Richard Price on writing

Leonard Durso

The books that made me want to be a writer were books like Hubert Selby’s Last Exit to Brooklyn, where I recognized people who were somewhat meaner and more desperate than the people I grew up with, but who were much closer to my experience than anything I’d ever read before. I mean, I didn’t have a red pony. I didn’t grow up in nineteenth-century London. With Last Exit to Brooklyn, I realized that my own life and world were valid grounds for literature, and that if I wrote about the things that I knew it was honorable–that old corny thing: I searched the world over for treasures, not realizing there were diamonds in my own backyard.

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