One of the dangers of the American artist is that he finds himself almost exclusively thrown in with persons more or less in the arts. He lives among them, eats among them, quarrels with them, marries them. I have long felt that portraits of the nonartist in American literature reflect a pattern, because the artist doesn’t really frequent. He portrays the man in the street as he remembers him from childhood, or as he copies him out of other books. So one of the benefits of military service, one of them, is being thrown into daily contact with nonartists, something a young American writer should consciously seek—his acquaintance should include also those who have read only Treasure Island and have forgotten that. Since 1800 many central figures in narratives have been, like their authors, artists or quasi artists. Can you name three heroes in earlier literature who partook of the artistic temperament?
“I don’t think you should ever say anything that you’re going to have to apologize for later. If the heat gets hot, just let them get mad. How did somebody make you apologize? Did they literally hit you on your body? Let them be upset. It’s not the worst thing in the world. It doesn’t mean you’re going to be a pauper. It’s a desperate thing to need everybody to be really happy with everything you say. To me the way to manage is not to have 50 versions of yourself — I do this thing, and the next time you’re going to hear me is the next time I do another one. As soon as you crack your knuckles and open up a comments page, you just canceled your subscription to being a good person.”
Our only form of exercise.
“I think the most important thing is just to do what you want to do. A lot of times you get derailed from making movies when you are trying to support yourself or you’re not doing the things you want to do with your day.
When I was in New York and I couldn’t support myself doing exactly what I wanted to do, I moved. I went somewhere where I could squat till I could figure out how to make what I wanted to make. So that always came first. So I just think prioritizing. If you have to do something you don’t want to do all day long, you won’t have the emotional energy to create stuff.”
"All her life, she subscribed to the belief that “everything is copy,” a phrase her mother, Phoebe, used to say. In fact, when Phoebe was on her deathbed, she told my mother, “Take notes.” She did. What both of them believed was that writing has the power to turn the bad things that happen to you into art (although “art” was a word she hated). “When you slip on a banana peel, people laugh at you; but when you tell people you slipped on a banana peel, it’s your laugh,” she wrote in her anthology “I Feel Bad About My Neck.” “So you become the hero rather than the victim of the joke."
Jacob Bernstein, Nora Ephron’s Final Act