Alice McDermott

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I like that original romance of having a pen and a legal pad and going anywhere in the world and being able to write a novel with just those two things.

Alice McDermott

Alice McDermott

   Legal
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My children have gone to Catholic school... Part of their whole education is talking about the inner life and looking at your life, even though you're only 15 or 16 - thinking about your mortality, thinking about the value of your life, thinking about your obligations.

Alice McDermott

Alice McDermott

   Life
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I don't want to write about violence, and I don't want to hang a plot on a murder. I think it's cheap.

Alice McDermott

Alice McDermott

   Violence
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I'm writing all the time. I tend to work on at least two books simultaneously. I'll spend time with one, and then I'll spend time with the other. Finishing takes whatever time it takes.

Alice McDermott

Alice McDermott

   Work
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You're a human being, and every time a list of prize nominations comes out and your name isn't on it, you do have that thumb-in-the-eye feeling.

Alice McDermott

Alice McDermott

   Time
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Much of my experience with language was formed in the church, which has an oral tradition. There are lots of repetitions in prayers and song refrains. There's a sense of incantation, that if you call not once and not twice but for a third time, the spirit appears.

Alice McDermott

Alice McDermott

   Time
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I believe that the interior life is the same for all of us. And because they're steeped in faith, Irish-American Catholics are a people who have a language for the examined life.

Alice McDermott

Alice McDermott

   Life
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In the act of reading, especially reading fiction, where a world is being created, all kinds of matters of belief come into play.

Alice McDermott

Alice McDermott

   Reading
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Any adjective you put before the noun 'writer' is going to be limiting in some way. Whether it's feminist writer, Jewish writer, Russian writer, or whatever.

Alice McDermott

Alice McDermott

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Most of the characters I write with don't think an awful lot about their faith. They're not always questioning the church or feeling confined by the church or rebelling against the church.

Alice McDermott

Alice McDermott

   Faith
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As a writer, you have to put yourself in service to the character, get behind their eyes by delineating the world where the character develops. You have to listen to the character and see him inside his certain world to know what conclusions he would draw.

Alice McDermott

Alice McDermott

   Character
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I'm more interested in character than events. I've observed that about myself as a writer. I find events, even the most dramatic sort, not to be such fertile ground.

Alice McDermott

Alice McDermott

   Character
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Character is primary. What happens as far as plot and events is not as intriguing to me as what's happening inside this particular person.

Alice McDermott

Alice McDermott

   Character
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Our task as fiction writers isn't just to report something that didn't really happen. We have to give what we write a sense of reality. The tool of our tradition is language.

Alice McDermott

Alice McDermott

   Reality
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In grammar school I read 'Act One' by Moss Hart, and being a playwright struck me as the most magical and romantic career anyone could have... But I never did write a play.

Alice McDermott

Alice McDermott

   Romantic
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I'm a novelist. I'm not a crusader, and I'm not an editorial writer. And I'm not writing fiction to convince anybody of anything.

Alice McDermott

Alice McDermott

   Writing
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I love a well-plotted story. But I'm just not that kind of writer, and it's not necessarily by choice. When I manipulate plot, I feel I lose authenticity.

Alice McDermott

Alice McDermott

   Love
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I was one of those kids who always wrote.

Alice McDermott

Alice McDermott

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I was the youngest; I had two imperious older brothers - I didn't get to often complete sentences at the dinner table. So writing was a way of saying what nobody asked me to say.

Alice McDermott

Alice McDermott

   Writing
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I learned really early on that I had to treat it as if it were a real job. This might be my middle class background - the Irish work ethic, which isn't quite the same as the Protestant work ethic - but still, it's, 'Get a job and show up every day. Be there. And don't complain. Who do you think you are: you're nobody special; go to work.'

Alice McDermott

Alice McDermott

   Work