Artist Resources

Daily Inspiration: Raymond Carver Says Don’t Complain, Don’t Explain

"I have friends who've told me they had to hurry a book because they needed the money, their editor or their wife was leaning on them or leaving them - something, some apology for the writing not being very good. 'It would have been better if I'd taken the time.' I was dumbfounded when I heard a novelist friend say this. I still am, if I think about it, which I don't. It's none of my business. But if the writing can't be made as good as it is within us to make it, then why do it? In the end, the satisfaction of having done our best, and the proof of that labor, is the one thing we can take into the grave. I wanted to say to my friend, for heaven's sake go do something else. There have to be easier and maybe more honest ways to try and earn a living. Or else just do it to the best of your abilities, your talents, and then don't justify or make excuses. Don't complain. Don't explain.

Raymond Carver was an American short story writer, poet, and novelist who while he was a writer his entire life, become well known late in life. After the publication of his collection of short stories “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” and “Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?” he became well known for his conversational tone and deadpan truths about suburban, garden variety tragedy. He famously wrote that his biggest influences were his children, as they dictated when and for how long he could write. The above quote suggests that the man who was pushed for time and indulged an addiction implored others to make something great, give it the time it deserves and don’t explain it away later. You can check out the films “Jindabyne”and “Everything Must Go”  which are adaptations of his short stories “So Much Water So Close To Home” and “Why Don’t You Dance?” respectively. Also, check out Robert Altman’s sprawling suburban epic “Short Cuts” which is based on Carver’s stories as well.

"Undercover" by Michael Ward