At the beginning of a new book, I find it easier to write if I do not think about the fact that I am attempting to write a book.
Who in the world needs another book anyway? There are thousands of good ones already, and some of the best ones have not been read by very many people at all.
A day spent reading Annie Dillard or Graham Greene or John LeCarre or Thomas Merton of Doris Grumbach or Frederick Buechner can convince anyone who wants to write that the good stuff has already been written and, in fact, so marvelously written that anything else by anyone else, including me, borders on being audacious at best and pretentious the rest of the time. Last week while reading Buechner, I realized that if I wanted to make a contribution to the literary world, I should do his laundry and mow his grass so that he would have more time to write.
– from “Dancing on the Head of a Pen”