Top Quotes from Elizabeth Strout

By | July 5, 2016

I don’t especially like to travel, not the way many people do. I know many people that love to go to far-off and different places, and I’ve never been like that. I seem to get homesick as quickly as a child.

Elizabeth Strout

I’m writing for my ideal reader, for somebody who’s willing to take the time, who’s willing to get lost in a new world, who’s willing to do their part. But then I have to do my part and give them a sound and a voice that they believe in enough to keep going.

Elizabeth Strout

In a way, I’m very interested in writing about Maine, because I think Maine represents its own kind of history. It’s the oldest state, and it’s the whitest state.

Elizabeth Strout

I love arranging the words and having them fall on the ear the right way, and you know you’re not quite there, and you’re redoing it and redoing it, and there’s a wonderful thrill to it. But it is hard. It’s a job of tremendous anxiety for me.

Elizabeth Strout

I’ve always been tremendously interested in criminal law. It goes to a deep interest I have in prisons and the criminal element, and what we do as a society with it. I’ve always been touched by the idea of criminality.

Elizabeth Strout

The fact of the matter is I always have a really high sense of responsibility to the reader, whether it’s a few readers that I get or a lot of readers, which I was lucky enough to get with ‘Olive.’ I feel responsible to them, to deliver something as truthful and straight as I can.

Elizabeth Strout

I do write by hand. I just think – I don’t know, it’s a physical thing for me. It’s a bodily thing. It literally has to earn its way through my hand.

Elizabeth Strout

My first job was when I was about 12, cleaning houses in the afternoons for different elderly women in town. I hated it.

Elizabeth Strout

Without a doubt my mother was an inspiration for my writing. This is true in many ways, but mostly because she is a wonderful storyteller, without even knowing it.

Elizabeth Strout

I love theater. I love sitting in an audience and having the actors right there, playing out what it means to be a human being.

Elizabeth Strout

For years I did most of my reading on the F train between Brooklyn and Manhattan. I had long commutes, and I read tons of books on that train; I loved it.

Elizabeth Strout

I do reread, kind of obsessively, partly for the surprise of how the same book reads at a different point in life, and partly to have the sense of returning to an old friend.

Elizabeth Strout

I don’t think there was a particular book that made me want to write. They all did. I always wanted to write.

Elizabeth Strout

Oh, I wish I organized my books. But I don’t. I’m not an organized person. The best I can do is put the books I really like in one sort of general area, and poetry in another.

Elizabeth Strout

If you get divorced in New York, you go into therapy and will talk to anybody you meet on the sidewalk about it.

Elizabeth Strout

I don’t want to live in Maine full time, but the physical beauty is very striking. It is the exact opposite of New York. When you walk through my small town to get a cup of coffee, you bump into five people you know.

Elizabeth Strout

Bullies are just frightened people.

Elizabeth Strout

My parents were very, very, very strict.

Elizabeth Strout

I don’t know if I have a memory of not thinking I was a writer – it goes that far back. I went to law school because I didn’t know how to earn a living otherwise. I tried to ignore the pull, but it wouldn’t let me.

Elizabeth Strout

I got a gerontology certificate a million years ago along with my law degree, so I’ve been interested in older people for many years. Some people grow up with a lot of kids around, but I just grew up with a lot of old people.

Elizabeth Strout

I grew up on a dirt road in Maine, and pretty much everybody on that dirt road was related to me, and they were old. And so grumpy.

Elizabeth Strout

I like people a lot, but I am not comfortable in literary New York situations. There is deep anxiety and tension around success here. I don’t share problems I’m having about my work, and I think conversations around publishing are boring.

Elizabeth Strout

The purpose of fiction is not to make people seem nice. What makes anyone think people are nice? Look around you!

Elizabeth Strout

As a novelist, I like the contained drama and complexity of the courtroom, though I don’t watch those shows on TV. I prefer the hospital shows because I wanted to be a doctor.

Elizabeth Strout

I love the comfort of daily life’s routines: things like being able to read a paper on the subway. It’s no accident that my favourite word is ‘quotidian.’

Elizabeth Strout

I’m so deeply interested in what it feels like to be other people that I get to operate under the illusion when I’m writing fiction that I’m not really revealing that much about myself. But, of course, I am, and I know that I am. And yet there’s this sort of membrane that I get to work behind as I write my fiction, and I love it.

Elizabeth Strout

In the kind of New England I’m from, you are expected to stay and marry somebody from New England – well, Maine, actually – so I think it was seen as a betrayal when I left for New York, which has been my refuge.

Elizabeth Strout

I’m drawn to New England because that’s where my roots are, and I miss it. I come from many generations of New Englanders, and so, in my writing, I’ve been drawn back there to the landscape and the light and the type of personality that’s revealed.

Elizabeth Strout

I don’t think there’s anybody I write about who I don’t care for deeply in some way, no matter what their behavior is.

Elizabeth Strout

Oh, I do a tremendous amount of rewriting. I just obsessively rewrite. Although sometimes there are sections, sometimes you’re just lucky and a paragraph will just kind of come out. And that’s great. But that’s not ordinary in a day’s work.

Elizabeth Strout

I don’t ever really know where I get my characters from.

Elizabeth Strout

I was a pretty terrible lawyer. A really, really terrible lawyer.

Elizabeth Strout

I don’t think of myself as a fast reader. I just read a lot. When someone else might think, ‘I might do the dishes,’ I don’t. But then the dishes multiply.

Elizabeth Strout

Pnin’ by Vladimir Nabokov, which is a literally small book, fit right in my common law book. I would sit in class and read it.

Elizabeth Strout

I sometimes miss the sense of excitement that I remember having when I was younger. I miss that sense of, ‘Oh wow.’ I think it’s part of aging.

Elizabeth Strout

I think, really, that the only way a person can open their heart to someone who is so much another is really by knowing them… whether that’s in a classroom, or a soccer team, or a food pantry, or any of those things. I mean, we’re kind of more alike than we are different.

Elizabeth Strout

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.