Boyle on writing

“Take the writers out of the classes, put them in dark cells with a plug for their monitors, a slot at the top of the door for pizza and a slot at the bottom for waste. Every time a finished story comes back out that top slot, you write them a check for a thousand dollars. In six months, you’ll have Tolstoy.”

T. C. Boyle, portions of response to question “What are your teaching methods?” in an interview as published in The Paris Review 155, Summer 2000

Eco on The Da Vinci Code

Interviewer

Have you read The Da Vinci Code?

Umberto Eco

Yes, I am guilty of that too.

Interviewer

That novel seems like a bizarre little offshoot of Foucault’s Pendulum.

Eco

The author, Dan Brown, is a character from Foucault’s Pendulum. I invented him. He shares my characters’ fascinations — the world conspiracy of Rosicrucians, Masons, and Jesuits. The role of the Knights Templar. The hermetic secret. The principle that everything is connected. I suspect Dan Brown might not even exist.

(From the Summer 2008 issue of Paris Review, No. 185, page 88 as interviewed by Lila Azam Zanganeh, a contributor to Le Monde. She has written a collection of essays on Iran entitled My Brother, Guard Your Eyes.)