We’ve sourced some of the most interesting and thought-provoking Thomas Mallon Quotes. Each of the following quotes is overflowing with creativity, and knowledge.
With ‘Fellow Travelers,’ I think I was consciously trying to imagine what my own life as a gay man might have been like if I’d been born exactly 20 years earlier.
For almost every novel I’ve written, I’ve read the daily newspaper of the time almost as if it were my current subscription. For ‘Two Moons,’ which was set in 1877, I think I read just about every day of the ‘Washington Evening Star’ for that year. For ‘Henry and Clara,’ I read the ‘Albany Evening Journal’ of the time.
One’s politics are part of one even when one is writing. But if I want to say anything about the state of civil society, I will write an essay. The responsibilities you feel as a novelist are literary ones, I think, not civic ones. And I think politicians are interesting to write about.
Bobby Kennedy’s conduct toward Lyndon Johnson was childish and despicable. As the years went on, he displayed nasty, self-pitying, and messianic qualities that would have made him a dangerously authoritarian president.
I’ve long been interested in the role of ‘minor characters’ in major events. This has been the focus of a lot of the fiction and nonfiction I’ve written.
American secretaries of state have typically been more buttoned up than bon vivant, but John Quincy Adams’s diplomatic successes – bigger than anything presidential or legislative that he achieved – still surprise a student of his personality.
I think that the worst form of naivete can be extreme cynicism. If you think that nobody comes to Washington to do any good whatsoever, that is almost as bad as being starry-eyed and thinking that they are all here to advance democracy.
I’m not convinced that Nixon would have survived in office if he’d burned the tapes, but I do believe he would have served out his presidency if he’d never made them in the first place.
My house in Connecticut is very quiet, and when I’m trying to concentrate, I don’t even allow the cat inside my second-floor study.
Cell phones, alas, have pretty much ruined train travel, which I used to love. I could read or even sketch notes for what I was working on.
Of all Americans who have appeared on the nation’s postage stamps, Ayn Rand is probably the only one to have thought that the United States government has no business delivering mail.
The green appeal of solar sailing – traveling by light, once chemical propellants have done their dirty job of orbital insertion – ought to be powerful.
I often tell people who want to write historical fiction: don’t read all that much about the period you’re writing about; read things from the period that you’re writing about. There’s a tendency to stoke up on a lot of biography and a lot of history, and not to actually get back to the original sources.
‘National Review’ came along, in ’55, at the moment when American conservatism most needed it.
The late Tom Wicker’s biography of Nixon, called ‘One of Us,’ is really quite good: you see the biographer discovering dimensions of sympathy for his subject that he hadn’t expected to feel.
One decision I made in writing ‘Henry and Clara’ was that I would keep Lincoln’s appearances and any dialogue by him to an absolute minimum, because I think readers don’t quite believe it when novelists have Lincoln walking around and saying things. They just know they’re in the presence of stage machinery.
I like writing dialog but don’t think I’d be much good at a screenplay. I once had to write a treatment for a novel of mine – a condition of its being optioned by a movie producer – and I turned out something pretty lackluster. So my inclination would be to stay out of the way of an experienced screenwriter.