"Novelists must learn the skill of listening, practice listening as discipline and discovery. The best novelists hear their subjects, and their writing bears witness to a conversation with presences real as a friend, an enemy, a stone in a shoe, a sword poised over the writer's head, a person or place unrecoverable yet never quite absent. Which is not to say writers are necessarily nuts. Cervantes, unlike his creation Don Quixote, could distinguish windmills from dragons. Most of the time, anyway."
— John Edgar Wideman See what books made a difference to John Edgar Wideman What a writer needs