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    colm toibin Quotes

    People love talking about writers as storytellers, but I hate being called that: it suggests I got it from my grandmother or something, when my writing really comes out of silence. If a storyteller came up to me, I'd run away.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: people  hate  silence  writing 
     
    Solitude is good in the evening. Dublin is a quiet city when you get to a certain age, when your friends settle down and have kids. Nothing much happens here.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: friends  solitude  age  kids 
     
    Between the time I was 16 until I was about 20, the books I read were by people like Thomas Mann, James Baldwin, Thom Gunn, Elizabeth Bishop. All gay, of course, although I swear I didn't know that at the time. Yet all of them, it turned out, had had a parent who died during their childhood. Sexuality is nothing compared to that.
    — Colm Toibin
    Look at Austen. In her novels, you get a dance, followed by an encounter, followed by a letter, then a period of solitude. No flashbacks and no backstory. Let's have no more back story!
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: solitude  novel  dance 
     
    In Ireland, novels and plays still have a strange force. The writing of fiction and the creation of theatrical images can affect life there more powerfully and stealthily than speeches, or even legislation. Imagined worlds can lodge deeply in the private sphere, dislodging much else, especially when the public sphere is fragile.
    — Colm Toibin
    In my 20s, as I began to travel in Europe, I found comfort in religious paintings. Even though my own belief in Catholic dogma had been shaken and weakened, I found that the beauty and the richness of the art still held me.
    — Colm Toibin
    I lived in the Republic of Ireland. I wrote a book about the North but as an outsider. The hatreds there were not mine. I never felt them. I liked how open in most ways Catalan nationalism was, compared to Irish nationalism. I disliked the violence and cruelty in Ireland.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: violence  hatred  cruelty  book 
     
    I still have a stammer that I can control by not opening a sentence with a hard consonant, or by concentrating for a moment, breathing softly down. Growing up, the 'Our Father' was lovely, made for me, the 'Hail Mary' was gorgeous, and 'Glory Be to the Father' was an absolute nightmare.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: control  moment  father 
     
    The best thing about New York is working late into the night. At 1 in the morning on a Saturday, to be still working, there's an immense satisfaction in being enclosed by it.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: night 
     
    I feel just fine about ignoring or bypassing the rights of people I have known and loved to be rendered faithfully, or to be left in peace, and out of novels.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: peace  people  right  novel 
     
    When I was 19, I thought I wanted to be an English civil servant. It was the most exotic thing at the time - can you imagine, in the middle of the IRA bombing campaigns? I saw an ad inviting Irish applicants for an induction course, so I signed up.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: time  thoughts  imagine 
     
    The only routine I have is that I finish everything I start. I wake up early every day - about 6.30 A.M. - but I do not work every day. I could laze for a day or two, but I wouldn't do it for three.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: work 
     
    I don't think we have a right to enjoy our neuroses; in fact, I believe that we have a duty not to. But we cannot walk away from ourselves. Who else is there to become?
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: believe  right  facts 
     
    The next time I write a play - in order to get audience trust for a particular sort of tragic line, I'll try to bring the audience a good distance before that. Part of that is allowing comic moments to occur. I had been afraid of that - that once the audience started laughing in the play, they would never stop.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: time  trust  moment  write  afraid 
     
    Everyone who's in America spends the first few years not experiencing it. The person is frightened by the newness of the place and doesn't see things. Her emotional universe becomes the entire universe. And then when she thinks of home, her distance in space can seem like a distance in time.
    — Colm Toibin
    I think the whole business of people emigrating was that no one ever told them, although everyone knew, especially if it was to the United States, that it was forever, and the party before you left was called an 'American wake,' in the sense that they knew you wouldn't come back.
    — Colm Toibin
    I think that was one of the things that happened, especially in Ireland, that you left in order to improve yourself, and you couldn't write home and tell people, 'Look, I'm really lonely,' because you'd realize how much those letters were going to matter, that you needed to put good news or uplifting news into them.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: people  write  uplifting 
     
    Describe character using dialogue. Describe character using what the characters see or do or think, but not what they had done or where they had been.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: character 
     
    People's interest in glamour and clothes and nylon stockings and all those things were, when I was a little boy, the sort of world that I listened to.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: world  boys 
     
    My first novel was turned down by about twenty publishers over a period of two and a half years. Because my name is Irish and would not be familiar to English editors, one of them said: 'If she writes anything else, do let us know.' Slowly, very slowly, the books began to sell and be noticed.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: novel  book  write  sell  year 
     
    History is a way of interpreting, rather than, say, knowing, the past. It is usually a set of disputes between those who have access to the same sources. It depends on ideology as much as voting in an election does.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: past  knowing 
     
    I'm slightly influenced by sport in that I like the idea of trying, like an athlete, to keep absolutely ready. That's an emotional thing, almost. I don't mean physically, although I play tennis. But you try to keep yourself ready.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: emotional  ideas 
     
    You have to keep writing. It's almost like practice, almost like tennis, that actually after a few days of not writing, first of all it makes you slightly depressed and uneasy, but it also affects the style when you start up again. You need to get the show on the road.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: writing 
     
    The novel space is a pure space. I'm nobody once I go into that room. I'm not gay, I'm not bald, I'm not Irish. I'm not anybody. I'm nobody. I'm the guy telling the story, and the only person that matters is the person reading that story, the target. It's to get that person to feel what I'm trying to dramatize.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: people  space  gay  novel  reading  stories 
     
    As I settled down to sleep in that new bed in the dark city, I saw that it was too late now, too late for everything. I would not be given a second chance. In the hours when I woke, I have to tell you that this struck me almost with relief.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: chance  sleep  dark 
     
    The old Victorian laws against homosexuality were still on the statute books until the early 1990s. As a gay man living in Ireland, I and people like me found it easy to feel less than citizens.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: men  people  living  law  gay  book 
     
    It may be enough to study history in all its nuance and ambiguity for its own sake. But there is no country free of the need to find new ways of reading the past as an inspiring way of thinking about everything else, including the present.
    — Colm Toibin
    I am violently untidy. My desk is overcrowded. I write my first drafts in longhand in a long notebook using a plastic throwaway fountain pen. Then I work on a word processor using a different desk and a different room.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: work  write 
     
    I did think of becoming a priest quite late on, when other boys were thinking of knocking over fences and going out with girls. I would have made a very good bishop: nice housekeeper, nice clothes - god, the clothes.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: girls  boys  god  thinking 
     
    I first went to Barcelona in 1975 after university, and I stayed for three years. I learnt Catalan because that's what everyone speaks in the mountains. They speak English to foreigners, but what people say to each other is much more important than what they say to you.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: people  university  year 
     
    Anyone who works in the arts knows, if you're writing a novel or a play or anything, you have to be ready for someone to say, 'Your time is up.'
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: time  work  novel  writing 
     
    It really matters to writers to find and treasure readers, all the more when they're on the other side of the world.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: world 
     
    I work very deliberately, with a plan. But sometimes I come to a point that I planned as the end and it needs softening. Ending a novel is almost like putting a child to sleep - it can't be done abruptly.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: children  work  sleep  child  novel 
     
    If you have to read to cheer yourself up, read biographies of writers who went insane.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: read 
     
    I wrote every day between the ages of 12 and 20 when I stopped because I went to Barcelona, where life was too exciting to write.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: age  write 
     
    I live in words. I like looking at things, but I don't have a strong visual imagination.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: live  strong  imagination 
     
    You create a world away from home and make new rooms for yourself. But when you arrive back home in your old rooms, the world you've made for yourself ceases to be real. Everything seems to crumble. Anyone who's been sent away to boarding school can understand that.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: world  real  school 
     
    ..Some of our loves and attachments are elemental and beyond our choosing, and for that very reason they come spiced with pain and regret and need and hollowness and a feeling as close to anger as I will ever be able to imagine.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: pain  anger  regret  imagine 
     
    Three of my novels and a good number of my short stories are told from the point of view of men. I was brought up in a house of women.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: men  women  novel  stories 
     
    I have to write a first draft with a fountain pen before I type it up as a second.
    — Colm Toibin
    tags: write 
     
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    colm toibin
    Birth    : May 30, 1955
    Occupation  : Novelist