"I'd have stopped writing years ago if it were for the money." --Paulo Coelho Link To Blog Archive here.
Enough Whining: Break Time (2015-08-18)
Have to go water the asphalt.
The Poet In Our Culture: But I’m Not Bitter (2015-08-17)
“It is a sad fact about our culture that a poet can earn much more money writing or talking about his art than he can by practicing it.” —W. H. Auden
Doing readings, talks, or ‘teaching’ creative writing—these are the tiny financial rewards for being recognized as a ‘real’ poet. And I must confess it galls me that English professors can earn a good living by writing about poetry and poets, while poets work at day jobs to support them. But then what’s new? The working class that produces something of value doesn’t profit, while those that just capitalize on it do.
Poetry And Anguish (2015-08-16)
"What is a poet? An unhappy person who conceals profound anguish in his heart but whose lips are so formed that as sighs and cries pass over them they sound like beautiful music." —Søren Kierkegaard
Although I don’t think of myself as an unhappy person, I can relate to this, because it is certainly true that anguish is often a wellspring of creativity. Fortunately so is joy.
Escaping From Reality (2015-08-15)
“What good are insights? They only make things worse.” ―Raymond Carver
I’ve always been interested in creativity. So much so as to write three books about it. Naturally, the creativity of writers holds special interest. I’ve examined the objective evidence, but I also have relied on introspection. I know personal experience should never be generalized to a group, but I can’t help noticing frequent parallels between what many writers say about practicing their art and my own experience—my own demons.
One such parallel is the feeling, perhaps delusional, that one sees some things more clearly than is average. And being blind to many of those things would be more comfortable.
Write: Sobriety Is Hazardous To One’s Health (2015-08-14)
“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” ― Ray Bradbury (Zen in the Art of Writing)
Trouble is drunks get in trouble.
Reading: The Light To Be Found In Darkness (2015-08-13)
“Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.” —Franz Kafka
“Maybe this is why we read, and why in moments of darkness we return to books: to find words for what we already know.” ―Alberto Manguel (A Reading Diary: A Passionate Reader's Reflections on a Year of Books)
Misery loves company.
Surprise, Surprise, Writers Read! (2015-08-12)
“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.” —Samuel Johnson.
So true! I’m always amazed at that how many people who never read seriously believe they can write.
The Truth Is Dangerous (2015-08-11)
“Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled "This could change your life.” ―Helen Exley
My wife recently came across this fine poem by Joseph Mills (relevant to the above quotation) on that excellent blog, Brain Pickings.
“If Librarians Were Honest
‘…a book indeed sometimes debauched me from my work…’
If librarians were honest,
they wouldn’t smile, or act
welcoming. They would say,
You need to be careful. Here
be monsters. They would say,
These rooms house heathens
and heretics, murderers and
maniacs, the deluded, desperate,
and dissolute. They would say,
These books contain knowledge
of death, desire, and decay,
betrayal, blood, and more blood;
each is a Pandora’s box, so why
would you want to open one.
They would post danger
signs warning that contact
might result in mood swings,
severe changes in vision,
and mind-altering effects.
If librarians were honest
they would admit the stacks
can be more seductive and
shocking than porn. After all,
once you’ve seen a few
breasts, vaginas, and penises,
more is simply more,
a comforting banality,
but the shelves of a library
contain sensational novelties,
a scandalous, permissive mingling
of Malcolm X, Marx, Melville,
Merwin, Millay, Milton, Morrison,
and anyone can check them out,
taking them home or to some corner
where they can be debauched
and impregnated with ideas.
If librarians were honest,
they would say, No one
spends time here without being
changed. Maybe you should
go home. While you still can.”
Telling The Truth (2015-08-10)
“There is no doubt fiction makes a better job of the truth.” ―Doris Lessing (Under My Skin: Volume One of My Autobiography, to 1949).
There is no other way to tell the hardest truths, which are never simple.
The Need For Truth (2015-08-09)
“Fiction is the truth inside the lie.” ―Stephen King
The Need For Narrative (2015-08-08)
“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” ―Philip Pullman
Good Advice For Writers (2015-08-07)
“Always be a poet, even in prose.” ―Charles Baudelaire
One is most likely to be heard if you one speaks most effectively; i.e., poetically. I think of how poetic are the novels that most influenced me.
All One Can Do Is Speak, Even If Some Do Not Listen (2015-08-06)
“Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry.” ― Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Angel)
It’s their loss and unfortunately civilization’s loss as well.
One Has To Hope (2015-08-05)
“A good poem is a contribution to reality. The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. A good poem helps to change the shape of the universe, helps to extend everyone's knowledge of himself and the world around him.” ―Dylan Thomas
All one can hope is that, as the charities say, "Donations of any size are welcome and appreciated. "
Is Anyone Listening? (2015-08-04)
“Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose-petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo.'”—Don Marquis
But still better than leaving it in a drawer to wilt and fade away.
Perhaps Tilting At Windmills? (2015-08-03)
“The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” ―Albert Camus
(Remember his philosophical essay “The Myth Of Sisyphus”. Meaning can be found in pushing that rock uphill.)
The Sharpest Sabre (2015-08-02)
“Poetry is a sword of lightning, ever unsheathed, which consumes the scabbard that would contain it.” —Percy Bysshe Shelley (A Defence of Poetry)
The Return Of The Literary Jedi (2015-08-01)
I’m back, albeit briefly.
I have a great fondness for quotations, so I thought I’d use this blog to share some of my favourites by writers battling the forces of darkness. Their ‘lightsaber’ is the pen, which I like to believe is mightier than any real world sword.
“Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.” —Nathaniel Hawthorne (The Custom House)
Writing On The Wall: Blog Archive