Archive for May, 2004

Gardner on the writer and the imagination

Every nightmare hints at the secret reserves of imaginative power in the human mind. What the stalled or not-yet-started writer needs is some magic for getting in touch with hiimself, some key. –John Gardner

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Stafford on getting started

It is like fishing. But I do not wait very long, for there is always a nibble–and this is where receptivity comes in. To get started, I will accept anything that occurs to me. Something always occurs, of course, to any of us. We can’t keep from thinking. –William Stafford, A Way of Writing

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James on art

A second chance–that’s delusion. There never was to be but one. We work in the dark–we do what we can–we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art. –Henry James, The Middle Years

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Brande on writers and their nature

The most enviable writers are those who, quite often unanalytically and unconsciously, have realized that there are different facets to their nature and are able to live and work with now one, now another, in the ascendant. –Dorothea Brand, Becoming a Writer

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Dickinson on poetry

If I read a book [and] it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only way [sic] I know it. Is there any […]

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Nietzsche on the artist

No artist tolerates reality. –Friedrich Nietzsche

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Elbow on theme

The turning point in the whole cycle of growing is the emergence of a focus or a theme. It is also the most mysterious and difficult kind of cognitive event to analyze. It is the moment when what was chaos is now seen as having a center of gravity. There is a shape where a […]

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Oates on why we write

The engine that gives its mysterious inner life to a work of art must be the subterranean expression of a wish, working its way to the surface of narrative. –Joyce Carol Oates

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Beckett on writing Waiting for Godot

It all came together between the hand and the page. –Samuel Beckett

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James on an artist’s life

The artist’s life is his work, and this is the place to observe him. –Henry James

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