"It’s not my job to populate my books with particular types of characters that I imagine other people might find relatable. It’s my job to write about whatever comes into my head, to the best of my ability. If as a reader you want to exercise control over the kinds of things that are depicted in novels, try writing one. That’s what I did and it worked for me."
– Sally Rooney
"A lot of the play that I used to do as a child doesn’t qualify as a full game. One of these hybrid things that I did as a kid was called “being wolves,” and there were rules to being wolves, and the rules were also changeable, and the goal was always to change the rules in a way that would make being a wolf more exciting but without ceasing to be a wolf. I don’t know why it was so easy to occupy that shared space and sort of understand with whoever you’re playing with which things violated the rules and which didn’t, but I think that on my own as a writer, I sort of do both sides of that when I write by myself. I propose something to myself, and then the other part of me shuts it down or takes it up."
What’s so daring about Osborne’s novels is his refusal to make the non-western characters any more noble than the farang. At the end of The Glass Kingdom, Pop, the homely janitor of the apartment block where Sarah lives, spikes her drink, steals her money, and leaves her to be eaten alive by a monitor lizard. Not for Osborne, then, a world of western villains and virtuous subalterns. Osborne is disdainful of those who try to explain human behaviour by reference to abstract systems of power. ‘I am an enemy of ideology. Ideology is a mental world of templates, diagnoses, the long-term belief in the supremacy of ideals.’ The problem is that ideals have very poor predictive powers. Reality is flux, confusion, error, caprice. This becomes glaringly obvious at the level of the individual – which is the only level that Osborne cares about.
—The Fence, on Lawrence Osborne
I wish that future novelists would reject the pressure to write for the betterment of society. Art is not media. A novel is not an “afternoon special” or fodder for the Twittersphere or material for journalists to make neat generalizations about culture. A novel is not BuzzFeed or NPR or Instagram or even Hollywood. Let’s get clear about that. A novel is a literary work of art meant to expand consciousness. We need novels that live in an amoral universe, past the political agenda described on social media. We have imaginations for a reason. Novels like American Psycho and Lolita did not poison culture. Murderous corporations and exploitive industries did. We need characters in novels to be free to range into the dark and wrong. How else will we understand ourselves? —Otessa Moshfegh
"I’m thinking about the role that art has often played, which is either as a kind of early warning system, mapping out strategies of behavior, or resistance, or new modes of experience that are then usually co-opted by the culture industry. Or they point to futures or certain paths that don’t get realized, but nevertheless remain as part of our collective archive. And so these paths not taken, these little glimmers of possibility that existed for a second, are still somehow there for us as a cultural and historical form."
"Stop worrying about your schedule. That’s how you get through. Step outside of yourself and your life occasionally."
"One afternoon, I left the library with a pile of books. In one of them, I saw a black thing, Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square (1915). When I saw it, I knew that it was important, but I didn’t know why, and I realized I didn’t know anything. That was the day my education started."
"Drawing, however, is still one of the foundations of my practice and still continues to feel like safe harbor no matter how my work evolves."
"I found that I missed physical gesture when working with computers—specifically the gestural instincts I’ve developed through violin and drawing. Sometimes working with software and code can feel like one is relegated to the screen."
"I’m not sure if I think about art in terms of legitimacy or not. Probably to the contrary, what’s really powerful about art practice is its potential generosity. It necessarily evades definition, or legitimization."