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Doctorow: Reading = Writing

February 24, 2012

“I really started to think of myself as a writer when I was about nine. Whenever I read anything I seemed to identify as much with the act of composition as with the story. I seemed to have two minds: I would love the story and want to know what happened next, but at the same time I would somehow be aware of what was being done on the page. I identified myself as a kind of younger brother to the writer. I was on hand to help him figure things out. So you see, I didn’t actually have to write a thing, because the act of reading was my writing. I thought of myself as a writer for years, before I got around to writing anything. It’s to blur the distinction between reader and writer. As a child, I somehow drifted into this region where you are both reader and writer: I declared to myself that I was a writer. I wrote a lot of good books. I wrote Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini. That was one of my better efforts.”

(E.L. Doctorow, as told to George Plimpton in a 1988 interview)

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