We all show influences and derivations. We can’t avoid using or being used. When it comes time to express yourself, what you put forth should be done unconsciously, without thought of influences. But all this is in your blood already, in the very stream of your being. I’ve come to believe that I’m at my best, I express myself best, when I’m following the philosophy of the East, but I wouldn’t propose it as the one way. I think each one has to find his own unique route.
I think the peculiar quality of an artist is that he’s both participant and observer at the same time. He’s playing a dual role always. I mean, I don’t go through life as a writer who’s always making notes in a mental diary, though I am aware of making note of things for future use. I can’t help it; it’s my nature. But I don’t enter into things in a spirit of detached research. When I participate, I do so as a human being; I’m simply more aware than most men of what’s actually happening.
The Playboy Interview: Men of Letters by Ray Bradbury, Saul Bellow, Lee Child Kurt Vonnegut, Chuck Palahniuk