I saw her in interview once talking about this decision and ever the pragmatist she said something akin to, ‘But I was practical I had my savings and I gave myself six or so months to get something published. I submitted a half adozen stories to the New Yorker and luckily they were accepted.’
In her sixty year career she has published only two novels Green Water, Green Sky 1959 and A Fairly Good Time a decade later. The majority of her published works is done in brilliant short stories she admits have sometimes started as novels before being deconstructed in to a more succinct tales.
Gallant has donated her personal papers to the Thomas Fisher Library at the University of Toronto where they will become available to researchers 25 years after she dies. In the meantime, she’s busy editing her highly anticipated diaries. She wisely said, “Unless you have a million dollar endowment, you can’t publish everything you have written.”
Here are a few more of her genius little observation that makes me smile.
This about journalism, “... can keep a writer from getting bored, but it can also result in a writer forming bad habits.”
“Publishers will consider publishing a collection of short stories, but only if you’ve written a novel, or if you’ve produced a New Yorkerish collection of stories. But you have to work a long time to have a collection. They don’t come out of the ground like earthworms.”
“I detest amateurs. Anyone who is an authentic writer and has an authentic voice doesn’t need help from anyone.”
“Happiness, is for pigs and cows.”
And maybe that dog on her lap.
“Netta took it for granted, now she was married, that Jack felt as she did about light, dark, death, and love. They were as alike in some ways ( none of them physical ) as a couple of twins, spoke much the same language in the same accents, had the same jokes - mostly about other people - and had been together as much as their families would let them for most of their lives. Other men seemed dull to Netta - slower, perhaps, lacking the spoken shorthand she had with Jack.”t