“Everything wants your failure. The body that you inhabit, the time that is yours, the circumstances of your life, every particularity that can be summoned to the general spectacle of your enterprise through space and time, can be seen as an interference to doing great art—nothing more efficiently than the mortality that is your due. And to exert ceaselessly in the face of such circumstances is to require an exorbitant desire. One must want so greatly that every reason to succumb is dismissed.” – Gordon Lish, Conversations with Gordon Lish (eds. David Winters and Jason Lucarelli)

“Writing isn’t lonely in the most important sense, because when you do it, you are in touch with your best friend, so the loneliness can be abridged in those terms. Also, a writer can suppose to himself that by doing his work, he is fashioning a bridge to other lone souls in space and time—that he is in conversation with the most secret place in himself and others.” – Gordon Lish, Conversations with Gordon Lish (eds. David Winters and Jason Lucarelli)

“To be a writer, one has to tell the truth, and one has to tell the hardest truth that is available to one. One has to tell one’s own truth. One has to risk everything to capture that truth; one has to reach down inside of oneself to the zone of most crucial danger, to the zone where, in fact, one may even be unsettling one’s notion of oneself and therefore destabilizing one’s personality. Through means of acoustic pressure, through means of thematic pressure, one must extrude that acuity and get it onto the page so that it can be seen. I think that this task is accomplished chiefly as a function of courage, of the will, and then of an absolutely unrelenting industry.” – Gordon Lish, Conversations with Gordon Lish (eds. David Winters and Jason Lucarelli)