Maria Semple

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One reason I find all this character growth and narrative swerving so exhilarating is because I never got to do it when I wrote for TV. Our characters needed to remain consistent from week to week.
- Maria Semple
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Much of the time in the writer's room is spent working on story, and I was always challenging myself to make it more interesting, tighter and more surprising: to come at it sideways in a way that the audience wasn't expecting.
- Maria Semple
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It was important for me early on to find the voice of each character and figure out what was unique about them and their individual worldview that I could use for comedy or conflict.
- Maria Semple
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Writing a novel is so hard, and there are so many problems that the last thing you're thinking about is adapting this mess you have on your hands as a movie. You just want to get it to work as a novel. That's your main focus.
- Maria Semple
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I always write authors after I read their books. I've been doing it for years. I write a formal letter and send it to them in care of their agent. My mother always taught us to write thank you notes, and if an author puts themselves out there, they like to hear that their book connected with someone.
- Maria Semple
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I'm not the comedy police, but you watch a movie, and everyone's laughing, and then you shake it out, and you realize, 'There's no joke there!'
- Maria Semple
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I attended TED in 2007 and 2008, the last two years the conference was held in Monterey.
- Maria Semple
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When I came back from my first TED, very few people knew what it was. But around the time I was sitting down to write 'Where'd You Go, Bernadette,' in 2010, TED was exploding.
- Maria Semple
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If you're an artist and you're on Twitter, you are doomed to mediocrity.
- Maria Semple
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Creating art is painful. It takes time, practice, and the courage to stand alone.
- Maria Semple
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I guess that's what art is: Turning something painful into something people can relate to.
- Maria Semple
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When you need a good laugh, do you reach for a book? I don't. I expect books to move me deeply and submerge me in another reality. So when a novel makes me roar with laughter, it's always a delightful surprise.
- Maria Semple
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On Jan. 1, 2012, I resolved to not buy anything from Amazon for a year.
- Maria Semple
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I quickly realized that shopping on Amazon had made the idea of parking my car and going into a store feel like an outrageous imposition on my time and good nature.
- Maria Semple
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We need to preserve our neighborhoods, our small business, our local economy.
- Maria Semple
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This is Seattle. We're supposed to have superior taste.
- Maria Semple
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My summer reading suggestion: Pick a really famous, really long novel.
- Maria Semple
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The sooner you learn it's on you to make life interesting, the better off you'll be.
- Maria Semple
Collection: Interesting
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Anything I write I ask myself: Is it true, is it entertaining?
- Maria Semple
Collection: Writing
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That's right,' she told the girls. 'You are bored. And I'm going to let you in on a little secret about life. You think it's boring now? Well, it only gets more boring. The sooner you learn it's on you to make life interesting, the better off you'll be.
- Maria Semple
Collection: Life
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When I'm sitting at my computer writing, I really have this fiendish smile on my face. I am not thinking about the past or the future or how it's going to be received. I feel that I'm very lucky that way; I don't carry that particular anxiety around with me. I'm not anxiety-free by any means, but that happens to be one that I've been spared.
- Maria Semple
Collection: Writing
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This is why you must love life: one day you're offering up your social security number to the Russian Mafia; two weeks later you're using the word calve as a verb.
- Maria Semple
Collection: Love Life
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I'm not too good when exposed to people
- Maria Semple
Collection: People
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Unfortunately Seattle is my muse, for the better or worse of Seattle - I'm not sure.
- Maria Semple
Collection: Muse
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You come out into the world after a season of TV and you're just swearing and saying mean things to people and they're looking at you like, Who are you? And oh yeah, you think, I have to reacclimate to the way people genuinely treat each other.
- Maria Semple
Collection: Mean
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I can't tell you the number of times I've been in the middle of a perfunctory conversation, and someone will say, 'Tell us what you really think.' Or 'Maybe you should switch to decaf.
- Maria Semple
Collection: Thinking
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Hovering over me was the Chihuly chandelier. Chihulys are the pigeons of Seattle. They're everywhere and even if they don't get in your way, you can't help but build up a kind of antipathy toward them.
- Maria Semple
Collection: Hovering
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I keep an elaborate calendar for my characters detailing on which dates everything happens. Im constantly revising this as I go along. It gives me the freedom to intricately plot my story, knowing it will at least hold up on a timeline.
- Maria Semple
Collection: Character
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I love the camaraderie of a writers' room.
- Maria Semple
Collection: Rooms
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I felt so full of love for everything. But at the same time, I felt so hung out there to dry, like nobody could ever understand. I felt so alone in this world, and so loved at the same time.
- Maria Semple
Collection: Life
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Being in writers' rooms turns you feral. You are swearing, you are going to very dark, mean places. You start out in the room with all these smart people, and you're all well-read and well-educated and the humor is really erudite. And then over the course of the year, after the production schedule grinds you down, it is just so mean and stupid.
- Maria Semple
Collection: Smart
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We were like the Beatles, Dad.' 'I know you think that, sweetie' 'Seriously. Mom is John, you're Paul, I'm George, and Ice Cream is Ringo.' 'Ice Cream,' I said. 'Resentful of the past, fearful of the future...everytime we saw Ice Cream sitting there with her mouth open, we'd say, Poor Ice Cream, resentful of the past, fearful of the future.
- Maria Semple
Collection: Mom
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My day is not that fun-filled or that filled usually with complications.
- Maria Semple
Collection: Fun
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My way of looking at the world is that if it is true, it is funny and it is dark. No matter how dark it is, I just think it is funny. I can't help it.
- Maria Semple
Collection: Dark
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When your eyes are softly focused on the horizon for sustained periods, your brain releases endorphins. It's the same as a runner's high. These days, we spend our lives staring at screens twelve inches in front of us.
- Maria Semple
Collection: Eye
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Its like a hypnotist put everyone from Seattle into a collective trance. You are getting sleepy, when you wake up you will want to live only in a Craftsman house, the year won't matter to you, all that will matter is that the walls will be thick, the windows tiny, the rooms dark, the ceilings low, and it will be poorly situated on the lot.
- Maria Semple
Collection: Wall
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I'll see something awful on the street and I'll come home and say to my boyfriend, "I just saw the funniest thing on the street." It's a stance. It's the way I was born, or the way I was damaged.
- Maria Semple
Collection: Home
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I think thats the most important job of a novelist - to bring authority to their writing.
- Maria Semple
Collection: Jobs
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Your mission statement says Galer Street is based on global "connectitude." (You people don't just think outside the box, you think outside the dictionary!)
- Maria Semple
Collection: Thinking
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Mad About You fit my sensibility the most of any show that I worked on, and as a result, it was really fun. It felt like a very natural fit.
- Maria Semple
Collection: Fun
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Breezy, sophisticated, hilarious, rude and aching with sweetness: LOVE, NINA might be the most charming book I've ever read.
- Maria Semple
Collection: Book
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Maybe that’s what religion is, hurling yourself off a cliff and trusting that something bigger will take care of you and carry you to the right place.
- Maria Semple
Collection: Care
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Maggie Shipstead's prose is so graceful and muscular, so dazzling, so sure-handed and fearless, that at times I had to remind myself to breathe. Astonish Me is a treasure of small surprises.
- Maria Semple
Collection: Fearless
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I spend my whole life trying to put up a front to prevent people from seeing certain parts of me. Weirdly, when I go to write, I feel like I have to expose it, almost compulsively.
- Maria Semple
Collection: Writing
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I got a huge knot in my stomach because if Antarctica could talk, it would be saying only one thing: you don't belong here. (277)
- Maria Semple
Collection: Would Be
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I drop my kid off at school and then race home, and its a very limited time. I can only do really serious writing for a couple of hours. And then I always go on a walk, I do a one-to-two-hour walk; I dont go running or hard hiking.
- Maria Semple
Collection: Running
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I can pinpoint that as the single happiest moment of my life, because I realized then that Mom would always have my back. It made me feel giant. I raced back down the concrete ramp, faster than I ever had before, so fast I should have fallen, but I didn't fall, because Mom was in the world.
- Maria Semple
Collection: Mom
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I want find a part of myself that I feel shame about, or that I feel really scared of exposing to the world.
- Maria Semple
Collection: World
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I'd say I never considered myself a great architect. I'm more of a creative problem solver with good taste and a soft spot for logistical nightmares.
- Maria Semple
Collection: Creative