Life Advice From Raymond Carver

Were it not for his untimely death, tomorrow would have been the 75th birthday of Raymond Carver, whose work has shaped readers and writers for many years. To celebrate the life of the literary giant, and to help you better emulate him, Flavorwire has collected some of Carver’s advice and musings on living and writing, from the pithy to the complex. Read his thoughts after the jump, and add any favorite quotes missing here to the comments.


“Years ago I read something in a letter by Chekhov that impressed me. It was a piece of advice to one of his many correspondents, and it went something like this: Friend, you don’t have to write about extraordinary people who accomplish extraordinary and memorable deeds. (Understand I was in college at the time and reading plays about princes and dukes and the overthrow of kingdoms. Quests and the like, large undertakings to establish heroes in their rightful places. Novels with larger-than-life heroes.) But reading what Chekhov had to say in that letter, and in other letters of his as well, and reading his stories, made me see things differently than I had before.” — Interview with The Paris Review, 1983.