15 Things Paul Theroux said at the Singapore Writers Festival today

Paul_therouxWell-known novelist and travel writer Paul Theroux today delivered a lecture titled “The Road I Travelled” at the SOTA lecture theatre as part of the Singapore Writers Festival 2014. Here are the 15 things he said during his lecture:

  1. When you write, you question authority
  2. As a travel writer, you write for yourself.
  3. You travel because you have an identity crisis (psychologist Eric Ericsson’s term). You have to have a sense of individualism (the process of individuation).
  4. You travel because you don’t want to be told what to do with your life
  5. As a travel writer, you should see things as they are.  Telling the truth, writing about what you see is enough of a mission (for a writer like me).
  6. Describe things as you see them, not as you wish to see them
  7. I took a train from Victoria station in London to Singapore.
  8. As a travel writer, you travel to have a ‘bad’ time, so to speak; as a tourist, you travel to have a good time
  9. Sometimes what you see and you write about it upsets people.
  10. Writing fiction is very difficult. It involves a lot of anxiety. You are never sure where you are going
  11. I write about people, I am not interested in architecture but people. I write about them
  12. I am interested in what the world is and what the world was
  13. It is not straight north for development and eventually things fall apart
  14. As a traveler, you learn that money does not make a difference. Angola has oil and diamond and gold but the average person there is very poor.
  15. H D Thoreau’s Walden is very relevant for Singapore.

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