Interview conducted in the YMHA in Manhattan, New York, which appeared in The Paris Review, Issue 116, Fall 1990. Maya Angelou’s response to a question asking her about how she knows whether what she writes is what she wants.
I know when it’s the best I can do. It may not be the best there is. Another writer may do it much better. But I know when it’s the best I can do. I know that one of the great arts that the writer develops is the art of saying, “No. No, I’m finished. Bye.” And leaving it alone. I will not write it into the ground. I will not write the life out of it. I won’t do that.
Photo – Flickr: Andrew Lorien