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Karen Russell's Quotes

Karen Russell profile photo

Born: 1981-07-10
Profession: Novelist
Nation: American
Biography of Karen Russell

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I think that different pleasures work for different readers - a friend of mine won't read anything that's not a cardiovascular sort of page-turner. I tend to care less about plot, but I'm a sucker for humor and strangeness.

Tags: Care, Humor, Work

I think there's a kind of confidence I often feel when I'm writing that I don't feel when I'm in the world, I guess. I feel a different kind of conviction about my choices. I feel much more insecure and awkward in the world, somehow, than I do when I'm writing.

Tags: Confidence, Insecure, Writing

I took a fiction-writing workshop my sophomore year at Northwestern, and I hadn't yet read Junot Diaz or George Saunders, Flannery O'Connor. There was something so attractive about those voices.

Tags: Read, Took, Year

I was sort of growing up at a time of really rapidly expanding ecological consciousness. It was a time of reckoning when people were talking about how the Everglades was on life support. I was always trying to reconcile it as a kid.

Tags: Life, Time, Trying

I wrote 'Ava Wrestles the Alligator' when I was 22 or 23. These people and that world have been evolving in me for a while. It's such a shift not to be in that world.

Tags: Alligator, Evolving, While

I'd love to meet Flannery O'Connor. I think I'd be content to hear her speak on any subject. What forces shaped her. What nebula of books and stories were whirling together inside her at the time of her death.

Tags: Death, Love, Time

I'm living two blocks away from this library - and I don't know why I was so elated about this - but I'm in my mesh jogging shorts in the elevator and I saw that my book 'Swamplandia!' was their book club selection. And I was over the moon.

Tags: Book, Living, Why

In short stories there's more permission to be elliptical. You can have image-logic, or it's almost like a poem in that you can come to a lot of meanings within a short space.

Tags: Almost, Short, Within

In workshopping short stories I learned how to get character down, and how to work with ratios of literal to fantastic to make a world that people can believe in even if it's a little wild or out there.

Tags: Character, Learned, Work

It can be difficult workshopping novels because any questions or qualms you have as the author can be like, 'That's next chapter, don't worry about it!' I don't think the workshop is set up so well to do that for novels.

Tags: Difficult, Next, Worry

Now I'll read anytime, anywhere. I love reading in front of the space heater. Isn't that a sad confession? But it's like my substitute for the roaring fireplace of yore.

Tags: Love, Read, Sad

Sometimes it can feel like the whole globe is spinning with irredeemable losses, capricious natural disasters and crimes so outrageously evil they dismantle any attempt to solve or explain them.

Tags: Evil, Sometimes, Whole

The very best moment of writing 'Swamplandia!' was when I figured out what the ending should be. And even though I changed the prose of it, that realization was an ice cube melting in my chest.

Tags: Best, Moment, Writing

Writers get embarrassed sometimes in talking about how much fun writing can be, but drafting is often really enjoyable. Often, you're tumbling in the dark, and you don't know where the story is going to lead.

Tags: Dark, Fun, Writing

It took me the bulk of my twenties to write one book about a family of alligator wrestlers. Whereas somebody like Steve Martin is releasing his latest banjo symphony, having just completed another movie and acclaimed, best-selling novel.

Tags: Another, Book, Family

Fiction helps me to reconnect with the true, deep weirdness inherent in everyday reality, in our dealings with one another, in just being alive.

Tags: Deep, Reality, True

For me, writing is a parenthesis where I can make sense of life.

Tags: Life, Sense, Writing

I am extremely close to my brother, Kent, and my sister, Lauren, who have been remarkably understanding about all of my weird sibling tales.

Tags: Brother, Sister, Weird

I grew up reading a lot of these super weird, genre-bending Southern gothic writers.

Tags: Reading, Weird, Writers

I have a B.A. in Spanish, so briefly I thought that somebody might pay me to speak Spanish badly in another country, like Norway.

Tags: Another, Country, Thought

I hope that in my thirties I grow as a writer, push into new territory.

Tags: Grow, Hope, Writer

I moved to New York with the derangement of love. I was writing all these terrible stories, but I had never been happier.

Tags: Love, Stories, Writing

I really try to write every day. It's hard, but it's my favorite thing to do, so it's usually not too, too hard.

Tags: Hard, Try, Write

I remember writing these terrible poems when I was, like, nine and discovered alliteration.

Tags: Remember, Terrible, Writing

I spent most of my 20s with these alligator wrestlers in the swamps of South Florida.

Tags: Alligator, Florida, South

I tended to be drawn to the weirder, darker stuff. Horror and sci-fi anthologies.

Tags: Darker, Horror, Stuff

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Much more quotes by Karen Russell below the page.

I would love to travel around the world working for a travel company taking students abroad on cultural immersion trips.

Tags: Love, Travel, Working

I'm anxious by nature, I think.

Tags: Anxious, Nature

It remains unbelievable to me that I have any readers beyond my own blood relations - it's a crazy, wild gift.

Tags: Blood, Crazy, Gift

My favorite classes were always dumb nerdy vocabulary.

Tags: Dumb, Favorite, Nerdy

New York is a weird place.

Tags: Place, Weird, York

People really get myopic as they get older. We're not a culture that encourages dreaming or distraction. We're not ever good at just being.

Tags: Culture, Good, Older

When I was younger I used to lock myself in the bathroom and read in the dry tub.

Tags: Read, Used, Younger

You don't want people to think you're just writing stories for children about a pig in a tutu.

Tags: Children, Stories, Writing

At the end of the block where I used to live in Coconut Grove in Miami, there's a swampy area, a no-name alcove with a little mangrove estuary. It's beautiful.

Tags: Beautiful, End, Used

Given the brevity of our time here, it does seem likely that our species, too, must have at best a blinkered understanding of the shape of things, the import of certain events and what distinguishes 'good' from 'bad' luck.

Tags: Best, Good, Time

I also love animals, and I worked at a veterinary clinic for a while, but it turns out that loving animals and removing deflated basketballs from the intestinal tracts of animals are two very different skill sets.

Tags: Love, While, Worked

I have friends who are capable of writing a very rough draft and then going back and embroidering - they're sort of the cathedral builders of fiction. I never really know what I'm doing, and all my pleasure's on the level of the line.

Tags: Friends, Line, Writing

I love weird or funny or beautiful sentences; Joy Williams could write a microwave-oven manual and I'm sure I'd love it, because the sentences would be tuned up like music.

Tags: Funny, Love, Music