I don't know where to start," one [writing student] will wail. Start with your childhood, I tell them. Plug your nose and jump in, and write down all your memories as truthfully as you can. Flannery O' Connor said that anyone who has survived childhood has enough material to write for the rest of his or her life. Maybe your childhood was grim and horrible, but grim and horrible is Okay if it is well done. Don't worry about doing it well yet, though. Just get it down.
[Referring to the birds:] Nat listened to the tearing sound of splintering wood, and wondered how many million years of memory were stored in those little brains, behind the stabbing beaks, the piercing eyes, now giving them this instinct to destroy mankind with all the deft precision of machines.
You can’t run away. The past will be only too happy to chase you —- in absolute, complete, and total earnest. Do you know why? Because they’re lonely. The past and memories are very lonely things. I don’t believe in God. Because he doesn’t have a fixed form. The past certainly does exist, even in a world where the future doesn’t have a fixed form. Even if it’s being colored by misunderstandings and delusions, a person’s past can’t be anything but the truth as long as he believes in it. If that’s what you base your actions or your way of life on, isn’t that like being god?