How to Tell if You’re a Writer
John Irving is the author of twelve books, including “The World According to Garp,” “A Prayer For Owen Meany,” and most recently, “Last Night on Twisted River.” Over his career he has won a National Book Award, an Academy Award for his adaptation of “The Cider House Rules,” and many other honors, and has been translated into over thirty languages. A former competitive wrestler, he splits his time between Vermont and Montreal.
Question: Did you know from an early age that you would be a writer?
John Irving: I supposed I had a number of what I might call pre-writing moments as a kid. I recognized at a pretty early age, certainly I was pre-teens, I noticed that the school day was enough of a day to spend with my friends. I seemed to have a need to want to be alone. Even before I started making almost landscape notes in a journal, even before I started keeping a journal, which happened to me when I was fourteen, even before then I had a need to come home from school by myself and to be in a room by myself or in my grandmother's garden by myself. I guess the earliest sign was how much I liked being alone, how much I actually needed to be alone, the way you need, or I need, exercise or food or a certain amount of sleep. There was that desire to be, and a comfort, at being alone.
Recorded on: October 30, 2009
For John Irving, the need for a daily ration of solitude was his strongest "pre-writing" moment as a child.
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