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All Quotes by author - Tim O'Brien
" Above all, a well-imagined story is organized around extraordinary human behaviors and unexpected and startling events, which help illuminate the commonplace and the ordinary. "
" A bullet can kill the enemy, but a bullet can also produce an enemy, depending on whom that bullet strikes. "
" After each of my books about the war has appeared, I thought it might be the last, but I've stopped saying that to myself. There are just too many stories left to tell - in fact, more all the time. "
" America before the 1960s was a pretty innocent place. We were the Lone Ranger galloping off to the rescue of the needy and the oppressed of the world, and we could get things done. "
" A small, seemingly inconsequential event can determine a life. "
" A true war story is never moral. "
" At the bottom, all wars are the same because they involve death and maiming and wounding, and grieving mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. "
" A writer's obligation is to invent: to go beyond what did happen and to look at what could have happened but didn't. Fiction writers are born liars. "
" By telling stories, you objectify your own experience. You separate it from yourself. You pin down certain truths. "
" Everyone acts stupid at some time in order to be loved. "
" Fantasy has a dark side to it. It also has a light hemisphere - the power of the human imagination to keep going, to imagine a better tomorrow. "
" Fiction is a lie that is told in the service of truth. "
" Fiction, maybe art in general, is a tentative, uncertain enterprise; it's not science, it's an exploration, but you never find much in the way of answers. "
" For me, at least, Vietnam was partly love. With each step, each light-year of a second, a foot soldier is always almost dead, or so it feels, and in such circumstances, you can't help but love. "
" For me, the way to approach a subject such as Vietnam is through storytelling. "
" From the year of his birth in 1914 until the outbreak of war in 1941, my father lived in a mostly white, mostly working-class, mostly Irish Catholic neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. "
" I carry the memories of the ghosts of a place called Vietnam - the people of Vietnam, my fellow soldiers. "
" I could feel my moral compass as a soldier, in danger of - I could feel the squeeze, the pressure of frustration and anger and fear combining on me... I felt the danger; I felt the squeeze of it. "
" I did not set out to write another novel. One day I sat down with the thought of trying my hand at a piece of nonfiction, a personal memoir of youth, but over the next several weeks, without intending it, the work began evolving into what has become 'Tomcat in Love.' "
" I didn't get into writing to make money or get famous or any of that. I got into it to hit hearts, and man, when I get letters not just from the soldiers but from their kids, especially their kids, it makes it all worthwhile. "
" I don't think I'd call myself a war writer, but I would probably say I'm a writer who has written about war. "
" If I see a phrase that strikes me as ugly, I'll delete it. Or, if I find a way to say something a bit more freshly than it was expressed originally, I'll do it. Ultimately, you want to try to leave behind the best possible paragraph or sentence. "
" If you stop loving someone, did you ever love them? If you say you're committed and later you're not committed, well, was the first thing commitment? You see what I mean? This kind of thing has always interested me. "
" I grew up with the Gene Kelly look at war. The cheerful kind of stories you tell about a horrendous war. "
" I hated the draft, but at the same time, it's something that made every American take war seriously. "
" I know what it is to feel unloved, to want revenge, to make mistakes, to suffer disappointment, yet also to find the courage to go forward in life. "
" I learned that moral courage is harder than physical courage. "
" I live in my head all day long and the world is a little dreamy. "
" In a war without aim, you tend not to aim. You close your eyes, close your heart. The consequences become hit or miss in the most literal sense. "
" In books or films, it is desirable to have a climactic battle scene, but the world does not operate in those gross dramatic terms. In Vietnam, there was a general aimlessness, not just in the physical sense, but beyond that in the moral and ethical sense. "
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