“Writing is.... being able to take something whole and fiercely alive that exists inside you in some unknowable combination of thought, feeling, physicality, and spirit, and to then store it like a genie in tense, tiny black symbols on a calm white page. If the wrong reader comes across the words, they will remain just words. But for the right readers, your vision blooms off the page and is absorbed into their minds like smoke, where it will re-form, whole and alive, fully adapted to its new environment.” – Mary Gaitskill
Born in 1954, Gaitskill is noted for her wide range of writings – including essays, short stories and novels. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, The Best American Short Stories (twice), and The O. Henry Prize Stories. Her most recent book is a collection of essays, Somebody With A Little Hammer.
A native of Kentucky, she said she chose to become a writer at age 18 because she was "indignant about things—it was the typical teenage sense of 'things are wrong in the world and I must say something.’” Her fiction typically is about female characters dealing with their own inner conflicts. Often her characters are controversial, but her writing style has won her many awards.
She said she’s always strived to write like the life that she’s lived and “My ambition was to live like music.”
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