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Friday, February 3, 2012

I went online looking for some uplifting, thought-provoking, pithy quips about the art of writing, and I came up empty. This is what I found:

The professional writer who spends his time becoming other people and places, real or imaginary, finds he has written his life away and has become almost nothingV. S. Pritchett

For a person to discover that she or he does not have a calling to write can be good news….Consider committing your life in an impossibly difficult, underpaid profession that is not right for you. Stephen Koch

Most writers enjoy only two brief periods of happiness. First, when what seems like a glorious idea comes flashing into mind, and secondly, when a last page has been written and you have not yet had time to consider how much better it all ought to have been. J. B. Priestley

Writing is not a profession but a vocation of unhappiness. I don’t think an artist can ever be happyGeorges Simenon

To write is to invite angry censure from those who don’t write, or who don’t write in quite the way you do, for whom you may seem as threatJoyce Carol Oates

I think writing tends to deny you a full life. Writing is incompatible with everything. It’s incompatible with having children, with having a job. You can’t do anything. Paul Theroux

It's incompatible with having children: what the heck!? 

So I googled Inspirational Writing Quotes and this is what I found: 

So often is the virgin sheet of paper more real than what one has to say, and so often one regrets having marred it.  ~Harold Acton, Memoirs of an Aesthete, 1948

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.  ~E.L. Doctorow
The wastebasket is a writer's best friend.  ~Isaac Bashevis Singer

Impossibly difficult? Unhappiness? Regrets for having marred the blank page? Schizophrenia? My best friend = wastebasket? JEE-SUSSSSSSSSS.

Maybe I'm looking in the wrong place.

Of course I am looking in the wrong place.

I am increasingly finding that search engines are b.s. (unless you already kinda know what you're looking for--name of the book, a close approximation of the quote you want to find, etc.) because a general search--even when you wade in 10 pages deep--rarely provides the best answer, the right answer, a good answer, any answer.

Case in point: How to Deal with a Pomegranate. Do NOT try this at home. I repeat: do not fill a bowl with water, dump the whole pomegranate in a bath and attempt to remove the skin and innerds yucko white stuff. No, no, no. Big mistake. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

This is what I think. There are no shortcuts to making mistakes, feeling around in the dark, reading dozens and dozens of interviews with writers, dozens of books about craft, thousands of newspapers, magazines (some of these actually get your hands dirty from the ink), and attending dozens of poetry readings, literary panels, etc., etc., to amass your favorite collection of quotes about writing and the writing life. 

Trial and error. Hunting and pecking. A lifetime devoted to reading and listening. As for peeling a pomegranate, carefully peel back the skin and gingerly pick away at the individual arils (yes, arils -- okay, disclaimer: I learned that word online).

I also learned that the French refer to pomegranates as grenades at this same website. 

Okay, okay, 

Very well, then, I contradict myself, I am large,  I contain multitudes. Walt Whitman

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