Tom Rachman Quotes

  1. That’s a paradox I’ve noticed, too: The news business held little romance for me, yet writing about it somehow stirred my affections.
  2. Journalists who are devoted to strictly factual reporting take particular pleasure from satirical news outlets that have the liberty to laugh and even mock the hypocrisy that reporters and editors must simply observe without comment.
  3. A common defense among obituary-fanciers such as myself is that the obit is not about death at all. It is about life. This is true since an article about the condition of deadness would make for turgid reading at best.
  4. My intent was to gain experience for fiction I eventually hoped to write. But there’s no question I was drawn in by the hope that journalism would be a creative, thrilling environment.
  5. I went to the University of Toronto to study the history and theory of film, in the back of my mind thinking I’d go to NYU film school and see if I could make a career of it.
  6. I don’t like most contemporary art. But I think if you talked to any person who’s heavily involved in contemporary art, they’d say the same thing. If you go to a biennale, you don’t expect to like much of it.
  7. Many things embarrass me, but reading isn’t one of them. I’m not ashamed of my slightly weird collection of prison memoirs. Nor the flaky meditation books. After all, I can pretend I never read those.
  8. My own career started in New York at the ‘Associated Press’, a fast-paced news agency where we rarely had time for deep reporting.
  9. I had pictured journalism as I’d seen it in the most ennobling films, where the reporter battles for the truth, propelled by conviction, and is triumphant. There are journalists who fit that ideal.
  10. My parents used to rent old movies – my whole childhood is in black and white – and it was my dream to make films.
  11. What the art world has done, it has been constantly been pushing the boundaries about what art can be. It’s like expanding its territory.
  12. The question I ask myself is what would have happened if newspapers hadn’t initially given their content away for free on the Internet. It’s so hard to get people to pay once they are accustomed to having something for free.
  13. The way I found time to write ‘The Imperfectionists’ was that I took work as a copy editor at the ‘International Herald Tribune’ in Paris, working full-time for approximately six months, then taking my savings from that and writing full-time, then returning after six months, and so on, until the book was done!
  14. The strength of fiction is not in reading about yourself, but in reading about other people.
  15. When I left Toronto and entered journalism in the late 1990s, I had many notions about the news business, nearly all of them wrong, as it turned out.
  16. There are journalists who are drawn to the most extroverted, aggressive jobs because they get an ego high from it. It can be shocking to encounter them and even worse to work with them.
  17. Obituaries were among my favorite to write because they have elements no other news stories have – a story from start to finish with a proper conclusion.
  18. Art doesn’t spring from the muses alone, but from hard work.
  19. At the outset, my notion of being a writer was that you would have moments of inspiration and moments of frustration, when you’d crumple up your pages and toss them away. On one side, the dustbin would fill up, and on the other side, pages would rise into a novel.
  20. I hadn’t been a particularly precocious reader, but everybody else in my family was.
  21. During my past career as a journalist, I relished writing obits and equally dreaded phoning relatives for the necessary facts. But to my surprise and great relief, they often wanted to talk – they wanted their recently deceased loved ones recorded in print.
  22. The training of a journalist, of working with words for thousands of hours, is extraordinarily useful for a fiction writer.

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