Best Quotes by Philipp Meyer

By | April 12, 2018

When you start to look at Native American history, you realize that, very far from being a peaceful, morally superior people, Native Americans were not that different from Europeans.

Philipp Meyer

I didn’t know much about Texas when I moved there for graduate school. In my first or second semester, I took a class in life and literature of the Southwest, and that’s where I first heard about these events along the border in 1915-1918, what Anglos called the Bandit Wars.

Philipp Meyer

When people grow up in atmospheres of violence or atmospheres of poverty, they don’t normally use hi-falutin’ language to describe those things. They would describe some brutal event the same way we would describe getting a taxi or missing the bus.

Philipp Meyer

Life throws up enough road blocks to keep you from writing; you can’t be adding to them yourself by saying you can only write in one specific place. I’m in New York half the time and Texas half the time, and I work wherever – in my computer bag I have some foam ear plugs that I can put in.

Philipp Meyer

You don’t make a decision about being a writer. There was a point, aged 21, when it became clear that this is who I am. The choice is how good you are going to be at it and how hard you are going to work.

Philipp Meyer

You have to believe in yourself and only trust your own vision and instincts. If I’d listened to what other people thought about my work in the first 10 years that I was a writer, I never would have made it to begin with.

Philipp Meyer

Since I quit banking, all my major life decisions, when they could, have revolved around writing.

Philipp Meyer

We moved to Baltimore, Maryland, in 1979, when I was five. The funny thing is that, even though Baltimore had one of the top murder rates in the country in those days, I grew up hearing about how dangerous New York was.

Philipp Meyer

I was a bit of a delinquent growing up, a very poor student – I nearly failed several grades before dropping out of high school and getting a G.E.D. But I still read a lot. Thrillers and war novels, mostly, along with the occasional literary novel from my parents’ bookshelf.

Philipp Meyer

My first published novel, ‘American Rust,’ took three and a half years of full-time work to write. But I wrote two apprentice novels before that.

Philipp Meyer

After I finished college, I got a job on Wall Street as a derivatives trader, but after a couple years of it, I was calling in sick in order to work on my novel.

Philipp Meyer

When we think of the myth of the settling of the West, this is our creation myth. But because we think of it as mythology, not as real people interacting with other real people, we ignore the cost of human lives and blood.

Philipp Meyer

There’s a reason that all societies and cultures and small bands of humans engage in myth-making. Fundamentally, it is to help us understand ourselves.

Philipp Meyer

I thought that I would have a huge literary novel coming out when I was, like, 29. I quit my banking job, and I was halfway through my second novel – and I will never publish it, because it’s very mediocre.

Philipp Meyer

Your mind burns a lot of calories. Writing can feel like a physical workout.

Philipp Meyer

My ideal is to write most of the day, then go running, find friends and socialise all evening; my mind recharges with human contact.

Philipp Meyer

My parents have always been incredibly supportive. Even when I dropped out of high school, they said, ‘We trust you, we believe in you.’

Philipp Meyer

I try to begin writing as close to a dreamlike state as I can get.

Philipp Meyer

If you’re always thinking about someone else’s work, about the tradition you’re working in, how can you possibly make anything good?

Philipp Meyer

Texas was mostly short-grass and tall-grass prairie when modern Europeans arrived here. It really was a land of milk and honey. But when they brought all these cattle onto these relatively small bits of land, and the cattle were allowed to graze freely, they essentially destroyed the prairie.

Philipp Meyer

I wanted to think about our creation myth; you know, what is the fundamental story that defines America. And it certainly is the West.

Philipp Meyer

When I dropped out of high school at age 16, I didn’t know I was going to become a writer – I just knew I’d never been happy in school, and I had this strong suspicion I’d be happy doing other things.

Philipp Meyer

I don’t think you can be taught how to make art. You can be coached, but on a fundamental level you have to figure it out for yourself. You have to learn how your own mind works, figure out your own relationship to the art; you essentially have to invent it completely for yourself.

Philipp Meyer

I’m interested in getting deep into a person’s consciousness and doing so in ways in which the narrator is secondary to the character’s own thoughts.

Philipp Meyer

When you look at ‘Grapes of Wrath,’ the weakest moments are those in which Steinbeck is spouting a political idea directly at the reader. The book’s real power comes from its slower, broader movement.

Philipp Meyer

Your job as a writer is to find storylines, narrative structures, and characters to show the things that you believe rather than saying them or telling them.

Philipp Meyer

Fundamentally, all art is about human beings. You’re always showing larger moral questions through the smaller moral, philosophical, or political choices through one character in the book.

Philipp Meyer

When novels deal in abstractions, they generally go off the rails.

Philipp Meyer

I couldn’t understand what was important about school. Dropping out was the first adult decision I made. If I ever have kids, I would hate for them to drop out. But I wasn’t a rebel. I never cared to be against school. I just wanted to do what I wanted to do.

Philipp Meyer

I like mechanical things; my first book was a mechanics guide – that was what my parents couldn’t pry away from me; that was the blanket.

Philipp Meyer

Cornell changed my life; getting in there was one of my pinnacle moments.

Philipp Meyer

Nothing prepares you for making art except making art. You have to do it to get better.

Philipp Meyer

If you’ve grown up with guns, the thought that someone might take them away makes your stomach churn. They make you feel safe. If you didn’t grow up with guns, if you don’t know how to use them, then the thought that someone else has them makes your stomach churn.

Philipp Meyer

I just assume that I’ll fail at something for several years – that I’ll try my hardest and still fail for several years. With writing, that turned out to be wrong. I tried my hardest and failed for about fifteen years.

Philipp Meyer

Whenever I’m interested in something, I make sure I’m really good at it.

Philipp Meyer

When you take the fact that you’re loved for granted, it frees your mind to go after every other thing there is.

Philipp Meyer

When you hold things back, when you don’t commit completely to your ideas and trust completely in your own instincts, you are guaranteeing your own failure – even if you end up having commercial success.

Philipp Meyer

When I finish a book, I get extremely restless; I have to aggressively find ways to occupy myself; going off into the woods alone, doing things that are physically or mentally demanding to keep myself busy until the next big idea comes.

Philipp Meyer

I should say that generally I’m a pretty happy person, but as soon as I’m done with a project, I’m usually not happy at all. I feel a little empty and strange. I begin to think about how I can get better, stretch more artistically and intellectually. My biggest worry is getting complacent.

Philipp Meyer

Each time a high-wage job is lost, a family is turned upside down. And that affects the communities where they live.

Philipp Meyer

What art and books do at their best is investigate why we are the way we are.

Philipp Meyer

At Cornell University, it was well known that after five years on Wall Street, you could expect to be making half a million a year in salary and bonus; after 10 years, you could expect a million or more. I had 60 grand of university debt, and my parents had no retirement. I needed that money.

Philipp Meyer

I didn’t fit the typical profile of a trader. I was an English major working on a novel at night. Most everyone else was a maths or economics major; most everyone else had relatives or family in banking.

Philipp Meyer

I’d grown up in a working class neighborhood in Baltimore, a place hard hit by the offshoring of numerous heavy industries – steel, textile, shipbuilding.

Philipp Meyer

At 16, I dropped out of school and spent five years working as a bicycle mechanic and volunteering in a Trauma Centre before ultimately deciding to go to university.

Philipp Meyer

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