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" I have found that words that are loaded with pathos and create a seductive euphoria are apt to promote nonsense. "
" I remember when I was writing 'The Tin Drum,' I had the totally misguided idea of giving Oskar Matzerath a sister, and he just wouldn't have it. There was no space for a sister, yet I had the character of the sister in my head. In fact I used her in later novels, in 'Cat and Mouse' and 'Dog Years,' Tulla Pokriski. "
" I've always been surrounded by children - never bothered by their noise. "
" Auschwitz speaks against even a right to self-determination that is enjoyed by all other peoples because one of the preconditions for the horror, besides other, older urges, was a strong and united Germany. "
" Lies that do not hurt, which are different from lies that protect oneself or hurt another person. That is not my business. But the truth is mostly very boring, and you can help it along with lies. There is no harm in that. "
" I don't believe in writing at night because it comes too easily. When I read it in the morning it's not good. I need daylight to begin. Between nine and ten o'clock I have a long breakfast with reading and music. "
" Prose, poetry, and drawings stand side by side in a very democratic way in my work. "
" I belonged to the generation that grew up under National Socialism, and was blinded and led astray - and allowed itself to be led astray. "
" I'm always astonished by a forest. It makes me realise that the fantasy of nature is much larger than my own fantasy. I still have things to learn. "
" I can only write a book like 'The Tin Drum' or 'From the Diary of a Snail' at a special period of my life. The books came about because of how I felt and thought at the time. "
" People change with time. There are things that happened to a person in his childhood and years later they seem to him alien and strange. I am trying to decipher that child. Sometimes he is a stranger to me. When you think about when you were 14, don't you feel a certain alienation? "
" I think it's a shame that we have 'Bild' like you have the 'Sun'. Now serious newspapers like 'FAZ' and 'Spiegel' use a bit of the tone of 'Bild.' This is terrible. "
" When I am working on an epic-length book, the writing process is fairly long. It takes from four to five years to get through all the drafts. The book is done when I am exhausted. "
" Memory likes to play hide-and-seek, to crawl away. It tends to hold forth, to dress up, often needlessly. Memory contradicts itself; pedant that it is, it will have its way. "
" Melancholy has ceased to be an individual phenomenon, an exception. It has become the class privilege of the wage earner, a mass state of mind that finds its cause wherever life is governed by production quotas. "
" My relationship with Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm reaches far back into my childhood. I grew up with Grimm's fairy tales. I even saw a theater production of 'Tom Thumb' during Advent at the State Theater in Danzig, which my mother took me to see. "
" The job of a citizen is to keep his mouth open. "
" Art is uncompromising and life is full of compromises. "
" We cannot get by Auschwitz. We should not even try, as great as the temptation is, because Auschwitz belongs to us, is branded into our history, and - to our benefit! - has made possible an insight that could be summarized as, 'Now we finally know ourselves.' "
" Writers know that sometimes things are there in the drawer for decades before they finally come out and you are capable of writing about them. "
" In general, I agree with Jacob Grimm and feel that we ought to permit changes and uncontrolled growth in language. Even though that also allows potentially threatening new words to develop, language needs the chance to constantly renew itself. "
" Everybody knows how fallible memory can sometimes be. You remember certain fragments precisely, but as soon as you try to join the fragments together, for a story, there is a certain - not falsification, but a shifting. "
" Believing: it means believing in our own lies. And I can say that I am grateful that I got this lesson very early. "
" What I do is sometimes - at least in Germany - met with wounding campaigns. I always face the question: should I grow myself a thick skin and ignore it, or should I let myself be wounded? I've decided to be wounded, since, if I grew a thick skin, there are other things I wouldn't feel any more. "
" We already have the statistics for the future: the growth percentages of pollution, overpopulation, desertification. The future is already in place. "
" I was brought up Catholic and know the stench of the Catholic Church. I moved away from religion early, but the impression remains. "
" Our minds aren't bound by a chronological corset. When thinking and dreaming, past, present and future are mixed up. That's also possible for a writer. "
" I had an uncle who was a postal official at the Polish post office in Gdansk. He was one of the defenders of the Polish postal service and, after it capitulated, was shot by the Germans under the provisions of martial law. Suddenly he was no longer a member of the family, and we were no longer allowed to play with his children. "
" If work and leisure are soon to be subordinated to this one utopian principle - absolute busyness - then utopia and melancholy will come to coincide: an age without conflict will dawn, perpetually busy - and without consciousness. "
" How do we prevent Iran developing an atomic bomb, when, on the American side, dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is not recognised as a war crime? "
" The European Union arose on an economic foundation, and it turns out that even this is not a solid base. Cultural identity has been neglected. "