I don’t try to be prophetic, as I don’t sit down to write literature. It is simply this: a writer has to take all the risks of putting down what he sees. No one can tell him about that. No one can control that reality. It reminds me of something Pablo Picasso was supposed to have said to Gertrude Stein while he was painting her portrait. Gertrude said, “I don’t look like that.” And Picasso replied, “You will.” And he was right.

James Baldwin (via theparisreview)

You cannot write autobiographically; you cannot write from memory… If one is writing from memory, one is writing ultimately a kind of shapeless, amorphous slice of lifeism.

Stanley Elkin (via theparisreview)