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David Mitchell's Quotes

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Born: 1969-01-12
Profession: Novelist
Nation: English
Biography of David Mitchell

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Perhaps all human interaction is about wanting and getting.

Tags: Getting, Human, Perhaps

There's been very little writing about speech impediments, even though it's this huge psychological barrier.

Tags: Speech, Though, Writing

When I think about it, I'm happily bewildered that people will preorder my books They'll preorder me. What a lucky guy!

Tags: Books, Guy, Lucky

Write something every single day, even if it's just three lines. And it doesn't matter if it's any good - just write something every day.

Tags: Good, Matter, Single

Writers are so used to books being optioned and then the movie never happens.

Tags: Books, Happens, Used

Writing is probably one-fifth coming up with the stuff, and four-fifths self-editing again and again and again.

Tags: Again, Stuff, Writing

'Y' is about the weakest letter of all. 'Y' can't make up its mind if it's a vowel or a consonant, can it?

Tags: Letter, Mind, Weakest

You can't be a part-time Richard Dawkins.

Tags: Richard

Your environment affects you wherever you are.

Tags: Affects, Wherever

Any adaptation is a translation, and there is such a thing as an unreadably faithful translation; and I believe a degree of reinterpretation for the new language may be not only inevitable but desirable.

Tags: Faithful, Language, May

As long as our civilisation keeps trundling along generally forwards, then there is the possibility of a future where ethnicity is merely an interesting badge, not a uniform you can't take off.

Tags: Along, Future, Off

Every relationship has its own language. It takes a long time to evolve and read one another. Just as it's true for people, it's also true on a national or cultural level.

Tags: Another, Time, True

I don't have problems starting writing. I have problems stopping. I'm one of the last dads to arrive at school to collect the kids, because I want to get this paragraph just right.

Tags: Problems, School, Writing

I think all writers of my age who are brought up on films probably by the age of 16 have seen many more films than they have read classics of literature. We can't help but be influenced by film. Film has got some great tricks that it's taught writers.

Tags: Age, Great, Help

I'm certainly a plot and character man. Themes, structure, style - they're valid components of a novel and you can't complete the book without them. But I think what propels me as a reader is plot and character.

Tags: Book, Character, Style

If the human condition were the periodic table, maybe love would be hydrogen at No. 1. Death would be helium at No. 2. Power, I reckon, would be where oxygen is.

Tags: Death, Love, Power

In the 1970s and 1980s there was so little decent fiction for young people, but we're now in a golden age that shows no sign of fading. Philip Pullman, J. K. Rowling, Lemony Snicket are only three of the best known among a good number of equals.

Tags: Age, Best, Good

Loneliness is an integral part of travelling. I used to think it was the downside to travelling, but now I realise it is a necessary educative part of it to be embraced.

Tags: Loneliness, Necessary, Used

People like to say that East Asians in general, and Japanese in particular, are not very expressive: there's that term 'inscrutable.' But often, Europeans just don't get the Asian codes. Believe me, the message is being expressed OK.

Tags: General, Message, Often

Perhaps where text slides toward ambiguity, film inclines to specificity. A novel contains as many versions of itself as it has readers, whereas a film's final cut vaporizes every other way it might have been made.

Tags: Film, Might, Perhaps

Sometimes I think that creativity is a matter of seeing, or stumbling over, unobvious similarities between things - like composing a fresh metaphor, but on a more complex scale.

Tags: Between, Creativity, Sometimes

Sometimes, comics will make the observation that it's not jokes that are funny, it's characters that are funny. And isn't that true! That's why I always kill jokes. I'm terrible at them, because I get the joke right, but I can't get the character right, and it just goes down like a lead balloon.

Tags: Character, Funny, True

The art of the novelist is not unrelated to the illness of multiple personality disorder. It's a much milder form. But the better the book, the nearer to the padded cell you are.

Tags: Art, Book, Illness

The state of childhood resonates with life inside a fantasy novel. If you have no control over how you spend large chunks of your day, or are at the mercy of flawed giant beings, then the desire to bend the laws of the world by magic is strong and deep.

Tags: Deep, Life, Strong

The words 'maybe' and 'perhaps' are literally the same - the flavor is the same, the educational level is the same. But you just know when to use maybe and when to use perhaps. I think it's because of this: You get to know the tastes or musical tastes of words themselves, and this informs your choice, whether you use them or not.

Tags: Choice, Themselves, Words

There's a disease that young writers are susceptible to, which is, I will do this because I can - hubris, I suppose - without stopping to work out why.

Tags: Why, Work, Young
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When I talk about my artist parents, people imagine a bohemian environment and think, 'Aha, so that's where he gets it from!' But we were as white, straight, and middle-class as the next family on our white, straight, middle-class housing estate.

Tags: Family, Parents, Talk

When I was about 14, in about 1984, I decided to become a great poet. Faber & Faber was going to publish me, and when Ted Hughes read my first anthology he would invite me to Yorkshire for meat pies and mentorship.

Tags: Become, Great, Read

When you're out of your own cultural context you have conversations with yourself that you just don't have at any other point in your life. When you're in a hotel room on the border between India and Nepal you can really discover things about yourself.

Tags: Between, Life, Yourself

False modesty can be worse than arrogance.

Tags: Arrogance, False, Worse

A life can get knocked into a new orbit by a car crash, a lottery win or just a bleary-eyed consultant giving bad news in a calm voice.

Tags: Bad, Car, Life

A novelist needs to know his own strong points and weak points.

Tags: Needs, Strong, Weak

For me, novels coalesce into being, rather than arrive fully formed.

Tags: Arrive, Novels, Rather

Historically, unfortunately, race seems to be the major division that humanity has imposed on itself, a way of subdividing into smaller groups.

Tags: Humanity, Race, Seems

I can write pretty much anywhere.

Tags: Anywhere, Pretty, Write

I can't bear living in this huge beautiful world and not try to imitate it as best I can.

Tags: Beautiful, Best, Living

I love HBO productions, actually, like 'The Wire.'

Tags: Actually, Love, Wire

I often lose myself in the Sudoku-like challenges of making a book work.

Tags: Book, Lose, Work

I rarely ever put my head above the rampart and see where this big lumbering behemoth called 'global literature' is going.

Tags: Big, Head, Put

I still haven't quite got used to eating live fish.

Tags: Fish, Quite, Used

I think it's natural for youth to be drawn to newness: The world is still new for them.

Tags: Drawn, Natural, Youth

I think the story is the most ancient form of human entertainment.

Tags: Ancient, Human, Story

I think we think in terms of stories.

Tags: Stories, Terms

I think words operate like musical notes that the eyeball hears.

Tags: Musical, Notes, Words

I'm a novelist, that's how I make my livelihood, and I concentrate on the novels.

Tags: Livelihood, Novelist, Novels

I'm from a time and place where bigheadedness was a really savage crime, and you'd get cut down for it by your peers and parents.

Tags: Parents, Place, Time

I'm not a great deep political thinker.

Tags: Deep, Great, Political

I'm not from a milieu where high-register language or philosophical ideas were welcome.

Tags: Ideas, Language, Welcome

I've become a less brave traveller since I became a dad, but in the past I was more foolhardy than brave.

Tags: Brave, Dad, Past

It's true that stammerers can become more adept at sentence construction.

Tags: Become, Sentence, True

Japanese food makes me feel particularly good.

Tags: Food, Good, Makes

Many children are natural fantasists, I think, perhaps because their imaginations have yet to be clobbered into submission by experience.

Tags: Children, Experience, Natural

My books are anti-absolutist and deeply distrustful of any religious stance that precludes the validity of any other.

Tags: Books, Deeply, Religious

Married or unmarried, young or old, poet or worker, you are still a dreamer, and will one time know, and feel, that your life is but a dream.

Tags: Dreams, Life, Time

I thank Heaven every summer's day of my life, that my lot was humbly cast within the hearing of romping brooks, and beneath the shadow of oaks.

Tags: Heaven, Life, Within

I love better to count time from spring to spring; it seems to me far more cheerful to reckon the year by blossoms than by blight.

Tags: Love, Spring, Time

The way of a man's heart will be foreshadowed by what goodness lies in him - coming from above, and from around; but a way foreshadowed is not a way made.

Tags: Heart, Him, Lies

Youth is in a grand flush, like the hot days of ending summer; and pleasant dreams thrall your spirit, like the smoky atmosphere that bathes the landscape of an August day.

Tags: Days, Dreams, Youth

But wealth is a great means of refinement; and it is a security for gentleness, since it removes disturbing anxieties.

Tags: Great, Means, Since

In the vanity of self-consciousness one feels at a long remove above the ordinary love and trustfulness of a simple and pure heart.

Tags: Heart, Love, Simple

No man's brain is so dull, and no man's eye so blind, that they cannot catch food for dreams.

Tags: Brain, Dreams, Food

The future is wider than vision, and has no end.

Tags: End, Future, Vision

There is no genius in life like the genius of energy and industry.

Tags: Energy, Genius, Life

You grow up however, unfortunately, as the college years fly by, into a very exaggerated sense of your own capacities.

Tags: College, Grow, Sense

Determine to become one of the best. Sufficient money will almost automatically follow if you get to be one of the 'best' in your chosen field, whatever it is.

Tags: Become, Best, Money

I care not how worldly you may be: there are times when all distinctions seem like dust, and when at the graves of the great you dream of a coming country, where your proudest hopes shall be dimmed forever.

Tags: Care, Great, May

The sparrow that is twittering on the edge of my balcony is calling up to me this moment a world of memories that reach over half my lifetime, and a world of hope that stretches farther than any flight of sparrows.

Tags: Hope, Memories, Moment
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