Did you hit any writer's block while writing?
Price has written eight novels. His first was The Wanderers (1974), a coming-of-age story set in the Bronx in 1962, written when Price was 24 years old. It was adapted into a movie in 1979 by director Philip Kaufman. Price's other novels include Bloodbrothers (1976), Clockers (1992), Freedomland (1998), Samaritan (2003), and Lush Life (2008).
He has written numerous screenplays, of which the best known are The Color of Money (1986) for which he was nominated for an Oscar, Sea of Love (1989), Mad Dog and Glory (1992), Ransom (1996), Shaft (2000). He also wrote for the HBO series The Wire. He is often featured in cameo roles in the films he writes.
Price has written for The New York Times, Esquire Magazine, The New Yorker, the Village Voice, Rolling Stone and other publications. He lives in New York City with his family and has taught writing at Columbia, Yale, and New York University (NYU).
In 1999, Price received the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature.
Question: Did you hit any writer's block while writing?
Richard Price: No. Once I started writing it, I didn’t have writer’s block; I had the opposite problem. I started writing elements, pages and pages that somewhere I knew weren’t going to make the final cut. But it’s sort of like jogging on a sprained ankle. You know your ankle’s hurting but instead of the doing the sensible thing, which is stop running, you run faster. So once I realized I was going off into the woods over there, I worked twice as hard trying to jam that square peg into that round hole. I’ll have writer’s block between books and it’ll go for two years. I’ll be doing screenplay work just so I won’t sit there freaking out because I can’t think of anything to write a novel about. The good thing about screenplay work is somebody’s done the big think for you. They’ve said “Here’s the story. We want a story about so and so that’s involved with so and so.” I say okay, thanks. You gave me the idea. That’s all I need. I’ll do that. It’s like getting paid for writing but without the burden of making a huge statement every other year.
Recorded On: 3/3/08
Price says the writing was smooth.
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