not going to be able to get this section back to the right hole - so I'm just going to have to cut it.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

No place is perfect, but I admire Oahu for its offering of the tropical and the urban, and then its Asian-inflected culture and cuisines.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

We have hopes and make plans, and if they are dashed or waylaid, we naturally rationalize and redraw the map to locate ourselves anew. Or else we brood and too firmly root. Very few can step forward again and again in what amounts to veritable leaps into the void, where there are no ready holds, where little is familiar, where you get constantly stuck in the thickets of your uncertainties and fears.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

As for what's the most challenging aspect of teaching, it's convincing younger writers of the importance of reading widely and passionately.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

I think because of these big issues of life and death that maybe sex feels like a crass question. But for Christ sake, this is a book that is so interested in an elemental human condition. And one of the ideas about surrender is an erotic surrender, too. These folks are surrendered by destiny; they surrender to each other in certain moments, but there is a lot of erotic surrender.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

I wanted to write about the Korean War, but I had no entry into it that made the kind of sense it needs to make for a novelist.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

I try to be aware of what I'm concerned about, aware of how I feel about myself in the world, aware of how I feel about the issues of the day, but I guess I don't want to write essays in my head about my craft and maybe it's because I teach and talk about craft of other writers as a reader. I feel the moment I start doing that is when it's going to kill me.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

I assumed just from being around, all these years, that people would immediately glom on to, Well, it's a departure, and it's a dystopian kind of thing, and that's natural, of course. But it's surprised me - not even surprised me, but it's pleased me - how much people have been responding to the way the book was written.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

To be honest, Im not that much of a reader of Korean fiction, since so little is translated.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

Maybe someone's who's a different kind of writer [would think otherwise] - someone who'd be just as comfortable writing essays on what their novels are about. Sometimes you feel like certain novelists are like that.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

Her endeavor was misguided and wrong and maybe plain crazy, akin to someone waking up one day and deciding he’s going to scale Kilimanjaro because he can’t stop imagining the view from the top, the picture so arresting and beautiful that it too soon delivers him to a precarious ledge, where he can no longer turn back. And while it’s easy to say this is a situation to be avoided, isn’t this what we also fear and crave simultaneously, that some internal force which defies understanding might remake us into the people we dream we are?

By Anonym 13 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

For at some point, each of us will be asked to embody what we feel and know.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

He should have had more faith in himself rather than give in to his weaker qualities, in particular his overeagerness to please and aversion to conflict and a lifelong infatuation with hope, which had him dreaming more than doing

By Anonym 16 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

I wonder if my father, given the chance, would have wished to go back to the time before he made all that money, when he just had one store and we rented a tiny apartment in Queens. He worked hard and had worries but he had a joy then that he never seemed to regain once the money started coming in. He might turn on the radio and dance cheek to cheek with my mother. He worked on his car himself, a used green Impala with carburetor trouble. They had lots of Korean friends that they met in church and then even in the street, and when they talked in public there was a shared sense of how lucky they were, to be in America but still have countrymen near.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

For sometimes you can't help but crave some ruin in what you love.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

It's just a weird idea to me because each book is a complete universe unto itself, so why would I want this other universe from this other galaxy that has nothing to do with mine? That's how I really feel about it. Let's be honest - I'm still the writer, so certain things will be common denominators. But that I just want to keep natural and not studied.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

It struck her how a man could seem to gain a little bit of magic or grace or virtue with every woman he was with, but that a woman--though she said maybe should should be fair and just speak for herself--relinquished something each time, even if it ended mutually and well.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

Historical novels are about costumery. I think that's the magic and mystery of fiction. I don't want to write historical fiction but I do want the story to have the feel of history. There's a difference.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

There is secrecy and betrayal but that's more part and parcel of the kind of anguish that the people go through. And maybe that's modes of survival, rather than modes of consciousness.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

Imagination might not be limitless. It's still tethered to the universe of what we know.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

They're not parallel at all. They're my concerns, but how they're expressed particularly on the page is completely divorced from who I am in my street life.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

Not to any really influential effect, but certainly there have been comments that have surprised me. It's surprising sometimes to get particular perspectives on your work, and it's enlightening sometimes to know that non-writers and readers out there have certain assumptions about everything that I both want to keep in mind and want to forget about why I write, and about the connection between me as a private person and the stuff that I think about on the page.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

I think the action is ninety-three percent, and the consideration is peppered throughout but pretty short... Once I start it, I feel as though I don't want to look over my shoulder too much. I want to trust the preparations I've made.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

Fan would have expected that one or two of the Girls would have long rebelled at spending a life in a room, would have begged, say, the dentist, to help them steal away, but the funny thing about this existence is that once firmly settled we occupy it with less guard than we know. We watch ourselves routinely brushing our teeth, or coloring the wall, or blowing off the burn from a steaming yarn of soup noodles, and for every moment there is a companion moment that elides onto it, a secret span that deepens the original’s stamp. We feel ever obliged by everyday charges and tasks. They conscript us more and more. We find world enough in a frame. Until at last we take our places at the wheel, or wall, or line, having somewhere forgotten that we can look up.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

Like most people, Im fascinated by characters who are completely flawed personalities, riven by anguish and doubt, and are psychologically suspect.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

I'd always wanted to write something about the Korean War because of my heritage. My father lost his brother during the war, and I fictionalized that episode, which was told to me very briefly without much detail.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

I did a lot of reading of first person accounts from Koreans and combatants and aid workers. And I spoke to relatives. A lot of wonderful photographs were made available to me from that period - 1950-1956 - and those were given to me by a Korean newspaper in Seoul. Ruined villages, refugees streaming through a river valley, GI's and orphans and orphanages, those tiny details that you can only see in a picture.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

I'm more interested in the psychic intricacies that they build up and try to run away from, and how they self-construct. A lot of my work is about self-construction. Here, it's those folks who are deeply wounded and bewildered. They're not just victims of trauma; they've been shaken so forcefully that they don't quite know how or where to stand.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

I think their pasts are treated with a voice that sees their role as those of innocents. That's reflected in the past time sequences. They're less "written.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

I rarely talk about work with writers, and I love getting together with writers. I think writers are great to get together with, because we can talk about everything. I think that's why I enjoy it. Writers tend to be pretty open-minded, and pretty profane and loose. They have fun minds.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

It's not that I wrote those details, but photos can give you the confidence that you have a real feel for the landscape. Then you can invent with a solid kind of faith, and recreate a feel and flavor of the time, and, one hopes, a tonality, a sense of that time having been lived by those characters.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

We can skip through a lot of the stuff people might ask about the writing of the book, and so their comments always start well, well down into the nitty-gritty.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

What if loving something means you should mostly feel frustrated and thwarted? And then a little ruined, too, by the pursuit? But you keep coming back for more?

By Anonym 13 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

For no matter the shadows of an age, the picture of a young couple in love, we are told, speaks most luminously of the future, as the span of that passion makes us believe we can overleap any walls, obliterate whatever obstacles.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

I did feel a little afraid, as you say, the complete liberty and "elasticity" of it. But I found that I liked some of the things that it availed me of in terms of emotion and tonal stuff. I came to find it appealing.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

By definition it uses and plays and delights in time. It delights in the interlacing of chronologies and the consequences of that interlacing. And those have personal and psychological expressions in a character. Aside from other issues of writing, psychological characterization is what narrative can do best.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

One of the things my friends would tell you is that I hang out with a lot of non-writers - just regular people like bankers and teachers, and I actually try to steer our talk away from my work when I get together with them.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

Some writers are writing one great, big book and just taking all these different avenues towards it. They might seem on the outside to be different, but they're really not. And that's a different kind of mindset. I don't know why it is, but I just feel like I really want to escape myself as much as I can - myself as the artist, or as the writer, or as the thinker - with each new project, because one, it's just boredom, but also, I guess I just feel most comfortable starting a new book if I just feel a little in the dark about it.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

I want the flashbacks to feel that once you're there they have their own unity, their own kind of atmospheric sensibility; I want the reader to be transported. The novel is a big, complicated, unknowable thing before it's written.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

Usually, when you're talking about work with other writers it's because something seriously bad is going on with your work and you've absolutely thrown out a lifeline and you're hoping that someone will help you with something. Either there's some bad feeling you have about the work, or sometimes it's not specific - just kind of solidarity.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Chang Rae Lee

All of my books really do look at that to degrees of difference. Technically, I do enjoy the flashback! But not just for informational material.