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Russell Banks

I much prefer working with kids whose life could be completely upended by a reading of a book over a weekend. You give them a book to read - they go home and come back a changed person. And that is so much more interesting and exciting.
Russell Banks life
John Brown first swam into my vision in the 1960s when I was a political activist in the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement at Chapel Hill, where I went to university.
Russell Banks war
And out of a desire essentially to imitate what I was reading, I began to write, like a clever monkey.
Russell Banks reading
Lists of books we reread and books we can't finish tell more about us than about the relative worth of the books themselves.
Russell Banks books
So the same cultural and political issues that divided us in 1968 are still dividing us.
Russell Banks political
The 60s passed and faded and I grew older, and in 1987 bought a house in upstate New York, and it turned out that John Brown was buried down the road from my house and that he had lived there longer than anywhere else and his house was still standing.
Russell Banks live
Through writing, through that process, they realize that they become more intelligent, and more honest and more imaginative than they can be in any other part of their life.
Russell Banks life
Nobody does anything for one reason.
Russell Banks reason
For almost anyone who chooses to be a writer, since so very few writers are able to learn a living from their work that is equivalent to the living earned by the average dentist or accountant.
Russell Banks work
I don't want it to be all that self-conscious or artificial, but it really grows out of my having invented myself as a listener so that I could hear her voice.
Russell Banks art
Chimpanzees are endangered. Severely.
Russell Banks anger
The United States particularly abandoned Liberia after the end of the Cold War.
Russell Banks art
Motivations are too tangled and complex.
Russell Banks motivation
But really, it was reading that led me to writing. And in particular, reading the American classics like Twain who taught me at an early age that ordinary lives of ordinary people can be made into high art.
Russell Banks writing
If you dedicate your attention to discipline in your life you become smarter while you are writing than while you are hanging out with your pals or in any other line of work.
Russell Banks life
My major allegiance has been to storytelling, not to history.
Russell Banks history
Although I still occasionally paint and draw, my life has now been shaped by my writing.
Russell Banks life
And there are people who want to be writers because they love to write. And they care.
Russell Banks love
But on the other hand, I don't actively seek out stories or hunt them down.
Russell Banks stories
A couple of years I taught in graduate programs at NYU and Columbia, in the early eighties.
Russell Banks
It's hard to spend years at a time working in total solitude with no reality-check.
Russell Banks time
The best thing about writing programs is that it rationalized the apprenticeship of a writer.
Russell Banks writing
First of all it's usually women who run these higher primate sanctuaries, rarely men. They are white. They come from privileged backgrounds. They are educated.
Russell Banks women
I began as a boy with artistic talent... as a visual artist... I thought that was what I'd become and in my late teens drifted into reading serious literature.
Russell Banks art
One of the things I have tried to do with this book and with all of them really is avoid that simple, easy, reductionist view of motivation and to show we do things for a complex net of reasons, a real braid of reasons.
Russell Banks motivation

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