Saturday, April 17, 2021 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Caitlin R. Kiernan

« All quotes from this author

No matter what you may have heard elsewhere or however you may have romanticized the life of working writers, know this: it is, with very, very few exceptions, a brutal, ugly, and unrelentingly difficult existence. It is a grind, no matter how much you may love to write or feel driven to tell stories. Personal demons aside, you will encounter at almost every turn no shortage of idiots and shitheels upon whom you must depend to get your work to readers. Occasionally, there will be a fortunate aberration: a wonderful, brilliant editor, or a copyeditor who doesn't try to express herhimitself vicariously by attempting to rewrite your work, or an agent who busts hisherits ass for you. You may even be so fortunate as to encounter a publisher who cares more about herhisits authors than the bottom line. Those things do happen. But don't ever f**king count on it. If you come to this life, and if you "make it" and can actually eek out some sort of living writing, you will likely learn these things for yourselves. Plenty of people will tell you I'm full of shit on this account. And you are certainly free to listen to whomever you please. But after fourteen years as a full-time writer, during which time I have had great successes and profound failures, seen modest fortune and considerable poverty and everything in-between, been appreciated and reviled, awarded and ignored, helped and hindered ó one thing remains true. It's a tough row to hoe, as my Grandfather Ramey would have said. And you do yourself and all working authors a disservice if you dare believe otherwise.
(25 November 2006)

Caitlin R. Kiernan

» Caitlin R. Kiernan - all quotes »

Tags: Caitlin R. Kiernan Quotes, Authors starting by K

Similar quotes


Things may not be immediately discernible in what a man writes, and in this sometimes he is fortunate; but eventually they are quite clear and by these and the degree of alchemy that he possesses he will endure or be forgotten. Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer's loneliness but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day. For a true writer each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed.

Ernest Hemingway

I found Robert A. Heinlein in back issues of Astounding, and also in The Saturday Evening Post, and I read everything of his I could find. I was completely hooked on his "juveniles": Space Cadet. Red Planet. Starman Jones. Between Planets. Farmer in the Sky. Wonderful stories, and the only thing "juvenile" about them was that he took the trouble to explain what was happening. Robert once told me that young people want to know how things work, and you can tell them more in a "juvenile" than you can in an adult novel. In any event I devoured everything of his I could find, through high school, the army, college, and I couldnít have cared less that many were "juveniles". They were wonderful.
I met Robert Heinlein years later, and through some kind of rare magic we became instant friends. We corresponded for a decade. In those days I was an engineering psychologist, operations research specialist, and systems engineer in aerospace. Most of my work was military aerospace, but I did get to work on Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. We were helping to make the dream come true!
I went from there to a professorship, and then into political management and city government. Robert visited me when I was working for Mayor Sam Yorty. "You probably donít know this," he said, "but my political career ended when Yorty beat me for the Democratic nomination to the State Assembly."
When I finally decided to get out of politics, academia, and the aerospace industry and try my hand at writing, Mr. Heinlein was enormously helpful. Years later, when I was an established writer, I asked him how I could pay him back.
"You canít," he said. "You donít pay back, you pay forward." I never forgot that, just as I never forgot the wonderful things his Ďjuvenileí stories did for me.

Robert A. Heinlein

I'd had a long talk with Bob Silverberg, who was very influential on my early career. He'd, out of the kindness of his heart, at a convention told me that he thought I'd made several mistakes in the way I was disposing of my stories. And I said, "I don't understand what you mean, but I'll be glad to buy you a few drinks, if you'll tell me about it". So we adjourned to the bar and sat there a couple of hours. He was drinking Bloody Marys back then; I was drinking Black Russians. And he told me all sorts of things which carried me over the next several years; it was a lot of information for a couple of drinks. He told me that the first thing I should do if I wanted to write full-time was to get a really good agent. He said that after a while the business end of writing takes too much of the writing time. Better to pay someone ten percent and find that you're still more than ten percent ahead in the end.
Which is true. My present agent says that he always feels that a good agent during the course of a year should earn back for his client at least the ten percent he takes by way of commission, so the client's really nothing out. And what he should ideally do is make him more money than the ten percent.

Roger Zelazny

On the second album I worked with a lot of people that I worked with on the Metamorphosis album. And when I worked on Metamorphosis I was so nervous and shy about going into the studio and working with people, they eventually toward the end made me feel so comfortable and so secure with myself. I loved working with them. I have a great relationship with them. I talk to them [all the time]. When we started talking about the second album, I was like, "I want to work with all the same people." They knew what was going on in my life, what I was going through. I would call them and say, "I feel like this right now. I want a song about this..." I never really felt like I had enough time to write my whole album and I don't know if I'm secure enough with myself to do that. But I wrote three songs on the album, one I wrote with my sister. It's so personal and these people really got what I was going through and how I feel inside. I think that's what makes it good and that's what makes me relate to them.

Hilary Duff

While I was working on Downward Spiral, I was living in the house where Sharon Tate was killed. Then one day I met her sister. It was a random thing, just a brief encounter. And she said: "Are you exploiting my sister's death by living in her house?" For the first time, the whole thing kind of slapped me in the face. I said, "No, it's just sort of my own interest in American folklore. I'm in this place where a weird part of history occurred." I guess it never really struck me before, but it did then. She lost her sister from a senseless, ignorant situation that I don't want to support. When she was talking to me, I realized for the first time, "What if it was my sister?" I went home and cried that night. It made me see there's another side to things, you know?

Charles Manson
© 2009–2013Quotes Privacy Policy | Contact