"And they had stayed like that forever, stuck in a perpetual postgraduate world where gigs and books and films mattered more to then than they did to other people of their age."
— Juliet Naked by Nick Hornby (via likeaduckinwater)
One of the questions that is probably troubling you at the moment is this: How do I know whether I’m a writer? And the question can only be answered with another question: Well, do you write? If you don’t, you’re not. If you do, you are. There’s nothing else to it.
Ah, but are you a good writer? Because that’s probably the question that best articulates the nagging doubt that has held you up hitherto. And I’m afraid you will never know the answer to that one. No writer does. (Some writers think they do, but they are usually wrong.)
It’s a mess, the arts. Critics don’t agree with each other, readers don’t agree with critics. And real writers—if I may become definitive for a moment—change their minds about their own worth and talent somewhere between two and seven hundred times a day.
I’m trying to tell you that your own opinion of your work is entirely irrelevant, and so is the opinion of others. You have a job to do, and that job is to write a novel. … You need a story and characters and something to say about them, although it’s possible that some of these elements won’t arrive until after you’ve begun. You don’t need an agent or a grant or a publisher’s advance, and you don’t need to know whether your book will be studied at university in two hundred years’ time.
— (Lea’s selection of the bests parts of) Nick Hornby’s NaNoWriMo pep talk: November 28, 2012 (via hundredsofcharacters)
"I’d spent the previous couple of months looking up suicide inquests on the Internet, just out of curiosity. And nearly every single time, the coroner says the same thing: ‘He took his own life while the balance of his mind was disturbed.’ And then you read the story about the poor bastard: his wife was sleeping with his best friend, he’d lost his jobs, his daughter had been killed in a road accident some months before…Hello, Mr Coroner? Anyone at home? I’m sorry but there is no disturbed mental balance here, my friend. I’d say he got it just right. Bad thing upon bad thing until you can’t take any more, and then it’s off tho the nearest multi-storey car park in the family hatchback with a length of rubber tubing. Surely that’s fair enough? Surely the coroner’s inquest should read, ‘He took his own life after sober and careful contemplation of the fucking shambles it had become’?"
— Martin // A Long Way Down (by Nick Hornby)
"I came up with a lot of utter nonsense when he and I broke up; I told people that he had been forced to move away, that he was sick in the head, that he was a drunk and he’d hit me. None of it was true. He was a sweet man whose crime was that he didn’t love me quite enough, and because this wasn’t much of a crime I had to make up some bigger ones."
— Nick Hornby, A Long Way Down (via debrouiller)
"The quickest way to kill all love for the classics, I can see now, is to tell young people that nothing else matters, because then all they can do is look at them in a museum of literature, through glass cases. Don’t touch! And don’t think for a moment that they want to live in the same world as you! And so a lot of adult life —if your hunger and curiosity haven’t been squelched by your education—is learning to join up the dots that you didn’t even know were there."
— Nick Hornby, More Baths Less Talking (via aneclecticmess)