Amazing Authors and the things they say

“I don’t ever read what I write. I don’t read it when I’m writing it. I don’t read it when I’m done. I’ve never read my first two books. I don’t really have any interest” – James Frey.

Huh? What? Really? Did I get it right? Did he emphatically swear he never reads his own stuff?

Check out this amazing video of the veracity-challenged James Frey, brought to you by Barnes & Noble. 

Incredible. This is only topped by William Boroughs not remembering how he wrote Naked Lunch. I tend to believe Boroughs though, after an interview in which he could barely remember his own name.

I’m not good at rewriting my work. I spend hours editing chapters, just to change them back the next day. Write 7 words, take away 3. Add 2 more, repeat until crazy. Maybe that’s what James is talking about. It gets tiring reading your own stuff, but we can’t all be that cool and unruffled to just hit submit without a last minute read through. Hell, I can’t even hit submit on this post without rechecking it four times.


  1. One day, when I’m rich and famous, I’m going to give out interviews that make all enterprising writers think they’re crap. I’ll say things like “not only do I not read what I write like good ol’ JF, I don’t even know what I write. I just mash the keys and coherent text magically appears.”That’ll buy me at least a few more years of street cred. Not to mention a few more years of no competition, since everyone will be trying to perfect the Oliver technique.Then I will make a suit made from money.

  2. One reviewer stated that the lack of reading would explain Frey’s writing. Ouch. I can’t wait until *I* am a famous writer, so I can say silly clever things in interviews and people can roll their eyes and write about me on blogs. 🙂 Maybe I can keep missing mojo and call my own self out. Hmmm.

  3. No, really… how is that even possible? How can you not ever read back what you wrote?I understand feeling uncomfortable after something has made it out in the world and being reluctant to read it back to yourself… I do that. But to have _never_ read it, not even while writing it? I am just as confused as you seem to be.And, yes, I write this comment on a day I have spent three hours so far writing and rewriting one page. Should I just move ahead with the story without reading it?

  4. Wow, I am so sick of re-writing just now that I would love to be this guy. I spent the long weekend scribbling all over a print-out of my manuscript, going back and typing up the changes and then asking myself, WHY??? That’s two thorough edits on pages that have had 6 thorough edits beforehand, and I know when I look at it again next time I’ll still think it needs more work and that’s 4 days on it and no feeling of progress. ARRGHH. If I ever write one whole sentence that doesn’t need a re-write I’ll vote myself a genius.Speaking of annoying writer interviews, I heard one with Zadie Smith recently where she says she didn’t really have much intention of getting White Teeth published, but an agent read a short story of hers in an Oxbridge collection and asked for a novel. She never had to face even one rejection.Ho hum. At least her story’s true, whereas James Frey I cannot believe.

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