on writing

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I never felt a victim,’ he says, calmly. ‘To be a victim is a failure of intelligence. One becomes responsible for one’s own life, however difficult that life may be.’ He closes his eyes, as if trying to catch a thought that is hovering on the edge of his consciousness, then says something that sheds fresh light on all his writing. ‘No matter what happens to you, no matter how depressing the material, if it becomes depressing to write, or indeed, to read, it’s no good. I firmly believe that unless the thing is understood it’s useless, and that the understanding of it is a kind of joy. It’s liberating.’

Some good thoughts on life and writing from John McGahern.

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