"Writing teachers invariably tell students, Write about what you know. That’s, of course, what you have to do, but on the other hand, how do you know what you know until you’ve written it? Writing is knowing. What did Kafka know? The insurance business? So that kind of advice is foolish, because it presumes that you have to go out to a war to be able to do war. Well, some do and some don’t. I’ve had very little experience in my life. In fact, I try to avoid experience if I can. Most experience is bad."
E. L. Doctorow
Doctorow is the author of eight novels, among them Ragtime, which was made into a wonderful musical with a book by Terrence McNally, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, and music by Stephen Flaherty.