Tobias Wolff - Quotes

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I teach one semester a year, and this year I'm just teaching one course during that semester, a writing workshop for older students in their late 20s and early 30s, people in our graduate program who are already working on a manuscript and trying to bring it to completion.

I teach one semester a year, and this year I'm just teaching one course during that semester, a writing workshop for older students in their late 20s and early 30s, people in our graduate program who are already working on a manuscript and trying to bring it to completion.

Everything has to be pulling weight in a short story for it to be really of the first order. ---->>>

When I was about 14 or 15 I decided to become a writer and never for a moment since have I wanted to do anything else. ---->>>

Memory is funny. Once you hit a vein the problem is not how to remember but how to control the flow. ---->>>

Most of us don't live lives that lend themselves to novelistic expression, because our lives are so fragmented. ---->>>

The reader really has to step up to the plate and read a short story. ---->>>

And you can tell the writers who do it - Robert Stone, for example, who with each new novel is doing something new. I appreciate that in other writers. ---->>>

Anybody can be very destructive in that position without at all meaning to be, and I know that I have been inadvertently destructive in the past for certain people on certain occasions. ---->>>

I love Chekhov. I could go on all day about him. ---->>>

You don't teach information in a writing workshop. ---->>>

Because the more you write the more you're aware of the weight of your tradition and the difficulties of the form and the more you have already done that you do not want to do again. ---->>>

But a lot of writers - and I'm one of them - do tend to feel dissatisfied. It makes you a little hard to live with, but it's a goad and does keep you alert and restless. ---->>>

I believe that the short story is as different a form from the novel as poetry is, and the best stories seem to me to be perhaps closer in spirit to poetry than to novels. ---->>>

Perhaps that is why the novel flourished in England. You had these communities that would stay put and people would see one another all the time and cause one another to change and have the opportunity to observe the changes over time. ---->>>

It's probably why I'm a short story writer. I tend to remember things in the past in narrative form, in story form, and I grew up around people who told stories all the time. ---->>>

Because I don't have to be careful of people's feelings when I teach literature, and I do when I'm teaching writing. ---->>>

There's a joy in writing short stories, a wonderful sense of reward when you pull certain things off. ---->>>

Work for most people is really very social, and the actual thinking is often done in community. ---->>>

Like so many writers I started writing stories because I didn't have much time for anything else. ---->>>

One of the last courses I taught was on the Russian short story, which I love. ---->>>

The short story, on the other hand, is the perfect American form. ---->>>

There are writers who do start doing the same thing again and again and almost inevitably fall into self-parody. ---->>>

But as my brother was doing his research for a book about my father, it became his opinion that the most influential anti-semitism my father encountered when he was growing up was from Jews, because his relatives were German Jews, and doctors. ---->>>

That, for me, is a very important test of a young writer's commitment because most of them are going to have to continue doing that when they've finished the program. ---->>>

You have to be kind of clued into them, they are a world of their own, and most people find them disappointing because the best short stories are not constructed like novels. ---->>>

I try to help people become the best possible editors of their own work, to help them become conscious of the things they do well, of the things they need to look at again, of the wells of material they have not even begun to dip their buckets into. ---->>>

Of course it's why you want to become a writer - because you have the liberty to do that, but once you have the liberty you also have the obligation to do it. ---->>>

Biography

Nationality: American
Born: 06-19, 1945
Birthplace:
Die:
Occupation: Writer
Website:

Tobias Jonathan Ansell Wolff (born June 19, 1945) is an American short story writer, memoirist, and novelist. He is known for his memoirs, particularly This Boy's Life (1989) and In Pharaoh's Army (1994). He has written two novels, including The Barracks Thief (1984), which won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and an array of short stories (wikipedia)