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Amy Bloom

  • American writer
  • Born 1953

Amy Bloom (born 1953) is an American writer and psychotherapist. She has been nominated for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.


I'm sure I've been influenced by every fine writer I've ever read, from Dickens and Austen to Auden and Jane Hirshfield. And also, the short stories of Updike, Cheever, Munro, Alice Adams, and Doris Lessing. And the plays of Oscar Wilde. And paintings by Alice Neel and Matisse.




My father would have been spectacularly ill-suited to working for an institution of any kind, and I suspect that, to a lesser degree, that's true of me, too.




There are two trilogies I admire: Robertson Davies's 'The Deptford Trilogy' and Philip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials.'




It is a wonderful, moving, heart-filling experience to sit with the man or woman you love and your beloved children and know that all are happy to be just where they are with each other and loving one another. This doesn't happen very often.




My family kept its history to itself. On the plus side, I didn't have to hear nightmarish stories about the Holocaust, the pogroms, terrible illnesses, painful deaths. My elderly parents never even spoke about their ailments.




I do have a sister. I have never written much about sisters before. I am very close to my sister, but, maybe, because we are very close, it never occurred to me to write about her.




Keep your mouth shut and see what's happening around you. Don't finish people's sentences for them. Don't just hear what they say, but also how they behave while they're saying it. That was great training for writing.




The truth is I never think of any subject as taboo.




I didn't think being a writer was a fancy thing. It was a job like any other job, except apparently you could do it at home.




People tend to forget that in our country, we'd pretty much all be immigrants, except for the Native Americans.




I was the kind of reader in smudged pink harlequin glasses sitting on the cool, dusty floor of the Arrandale public library, standing at the edge of the playground, having broken a tooth in dodge ball, and lying under my covers with a flashlight.




To hold happiness is to hold the understanding that the world passes away from us, that the petals fall and the beloved dies. No amount of mockery, no amount of fashionable scowling will keep any of us from knowing and savoring the pleasure of the sun on our faces or save us from the adult understanding that it cannot last forever.




My target audience is anyone who finds the world interesting and human behavior fascinating, terrible, inspiring, funny, and occasionally, mysterious.




I spent a lot of time listening to people. But it's also true that I liked details and listening to people when I was a bartender and when I was a waitress and probably when I was a babysitter as well. I suspect that's part of what drew me to psychotherapy rather than the other way around.




For me, the short story is the depth of a novel, the breadth of a poem, and, as you come to the last few paragraphs, the experience of surprise.




I find my readers to be very smart, and there is no reason to write dumb.




Nonfiction is both easier and harder to write than fiction. It's easier because the facts are already laid out before you, and there is already a narrative arc. What makes it harder is that you are not free to use your imagination and creativity to fill in any missing gaps within the story.




My ideal meal varies, depending on the time of year. Lobster on a deck overlooking a beach at sunset is one - but all my kids have to be there, because they are all lobster-lovers. Making a bolognese sauce over pappardelle for my husband on a winter evening, because he loves my bolognese sauce and it's his comfort food.




My mother's favorite photograph was one of herself at twenty-four years old, unbearably beautiful, utterly glamorous, in a black-straw cartwheel hat, dark-red lipstick, and a smart black suit, her notepad on a cocktail table. I know nothing about that woman.




I'm a grown woman. I can come up with plenty of things that I've done and said or didn't say or failed to do that remain with me as sources of embarrassment.




Smart people often talk trash about happiness and worse than trash about books on happiness, and they have been doing so for centuries - just as long as other people have been pursuing happiness and writing books about it.




Bad people doing bad things is not interesting. What I find interesting is good people doing bad things.




I do my business in the morning, and then at 2 P.M., I write fiction for the rest of the day. I like my husband, so I don't work at weekends.




My writing process, such as it is, consists of a lot of noodling, procrastinating, dawdling, and avoiding.




I assume as a writer that most of the time I'm going to fall down and fail.




Training to be a therapist teaches you to shut up and listen, and that is certainly useful as a writer.




I am interested in the gaps between one piece of sidewalk and the next. I am interested in the things for which we don't always have a name, and the things that are not easy to articulate - the difference between what we think and how we feel.




I learned how to write television scripts the same way I have learned to do almost everything else in my entire life, which is by reading.




I'm overall a big fan of President Obama.




The real problem with happiness is neither its pursuers nor their books; it's happiness itself. Happiness is like beauty: part of its glory lies in its transience.




My grandmother tended to divide life into 'nice' and 'not so nice.' Life in America, her apartment, her grandchildren: 'nice'; life before 1915: 'not so nice.' That's all I heard.




As children, we think our mother has always been a mother, but it is just one of the roles you may have the opportunity to play. They don't define you as a human being.




It took me a while to understand the meaning of a franchise: the reasons why you see lawyer, doctor, cop shows. It's not because anyone in their right mind says, 'You know, what's the most fascinating thing in the world?' It's because you need something new that happens every week in a frame.




I don't think writers really choose their subjects. I think the subjects, the topics, the themes, choose us, and then we make the most of what we have. For Trollope, society; for Roth, Jews. For me, apparently, love. Why hide it?




My greatest surprise was that so much of what we think is common sense is just prejudice, and so much of what we think is scientific fact is about as scientific as the idea that the sun revolves around the earth.




I think the impulse to get to the heart of the story and to tell it well is in my genes.



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