Lucius Shepard Quotes
“When the tragedies of others become for us diversions, sad stories with which to enthrall our friends, interesting bits of data to toss out at cocktail parties, a means of presenting a pose of political concern, or whatever…when this happens we commit the gravest of sins, condemn ourselves to ignominy, and consign the world to a dangerous course. We begin to justify our casual overview of pain and suffering by portraying ourselves as do-gooders incapacitated by the inexorable forces of poverty, famine, and war. “What can I do?” we say, “I’m only one person, and these things are beyond my control. I care about the world’s trouble, but there are no solutions.” Yet no matter how accurate this assessment, most of us are relying on it to be true, using it to mask our indulgence, our deep-seated lack of concern, our pathological self-involvement.”
“The effort mined a core of dizziness inside him. He resisted it, but then realizing that there was nothing attractive about consciousness, nothing he cared to know about the someone in charge of death and butterflies, he let himself go spiraling down past layers of darkness and shining wings, darkness and mystical light, and a memory of pain so bright that it became a white darkness wherein he lost all track of being.”
“Don’t you see the inevitability of this moment? I mean we’re talking serious process here, man. The perfect critic stepping forth from the demimonde of the war and blowing the heart of the painting to rubble, and then turning his weapon on the man whose actions have been the pure contrary of the work’s formal imperative.’ ‘I’m outta film,’ said the mestizo cameraman.”
“His thoughts came and went one at a time, without logical attachments or chains of causation, like hawks circling an empty sky. [...] And from their isolation, their profound disunity, he concluded that a mind was not something grown or evolved, but was a mosaic, a jackdaw’s nest of baubles and bits of glass between which lightning flickered now and again, connecting and establishing the whole for fractions of seconds, creating the illusion of a man, of a man’s rational and emotional convictions. Years before, months before, he might have denied this conception, put forward a romantic conception in its stead. But the constituency of his mind, his jackdaw’s nest, had changed, with war and prostitutes replacing home-cooking and girlfriends, and though a younger Mingolla would have rejected the bleakness of this self-knowledge, the current one found in it a source of strength, a justification for conscienceless action, for contempt of sentiment.”
- Date of birth: August 01, 1947
- Died: March 18, 2014
- Born: in Lynchburg, Virginia, The United States.
- Description: Brief biographies are, like history texts, too organized to be other than orderly misrepresentations of the truth. So when it's written that Lucius Shepard was born in August of 1947 to Lucy and William Shepard in Lynchburg, Virginia, and raised thereafter in Daytona Beach, Florida, it provides a statistical hit and gives you nothing of the difficult childhood from which he frequently attempted to escape, eventually succeeding at the age of fifteen, when he traveled to Ireland aboard a freighter and thereafter spent several years in Europe, North Africa, and Asia, working in a cigarette factory in Germany, in the black market of Cairo's Khan al Khalili bazaar, as a night club bouncer in Spain, and in numerous other countries at numerous other occupations. On returning to the United States, Shepard entered the University of North Carolina, where for one semester he served as the co-editor of the Carolina Quarterly. Either he did not feel challenged by the curriculum, or else he found other pursuits more challenging. Whichever the case, he dropped out several times and traveled to Spain, Southeast Asia (at a time when tourism there was generally discouraged), and South and Central America. He ended his academic career as a tenth-semester sophomore with a heightened political sensibility, a fairly extensive knowledge of Latin American culture and some pleasant memories.
Toward the beginning of his stay at the university, Shepard met Joy Wolf, a fellow student, and they were married, a union that eventually produced one son, Gullivar, now an architect in New York City. While traveling cross-country to California, they had their car break down in Detroit and were forced to take jobs in order to pay for repairs. As fortune would have it, Shepard joined a band, and passed the better part of the 1970s playing rock and roll in the Midwest. When an opportunity presented itself, usually in the form of a band break-up, he would revisit Central America, developing a particular affection for the people of Honduras. He intermittently took odd jobs, working as a janitor, a laborer, a sealer of driveways, and, in a nearly soul-destroying few months, a correspondent for Blue Cross/Blue Shield, a position that compelled him to call the infirm and the terminally ill to inform them they had misfiled certain forms and so were being denied their benefits.
In 1980 Shepard attended the Clarion Writers’ Workshop at Michigan State University and thereafter embarked upon a writing career. He sold his first story, "Black Coral," in 1981 to New Dimensions, an anthology edited by Marta Randall. During a prolonged trip to Central America, covering a period from 1981-1982, he worked as a freelance journalist focusing on the civil war in El Salvador. Since that time he has mainly devoted himself to the writing of fiction. His novels and stories have earned numerous awards in both the genre and the mainstream.