“I always read poetry before I write, to sensitize me to the rhythms and music of language. … A novelist can get by on story, but the poet has nothing but the words.”—Janet Fitch
Author of the Oprah's Book Club novel White Oleander, which also became a hit film, Fitch is celebrating her 60th birthday today. A native of Los Angeles, she grew up in a family of voracious readers, even though, “none of them were literary, or writers.”
“My father was an engineer - he wasn't literary, not a writer or a journalist, but he was one of the world's great readers,” she said, “and he instilled that in me. The wonder of reading. When you're a little kid, you are small, your life is small - you're terrifically aware of that. But when you read, you can ride Arabian horses across the desert, you can be a dogsledder." It takes you anywhere. That, she said, is what she strives for her own writing to do.
Planning to be a historian because of history’s powerful narratives, scope of events, colossal personalities, and the potency and breadth of its themes,
she found herself, instead, drawn to writing about things
historical and so she did.
She teaches fiction in the Master of Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California and has produced several more novels, including Paint It Black, named after the Rolling Stones song of the same name. A movie version of that book also is in the works.
“I write all the time,” she said, “whether I feel like it or not. I never get inspired unless I'm already writing.”
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