No one really understood music unless he was a scientist, her father had declared, and not just a scientist, either, oh, no, only the real ones, the theoreticians, whose language was mathematics. She had not understood mathematics until he had explained to her that it was the symbolic language of relationships. "And relationships," he had told her, "contained the essential meaning of life."
He saw on the paper a picture of a man, white-skinned, who hung upon a crosspiece of wood. The man was without clothes except for a bit about his loins, and to all appearences he was dead, since his head drooped upon his shoulder and his eyes were closed above his bearded lips. Wang Lung looked at the pictured man in horror and with increasing interest.
No writer, I believe, should attempt a novel before he is thirty, and not then unless he has been hopelessly and helplessly involved in life. For the writer who goes out to find material for a novel, as a fishermen goes out to sea to fish, will certainly not write a good novel. Life has to be lived thoughtlessly, unconsciously, at full tilt and for no purpose except its own sake before it becomes, eventually, good material for a novel.
The typhoon came out of the sea first as a deep hollow roar. ... I was surrounded by the madness, the unreason, of uncontrolled, undisciplined energy. None of this made any sense. It was worse than useless - it was nature destroying its own creation - its own self. To create by the long process of growth and then to destroy by a fit of wild emotion - was this not madness, was this not unreason?
Just about everything significant in my life happened after I passed forty. I was a housewife and mother, but yearned to be a writer. I worked at my writing whenever I could snatch a moment, and I assembled several manuscripts. I was just about forty when my first novel, East Wind, West Wind, was published. Then a few months later came The Good Earth. My career was launched at last, and it has given me the richest possible satisfaction