‘I remember how I finished the story “A Butterfly on F Street.” I was seeing a therapist at the time, in 1990 or ’91, because I was in a depressive mood. And I came back on the subway to Rosslyn, where I would take the bus to my apartment in Arlington. All of a sudden the final part of the story just came to me for some reason. I wasn’t even thinking about the story when I got on the subway, then all of a sudden I was thinking about it and it unfolded – just like that. Maybe that’s why I don’t really lash my back and worry about not working. I figure it it’s going to come to you, it’ll come to you. If I had pushed myself for some sort of proper ending, I don’t think I would have had the ending that’s there in the story now.’

– Edward P. Jones, The Art of Fiction No. 222, The Paris Review

‘Isaac Bashevis Singer said, “There’s no great art in confusing the reader.” That’s one of the laws you live by. Make it plain. Make it plain all the way through. Starting from “Once upon a time.” The emotions are indeed there, but you need not express them with neon lights.’

– Edward P. Jones, The Art of Fiction No. 222, The Paris Review

‘When you know you’ve hit the right notes, you just sit there and read the same paragraphs over and over and over again. It’s always a good idea to stop right there for the day, because if you continue, you might run out of whatever it is that made you hit those notes.’

– Edward P. Jones, The Art of Fiction No. 222, The Paris Review