Scenes From A Writer's Life Quotes

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and when all the wars are over, a butterfly will still be beautiful.
Ruskin Bond (Scenes from a Writer's Life)
All glory comes from daring to begin.
Ruskin Bond (Scenes from a Writer's Life)
love is undying,of that I feel certain.I mean deep,abiding,cherishing love.The love that gives protection even as you,my guardian angel,gave me protection long after you had gone-and continue to give this very day... A love beyond Death-a love that makes Life alive!
Ruskin Bond (Scenes from a Writer's Life)
Wretched game, cricket, keeping romantic youths out in the sun when they should be indoors, applying balm to the foreheads of feverish young maidens.
Ruskin Bond (Scenes from a Writer's Life)
The other night we talked about literature's elimination of the unessential, so that we are given a concentrated "dose" of life. I said, almost indignantly, "That's the danger of it, it prepares you to live, but at the same time, it exposes you to disappointments because it gives a heightened concept of living, it leaves out the dull or stagnant moments. You, in your books, also have a heightened rhythm, and a sequence of events so packed with excitement that i expected all your life to be delirious, intoxicated." Literature is an exaggeration, a dramatization, and those who are nourished on it (as I was) are in great danger of trying to approximate an impossible rhythm. Trying to live up to dostoevskian scenes every day. And between writers there is a straining after extravagance. We incite each other to jazz-up our rhythm. It is amusing that, when Henry, Fred, and I talked together, we fell back into a deep naturalness. Perhaps none of us is a sensational character. Or perhaps we have no need of condiments. Henry is, in reality, mild not temperamental; gentle not eager for scenes. We may all write about sadism, masochism, the grand quignol, bubu de montparnasse (in which the highest proof of love is for a pimp to embrace his woman's syphilis as fervently as herself, a noblesse-oblige of the apache world), cocteau, drugs, insane asylums, house of the dead, because we love strong colors; and yet when we sit in the cafe de la place clichy, we talk about henry's last pages, and a chapter which was too long, and richard's madness. "One of his greatest worries," said Henry, "was to have introduced us. He thinks you are wonderful and that you may be in danger from the 'gangster author.
Anaïs Nin
The biggest spur to my interest in art came when I played van Gogh in the biographical film Lust For Life. The role affected me deeply. I was haunted by this talented genius who took his own life, thinking he was a failure. How terrible to paint pictures and feel that no one wants them. How awful it would be to write music that no one wants to hear. Books that no one wants to read. And how would you like to be an actor with no part to play, and no audience to watch you. Poor Vincent—he wrestled with his soul in the wheat field of Auvers-sur-Oise, stacks of his unsold paintings collecting dust in his brother's house. It was all too much for him, and he pulled the trigger and ended it all. My heart ached for van Gogh the afternoon that I played that scene. As I write this, I look up at a poster of his "Irises"—a poster from the Getty Museum. It's a beautiful piece of art with one white iris sticking up among a field of blue ones. They paid a fortune for it, reportedly $53 million. And poor Vincent, in his lifetime, sold only one painting for 400 francs or $80 dollars today. This is what stimulated my interest in buying works of art from living artists. I want them to know while they are alive that I enjoy their paintings hanging on my walls, or their sculptures decorating my garden
Kirk Douglas (Climbing The Mountain: My Search For Meaning)
I’ll tell you a thing that will shock you. It will certainly shock the readers of Writer’s Digest. What I often do nowadays when I have to, say, describe a room, is to take a page of a dictionary, any page at all, and see if with the words suggested by that one page in the dictionary I can build up a room, build up a scene. … I even did it in a novel I wrote called MF. There’s a description of a hotel vestibule whose properties are derived from Page 167 in R.J. Wilkinson’s Malay-English Dictionary. Nobody has noticed. … As most things in life are arbitrary anyway, you’re not doing anything naughty, you’re really normally doing what nature does, you’re just making an entity out of the elements. I do recommend it to young writers.
Anthony Burgess
His sensitive nature was still smarting under the lashes of an undivided and squalid way of life. His soul was still disquieted and cast down by the dull phenomenon of Dublin. He had emerged from a two years' spell of revery to find himself in the midst of a new scene, every event and figure of which affected him intimately, disheartened him or allured and, whether alluring or disheartening, filled him always with unrest and bitter thoughts. All the leisure which his school life left him was passed in the company of subversive writers whose jibes and violence of speech set up a ferment in his brain before they passed out of it into his crude writings.
James Joyce (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man)
The other thing that I would say about writer's block is that it can be very, very subjective. By which I mean, you can have one of those days when you sit down and every word is crap. It is awful. You cannot understand how or why you are writing, what gave you the illusion or delusion that you would every have anything to say that anybody would ever want to listen to. You're not quite sure why you're wasting your time. And if there is one thing you're sure of, it's that everything that is being written that day is rubbish. I would also note that on those days (especially if deadlines and things are involved) is that I keep writing. The following day, when I actually come to look at what has been written, I will usually look at what I did the day before, and think, "That's not quite as bad as I remember. All I need to do is delete that line and move that sentence around and its fairly usable. It's not that bad." What is really sad and nightmarish (and I should add, completely unfair, in every way. And I mean it -- utterly, utterly, unfair!) is that two years later, or three years later, although you will remember very well, very clearly, that there was a point in this particular scene when you hit a horrible Writer's Block from Hell, and you will also remember there was point in this particular scene where you were writing and the words dripped like magic diamonds from your fingers -- as if the Gods were speaking through you and every sentence was a thing of beauty and magic and brilliance. You can remember just as clearly that there was a point in the story, in that same scene, when the characters had turned into pathetic cardboard cut-outs and nothing they said mattered at all. You remember this very, very clearly. The problem is you are now doing a reading and you cannot for the life of you remember which bits were the gifts of the Gods and dripped from your fingers like magical words and which bits were the nightmare things you just barely created and got down on paper somehow!! Which I consider most unfair. As a writer, you feel like one or the other should be better. I wouldn't mind which. I'm not somebody who's saying, "I really wish the stuff from the Gods was better." I wouldn't mind which way it went. I would just like one of them to be better. Rather than when it's a few years later, and you're reading the scene out loud and you don't know, and you cannot tell. It's obviously all written by the same person and it all gets the same kind of reaction from an audience. No one leaps up to say, "Oh look, that paragraph was clearly written on an 'off' day." It is very unfair. I don't think anybody who isn't a writer would ever understand how quite unfair it is.
Neil Gaiman
Sooner or later, all talk among foreigners in Pyongyang turns to one imponderable subject. Do the locals really believe what they are told, and do they truly revere Fat Man and Little Boy? I have been a visiting writer in several authoritarian and totalitarian states, and usually the question answers itself. Someone in a café makes an offhand remark. A piece of ironic graffiti is scrawled in the men's room. Some group at the university issues some improvised leaflet. The glacier begins to melt; a joke makes the rounds and the apparently immovable regime suddenly looks vulnerable and absurd. But it's almost impossible to convey the extent to which North Korea just isn't like that. South Koreans who met with long-lost family members after the June rapprochement were thunderstruck at the way their shabby and thin northern relatives extolled Fat Man and Little Boy. Of course, they had been handpicked, but they stuck to their line. There's a possible reason for the existence of this level of denial, which is backed up by an indescribable degree of surveillance and indoctrination. A North Korean citizen who decided that it was all a lie and a waste would have to face the fact that his life had been a lie and a waste also. The scenes of hysterical grief when Fat Man died were not all feigned; there might be a collective nervous breakdown if it was suddenly announced that the Great Leader had been a verbose and arrogant fraud. Picture, if you will, the abrupt deprogramming of more than 20 million Moonies or Jonestowners, who are suddenly informed that it was all a cruel joke and there's no longer anybody to tell them what to do. There wouldn't be enough Kool-Aid to go round. I often wondered how my guides kept straight faces. The streetlights are turned out all over Pyongyang—which is the most favored city in the country—every night. And the most prominent building on the skyline, in a town committed to hysterical architectural excess, is the Ryugyong Hotel. It's 105 floors high, and from a distance looks like a grotesquely enlarged version of the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco (or like a vast and cumbersome missile on a launchpad). The crane at its summit hasn't moved in years; it's a grandiose and incomplete ruin in the making. 'Under construction,' say the guides without a trace of irony. I suppose they just keep two sets of mental books and live with the contradiction for now.
Christopher Hitchens (Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays)
Facing the sagging middle when writing a novel, while inevitable, may be overcome by pre-planning. I divide my collection of proposed scenes into three acts, each scene inciting tension that builds toward the final crisis in Act Three. If by Act Two the emotional river isn't spilling over the banks, I reassess the plot so that once the writing is flowing I don't slide into a dry creek. The central character should be struggling to navigate life well into the end of Act One, even if her fiercest antagonist is only from within.
Patricia Hickman (The Pirate Queen)
It was not only that false biographies tended to overshadow true ones, they obscured a hard fact that all fiction writers know—which is simply that real life is far less believable than fiction. That is in fact part of the power of nonfiction narratives. To take details from “real life” into fiction and make them believable requires careful work: creating characters the reader can believe would do the unbelievable and setting up a scene where those events make some kind of sense.
Dorothy Allison (Bastard Out of Carolina)
Memory retains some things and discards others. I remember every detail of some scenes from my childhood and adolescence, by no means the most important ones. I remember some people and have totally forgotten others. Memory is like the headlights of a car at night, which fall now on a tree, now on a hut, now on a man. People (usually writers) who tell the story of their lives as a continuous and detailed whole generally fill in the gaps with conjecture; it is hard to tell where genuine reminiscence ends and the novel begins.
Ilya Ehrenburg (Ilya Ehrenburg: Selections from People, Years, Life)
This therefore is the praise of Shakespeare, that his drama is the mirrour of life; that he who has mazed his imagination, in following the phantoms which other writers raise up before him, may here be cured of his delirious extasies, by reading human sentiments in human language; by scenes from which a hermit may estimate the transactions of the world, and a confessor predict the progress of the passions.
Samuel Johnson (Preface to Shakespeare)
But it’s a class-divided society. It’s a rich cultural environment, full of galleries and incredible restaurants and museums and shows. But unless you’re wealthy, the city requires sacrifice to enjoy those things. Unless you are rich, you struggle every day. You grind. You ride the subway for two hours just to work at Starbucks. But there’s also nowhere else to be for professional networking. You can access the movers and shakers. You can be a mover and a shaker if you work hard enough. Just plug yourself into the scene, whatever your scene is. But what ends up happening— or what ended up happening to me— is an unplugging form family life, an unplugging from the things that make you feel whole and rooted. While living in New York, I eventually came to realize that for every good thing about the city, there was also a dark side. We go to New York to make our careers, but we end up stepping over homeless people on the sidewalk on our way to work. Successful New Yorkers can ignore those dark sides, but I could not.
Mira Ptacin (Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York)
So: Then what? He had known people—he knew people—who were, technically, much better artists than he was. They were better draftsmen, they had better senses of composition and color, they were more disciplined. But they didn’t have any ideas. An artist, as much as a writer or composer, needed themes, needed ideas. And for a long time, he simply didn’t have any. He tried to draw only black people, but a lot of people drew black people, and he didn’t feel he had anything new to add. He drew hustlers for a while, but that too grew dull. He drew his female relatives, but found himself coming back to the black problem. He began a series of scenes from Tintin books, with the characters portrayed realistically, as humans, but it soon felt too ironic and hollow, and he stopped.
Hanya Yanagihara (A Little Life)
I'm trying to stitch these scenes from a life together, I am trying to master the art of cinematic collage, but I find the material has become amorphous. I can no longer tell what is true apart from what I want to be tru anymore. It's like a movie I watched when I was high. The images shimmer somewhere in the mirky depths, I know I have watched this film before, but I can't pull up anything I would trust as real, true detail, because everything has been embellished by these years of grief, guilt and remorse. The celluloid has tarnished, it wasn't ever deemed to be worth much, it wasn't stored properly, so now the writer can't even decipher the director's name on the film can. I can no longer separate what happened on screen from the stoner wisecracks I made whilst watching it.
Lauren John Joseph (At Certain Points We Touch)
His reading habit was so varied that in his early teens, he was reading both Maxim Gorky’s Mother and the detective thrillers (Jasoosi Duniya) of Ibn-e-Safi. The detective thrillers—be it Indian or American pulp fiction—were a big favourite for their fast action, tight plots and economies of expression. He remembers the novels of Ibn-e-Safi for their fascinating characters with memorable names. ‘Ibn-e-Safi was a master at naming his characters. All of us who read him remember those names . . . There was a Chinese villain, his name was Sing Hi. There was a Portuguese villain called Garson . . . an Englishman who had come to India and was into yoga . . . was called Gerald Shastri.’ This technique of giving catchy names to characters would stay with him. The wide range of reading not only gave him the sensitivity with which progressive writers approached their subjects but also a very good sense of plot and speaking styles. Here, it would be apt to quote a paragraph from Ibn-e-Safi’s detective novel, House of Fear—featuring his eccentric detective, Imran. The conversation takes place just outside a nightclub: ‘So, young man. So now you have also starred frequenting these places?’ ‘Yes. I often come by to pay Flush,’ Imran said respectfully. ‘Flush! Oh, so now you play Flush . . .’ ‘Yes, yes. I feel like it when I am a bit drunk . . .’ ‘Oh! So you have also started drinking?’ ‘What can I say? I swear I’ve never drunk alone. Frequently I find hookers who do not agree to anything without a drink . . .’ This scene would find a real-life parallel as well as a fictional one in Javed’s life later. Javed
Diptakirti Chaudhuri (Written by Salim-Javed: The Story of Hindi Cinema's Greatest Screenwriters)
This scene came from the writing I did with Bill in New York, working out of an office in the Director’s Guild building. I generally came in early and worked for a couple of hours before Bill arrived. He would then spend about an hour puttering around the office and smoking cheroots, then would eventually settle in next to me at the desk, read what I had written, and begin offering suggestions and improvements. Sometimes I would print out a scene and then mark it up—as with the scene above—as Bill tried out Phil’s dialogue, and we tweaked lines accordingly. Our afternoons were often spent walking around New York running Bill’s errands while talking about general script issues. He was a warm and wonderful host to me during my New York visit. There was an afternoon where he and Tom Davis paired up against me and Dan Aykroyd in a spontaneous basketball game, the four of us sneakerless and slipping around in our socks. I made my bones with Bill that day when he hurled a basketball at my head and I managed to duck. “Good reflexes,” he said. I think of these two weeks with Bill as one of the more surreal and memorable experiences of my writer’s life.
Danny Rubin (How to Write Groundhog Day)
You mentioned that Palermo, the part of Buenos Aires where you were brought up, had been a violent place full of bohemians and bandits. There they had two names for the knife, ‘the blade’ and ‘the slicer’. The two names described the same object, but ‘the blade’ was the thing itself, and ‘the slicer’ described its function. ‘The blade’ could fit in the hand even of a sickly child shut up in his father’s library, ‘the blade’ could be any of the superannuated daggers and swords belonging to his warrior grandfather or great-grandfather and displayed on the walls of his house, but ‘the slicer’, the knife in the hand slicing back and forth, in and out, existed only in his imagination, in a fascinating world of rapid settlings of accounts and duels over honor, an insult or a woman, in dark street where you never went, where no writer went, except in the literature he wrote. ‘I’ve always felt that in order to be a great writer, one should have the experience of life at sea, which is why Conrad and Melville and, in a way, Stevenson, who ended his days in the South Seas, were better than all of us, Vogelstein. At sea, a writer flees from the minor demons and faces only the definitive ones. A character in Conrad says that he has a horror of ports because, in port, ships rot and men go to the devil. He meant the devils of domesticity and incoherence, the small devils of terra firma. But I think that having experience of “the slicer” would give a writer the same sensation as going to sea, of spectacularly breaking the bounds of his own passivity and of his remoteness from the fundamental matters of the world.’ ‘You mean that if the writer were to stab someone three times, he could allege that he was merely doing so in order to improve his style.’ ‘Something like that. Soaking up experience and atmosphere.’ ‘It’s said that the artist Turner used to have himself lashed to the ship’s mast during storms at sea so that he could make sure he was getting the colours and details of his painted vortices right.’ ‘And it worked. But neither you nor I will ever experience “the slicer”, Vogelstein. We are condemned to “the blade”, to the knife purely as theory. Even if we used “the slicer” against someone, we would still be ourselves, watching, analyzing the scene, and, therefore, inevitably, holding “the blade” in our hand. I don’t think I could kill anyone, apart from my own characters. And I don’t think I would feel comfortable at sea either. There aren’t any libraries at sea. The sea replaces the library.
Luis Fernando Verissimo (Borges and the Eternal Orangutans)
For the first five or six days I didn’t suffer at all, carried along by the change of scene and the sense of a progression. This was the next step in the story. Ivan was in Tokyo and I was here. It was like when two characters in a movie went to two different places. Then something changed. My life no longer seemed like a movie to me. Ivan was still in the movie, but had left me behind. Nothing extraordinary was happening anymore, or would ever happen again. I was just there with my relatives, living pointless, shapeless days that weren’t bringing me any closer to anything. It seemed to me that this state of affairs was a relief to my mother. From her perspective, I thought, the past weeks had been a perilous, temporary adventure, something to be endured, and now things were back to normal. It was painful to feel at such cross-purposes with her. Almost everything that was interesting or meaningful in my story was, in her story, a pointless hazard or annoyance. This was even more true with my aunts. They didn’t take anything I did seriously; it was all some trivial, mildly annoying side activity that I insisted on for some reason, having nothing to do with real life. I couldn’t challenge or contradict this view, even to myself, because I really didn’t know how to do anything real. I didn’t know how to move to a new city, or have sex, or have a real job, or make someone fall in love with me, or do any kind of study that wasn’t just a self-improvement project. For the first time in my life, I couldn’t think of anything I particularly wanted to study or to do. I still had the old idea of being a writer, but that was being, not doing. It didn’t say what you were supposed to do.
Elif Batuman (The Idiot)
He strode forward, heedless of the murmuring that began among the women when they saw him. Then Sara turned, and her gaze met his. Instantly a guilty blush spread over her cheeks that told him all he needed to know about her intent. “Good afternoon, ladies,” he said in steely tones. “Class is over for today. Why don’t you all go up on deck and get a little fresh air?” When the women looked at Sara, she folded her hands primly in front of her and stared at him. “You have no right to dismiss my class, Captain Horn. Besides, we aren’t finished yet. I was telling them a story—” “I know. You were recounting Lysistrata.” Surprise flickered briefly in her eyes, but then turned smug and looked down her aristocratic little nose at him. “Yes, Lysistrata,” she said in a sweet voice that didn’t fool him for one minute. “Surely you have no objection to my educating the women on the great works of literature, Captain Horn.” “None at all.” He set his hands on his hips. “But I question your choice of material. Don’t you think Aristophanes is a bit beyond the abilities of your pupils?” He took great pleasure in the shock that passed over Sara’s face before she caught herself. Ignoring the rustle of whispers among the women, she stood a little straighter. “As if you know anything at all about Aristophanes.” “I don’t have to be an English lordling to know literature, Sara. I know all the blasted writers you English make so much of. Any one of them would have been a better choice for your charges than Aristophanes.” As she continued to glower at him unconvinced, he scoured his memory, searching through the hundreds of verse passages his English father had literally pounded into him. “You might have chosen Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, for example—‘fie, fie! Unknit that threatening unkind brow. / And dart not scornful glances from those eyes / to wound thy lord, thy king, thy governor.’” It had been a long time since he’d recited his father’s favorite passages of Shakespeare, but the words were as fresh as if he’d learned them only yesterday. And if anyone knew how to use literature as a weapon, he did. His father had delighted in tormenting him with quotes about unrepentant children. Sara gaped at him as the other women looked from him to her in confusion. “How . . . I mean . . . when could you possibly—” “Never mind that. The point us, you’re telling them the tale of Lysistrata when what you should be telling them is ‘thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper. /thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee / and for thy maintenance commits his body / to painful labour by both sea and land.’” Her surprise at this knowledge of Shakespeare seemed to vanish as she recognized the passage he was quoting—the scene where Katherine accepts Petruchio as her lord and master before all her father’s guests. Sara’s eyes glittered as she stepped from among the women and came nearer to him. “We are not your wives yet. And Shakespeare also said ‘sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more / men were deceivers ever / one foot on sea and one on shore / to one thing constant never.’” “Ah, yes. Much Ado About Nothing. But even Beatrice changes her tune in the end, doesn’t she? I believe it’s Beatrice who says, ‘contempt, farewell! And maiden pride, adieu! / no glory lives behind the back of such./ and Benedick, love on, I will requite thee, / taming my wild heart to thy loving hand.’” “She was tricked into saying that! She was forced to acknowledge him as surely as you are forcing us!” “Forcing you?” he shouted. “You don’t know the meaning of force! I swear, if you—” He broke off when he realized that the women were staring at him with eyes round and fearful. Sara was twisting his words to make him sound like a monster. And succeeding, too, confound her.
Sabrina Jeffries (The Pirate Lord)
Blessed Man” is a tribute to Updike’s tenacious maternal grandmother, Katherine Hoyer, who died in 1955. Inspired by an heirloom, a silver thimble engraved with her initials, a keepsake Katherine gave to John and Mary as a wedding present (their best present, he told his mother), the story is an explicit attempt to bring her back to life (“O Lord, bless these poor paragraphs, that would do in their vile ignorance Your work of resurrection”), and a meditation on the extent to which it’s possible to recapture experience and preserve it through writing. The death of his grandparents diminished his family by two fifths and deprived him of a treasured part of his past, the sheltered years of his youth and childhood. Could he make his grandmother live again on the page? It’s certainly one of his finest prose portraits, tender, clear-eyed, wonderfully vivid. At one point the narrator remembers how, as a high-spirited teenager, he would scoop up his tiny grandmother, “lift her like a child, crooking one arm under her knees and cupping the other behind her back. Exultant in my height, my strength, I would lift that frail brittle body weighing perhaps a hundred pounds and twirl with it in my arms while the rest of the family watched with startled smiles of alarm.” When he adds, “I was giving my past a dance,” we hear the voice of John Updike exulting in his strength. Katherine takes center stage only after an account of the dramatic day of her husband’s death. John Hoyer died a few months after John and Mary were married, on the day both the newlyweds and Mary’s parents were due to arrive in Plowville. From this unfortunate coincidence, the Updike family managed to spin a pair of short stories. Six months before he wrote “Blessed Man,” Updike’s mother had her first story accepted by The New Yorker. For years her son had been doing his filial best to help get her work published—with no success. In college he sent out the manuscript of her novel about Ponce de León to the major Boston publishers, and when he landed at The New Yorker he made sure her stories were read by editors instead of languishing in the slush pile. These efforts finally bore fruit when an editor at the magazine named Rachel MacKenzie championed “Translation,” a portentous family saga featuring Linda’s version of her father’s demise. Maxwell assured Updike that his colleagues all thought his mother “immensely gifted”; if that sounds like tactful exaggeration, Maxwell’s idea that he could detect “the same quality of mind running through” mother and son is curious to say the least. Published in The New Yorker on March 11, 1961, “Translation” was signed Linda Grace Hoyer and narrated by a character named Linda—but it wasn’t likely to be mistaken for a memoir. The story is overstuffed with biblical allusion, psychodrama, and magical thinking, most of it Linda’s. She believes that her ninety-year-old father plans to be translated directly to heaven, ascending like Elijah in a whirlwind, with chariots of fire, and to pass his mantle to a new generation, again like Elijah. It’s not clear whether this grand design is his obsession, as she claims, or hers. As it happens, the whirlwind is only a tussle with his wife that lands the old folks on the floor beside the bed. Linda finds them there and says, “Of all things. . . . What are you two doing?” Her father answers, his voice “matter-of-fact and conversational”: “We are sitting on the floor.” Having spoken these words, he dies. Linda’s son Eric (a writer, of course) arrives on the scene almost immediately. When she tells him, “Grampy died,” he replies, “I know, Mother, I know. It happened as we turned off the turnpike. I felt
Adam Begley (Updike)
Under these circumstances the most anodyne book was a source of danger from the simple fact that love was alluded to, and woman depicted as an attractive creature; and this was enough to account for all—for the inherent ignorance of Catholics, since it was proclaimed as the preventive cure for temptations—for the instinctive horror of art, since to these craven souls every written and studied work was in its nature a vehicle of sin and an incitement to fall. Would it not really be far more sensible and judicious to open the windows, to air the rooms, to treat these souls as manly beings, to teach them not to be so much afraid of their own flesh, to inculcate the firmness and courage needed for resistance? For really it is rather like a dog which barks at your heels and snaps at your legs if you are afraid of him, but who beats a retreat if you turn on him boldly and drive him off. The fact remains that these schemes of education have resulted, on the one hand, in the triumph of the flesh in the greater number of men who have been thus brought up and then thrown into a worldly life, and on the other, in a wide diffusion of folly and fear, an abandonment of the possessions of the intellect and the capitulation of the Catholic army surrendering without a blow to the inroads of profane literature, which takes possession of territory that it has not even had the trouble of conquering. This really was madness! The Church had created art, had cherished it for centuries; and now by the effeteness of her sons she was cast into a corner. All the great movements of our day, one after the other—romanticism, naturalism—had been effected independently of her, or even against her will. If a book were not restricted to the simplest tales, or pleasing fiction ending in virtue rewarded and vice punished, that was enough; the propriety of beadledom was at once ready to bray. As soon as the most modern form of art, the most malleable and the broadest—the Novel—touched on scenes of real life, depicted passion, became a psychological study, an effort of analysis, the army of bigots fell back all along the line. The Catholic force, which might have been thought better prepared than any others to contest the ground which theology had long since explored, retired in good order, satisfied to cover its retreat by firing from a safe distance, with its old-fashioned match-lock blunderbusses, on works it had neither inspired nor written. The Church party, centuries behind the time, and having made no attempt to follow the evolution of style in the course of ages, now turned to the rustic who can scarcely read; it did not understand more than half of the words used by modern writers, and had become, it must be said, a camp of the illiterate. Incapable of distinguishing the good from the bad, it included in one condemnation the filth of pornography and real works of art; in short, it ended by emitting such folly and talking such preposterous nonsense, that it fell into utter discredit and ceased to count at all. And it would have been so easy for it to work on a little way, to try to keep up with the times, and to understand, to convince itself whether in any given work the author was writing up the Flesh, glorifying it, praising it, and nothing more, or whether, on the contrary, he depicted it merely to buffet it—hating it. And, again, it would have done well to convince itself that there is a chaste as well as a prurient nude, and that it should not cry shame on every picture in which the nude is shown. Above all, it ought to have recognized that vices may well be depicted and studied with a view to exciting disgust of them and showing their horrors.
Joris-Karl Huysmans (The Cathedral)
But sleep tha pondereth and is not to be and there oh may my weary spirit dwell apart forms heaven's eternity and yet how far from hell. other friends have flown before on the morrow he will leave me as my hopes have flown before the bird said nevermore. leave my loneliness unbroken. how dark a woe yet how sublimes a hope. And the fever called living is conquered at last. I stand amid the roar of a surf tormented shore and i hold within my hand grains of the golden sand how few yet how they creep through my fingers to the deep while i weep while i weep o god can i not grasp them with a tighter clasp o god can i not save one from the pitiless wave is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream. Hell rising form a thousand thrones shall do it reverence. It was the dead who groaned within lest the dead who is forsaken may not be happy now. even for thy woes i love thee even for thy woes thy beauty and thy woes think of all that is airy and fairy like and all that is hideous and unwieldy. hast thou not dragged Diana from her car. I care not though it perishes with a thought i then did cherish. For on its wing was dark alley and as it fluttered fell an essence powerful to destroy a soul that knew it well. (Talking about death) the intense reply of hers to our intelligence. Then all motion of whatever nature creates most writers poets in especial prefer having it understood that they compose by a species of fine frenzy an ecstatic intuition and would positively shudder at letting the public take a peep behind the scenes at the elaborate and vacillating crudities of thought at the true purposes seized only at the last moment at the innumerable glimpses of idea that arrived not at the maturity of full view at the fully matured fancies discarded in despair as unmanageable at the cautions selection and rejections at the painful erasures and interpolations in a word at the wheels and pinions the tackle for scene shifting the steep ladders and demon traps the cock[s feathers a the red pain and the black patches which in ninety nine cases out of the hundred constitute the properties of the literary _histiro. Wit the Arabians there is a medium between heaven and hell where men suffer no punishment but yet do not attain that tranquil and even happiness which they supposed to be characteristic of heavenly enjoyment. If i could dwell where israfel hath dwelt and he where i he might not sing so wildly well mortal melody, while a bolder note than this might swell form my lyre within the sky. And i am drunk with love of the dead who is my bride. And so being young and dipt in folly , I feel in love with melancholy. I could not love except where death was mingling his with beauty's breath or hymen, Time, and destiny were stalking between her and me. Yet that terror was not friegt but a tremulous delight a feeling not the jeweled mine could teach or bribe me to define nor love although the love were thine. Whose solitary soul could make an Eden of that dim lake. that my young life were a lasting dream my spirit not awakening till the beam of an eternity should bring the morrow. An idle longing night and day to dream my very life away. As others saw i could not bring my passions from a comman spring from the sam source i have not taken my sorrow and all i loved i loved alone La solitude est une belle chose; mais il faut quelqu'un pour vous dire que la solitude estune belle chose impulse upon the ether the source of all motion is thought and the source of all thought. Be of heart and fear nothing your allotted days of stupor have expired and tomorrow i will myself induct you into the full joys and wonders of your novel existence. unknown now known of the speculative future merged in the august and certain present.
Edgar Allan Poe (The Complete Works Of Edgar Allen Poe: Miscellany)
What happened to the troubled young reporter who almost brought this magazine down The last time I talked to Stephen Glass, he was pleading with me on the phone to protect him from Charles Lane. Chuck, as we called him, was the editor of The New Republic and Steve was my colleague and very good friend, maybe something like a little brother, though we are only two years apart in age. Steve had a way of inspiring loyalty, not jealousy, in his fellow young writers, which was remarkable given how spectacularly successful he’d been in such a short time. While the rest of us were still scratching our way out of the intern pit, he was becoming a franchise, turning out bizarre and amazing stories week after week for The New Republic, Harper’s, and Rolling Stone— each one a home run. I didn’t know when he called me that he’d made up nearly all of the bizarre and amazing stories, that he was the perpetrator of probably the most elaborate fraud in journalistic history, that he would soon become famous on a whole new scale. I didn’t even know he had a dark side. It was the spring of 1998 and he was still just my hapless friend Steve, who padded into my office ten times a day in white socks and was more interested in alphabetizing beer than drinking it. When he called, I was in New York and I said I would come back to D.C. right away. I probably said something about Chuck like: “Fuck him. He can’t fire you. He can’t possibly think you would do that.” I was wrong, and Chuck, ever-resistant to Steve’s charms, was as right as he’d been in his life. The story was front-page news all over the world. The staff (me included) spent several weeks re-reporting all of Steve’s articles. It turned out that Steve had been making up characters, scenes, events, whole stories from first word to last. He made up some funny stuff—a convention of Monica Lewinsky memorabilia—and also some really awful stuff: racist cab drivers, sexist Republicans, desperate poor people calling in to a psychic hotline, career-damaging quotes about politicians. In fact, we eventually figured out that very few of his stories were completely true. Not only that, but he went to extreme lengths to hide his fabrications, filling notebooks with fake interview notes and creating fake business cards and fake voicemails. (Remember, this was before most people used Google. Plus, Steve had been the head of The New Republic ’s fact-checking department.) Once we knew what he’d done, I tried to call Steve, but he never called back. He just went missing, like the kids on the milk cartons. It was weird. People often ask me if I felt “betrayed,” but really I was deeply unsettled, like I’d woken up in the wrong room. I wondered whether Steve had lied to me about personal things, too. I wondered how, even after he’d been caught, he could bring himself to recruit me to defend him, knowing I’d be risking my job to do so. I wondered how I could spend more time with a person during the week than I spent with my husband and not suspect a thing. (And I didn’t. It came as a total surprise). And I wondered what else I didn’t know about people. Could my brother be a drug addict? Did my best friend actually hate me? Jon Chait, now a political writer for New York and back then the smart young wonk in our trio, was in Paris when the scandal broke. Overnight, Steve went from “being one of my best friends to someone I read about in The International Herald Tribune, ” Chait recalled. The transition was so abrupt that, for months, Jon dreamed that he’d run into him or that Steve wanted to talk to him. Then, after a while, the dreams stopped. The Monica Lewinsky scandal petered out, George W. Bush became president, we all got cell phones, laptops, spouses, children. Over the years, Steve Glass got mixed up in our minds with the fictionalized Stephen Glass from his own 2003 roman à clef, The Fabulist, or Steve Glass as played by Hayden Christiansen in the 2003
Brennan’s contribution to The Wedding Night (March 8, 1935), starring Gary Cooper and Anna Sten—the Russian beauty Samuel Goldwyn was promoting as the next European import to rival Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich—was of a different order. The anxious producer, worried about Sten’s accent (even though she was playing a Polish American), began to take notice of Brennan in a seemingly forgettable role he nevertheless freshened with his rapid-fire delivery. Brennan is Bill Jenkins, a cackling Connecticut cab driver, spitting tobacco juice (actually licorice) and showing the tobacco fields to Tony Barrett (Gary Cooper), an alcoholic writer modeled on F. Scott Fitzgerald and trying to dry out in a country hideaway. Goldwyn had been much impressed with the velocity of dialogue in It Happened One Night (February 23, 1934) and wanted his actors to perform at the same screwball speed. Brennan manages this feat more deftly than the picture’s ostensible stars, although Cooper perks up when doing scenes with Brennan. Unfortunately Sten did not the have the same opportunity. “I never even met Anna Sten,” Brennan told biographer Carol Easton. When Jenkins drives up to deliver a telegram to Barrett, walking along the road, neither the writer nor Jenkins has a pencil to use to reply to Barrett’s wife, who wants him to return to the city. So Barrett simply gives a verbal response: “My work won’t let me. Love Tony.” Jenkins repeats the message twice to fix it in his mind, but as soon as he drives off the message gets garbled: “My love won’t work me.” He tries again: “My work won’t love me.” Not satisfied, he begins again: “My work won’t love me.” In frustration, he spits, and says, “Gosh, I’m losin’ my memory.” His role is inconsequential, and yet so necessary to the local color that director King Vidor works Brennan into a scene whenever he can. Brennan would have made his character even more authentic if Goldwyn had not complied with a request from the Breen Office, the enforcers of the Production Code, that Brennan’s use of “damn” and “hell” be cut from the film.
Carl Rollyson (A Real American Character: The Life of Walter Brennan (Hollywood Legends))
Imagine the cocktail party raconteur who captivates his listeners with some adventure story while taking dramatic sips from a gin martini. Chances are he is not a writer. This seems counter-intuitive. After all, writers create characters that are so darn interesting. A good writer can hold you spellbound through a two-hundred page story. Why aren’t all writers scintillating, life-of-the-party types in person? Some are. But many are not. Part of the answer is that writers are not required to think on their feet. Spur-of-the-moment wittiness is a necessary quality for improv actors, talk-show hosts, and politicians. But writers don’t think or work in real time. They create at their own pace, spending hours or days on clever dialogue, or crafting a scene in which they get to micro-manage every detail. Real life doesn’t work like that. And that’s okay. There is really only one place where a writer needs to be absolutely charming and irresistible; not at cocktail parties, not on television, not in front of a live audience -- but on paper.
Christine Silk
I learned a great deal from [Raymond] Chandler - any writer can - but there had always been basic differences between us. One was in our attitude to plot. Chandler described a good plot as one that made for good scenes, as if the parts were greater than the whole. I see plot as a vehicle of meaning. It should be as complex as contemporary life, but balanced enough to say true things about it. The surprise with which a detective novel concludes should set up tragic vibrations which run backward through the entire structure. Which means that the structure must be single, and intended.
Ross Macdonald
One thing writers have in common is the need to procrastinate. People don't really understand this, but it's not avoiding work, it is work. Going to lunch, cleaning the house, walking around eavesdropping, reading... all of it informs the process of pulling a story out of nowhere. After you've burned through the two or three tales that are born into your brain—you have to siphon the rest out of your environment. So, when I need something for my stories—I open my eyes and ears to the world around me... because I never know where the next idea, or scene, or line of dialogue is going to come from.
Steven T. Seagle (It's a Bird...)
Much of plotting from chapter to chapter deals with this kind of juggling of events so that one thing leads logically to another, cause-and-effect fashion. Writers over the years have probably sweated enough to fill Lake Erie as they tried to figure out how to motivate Priscilla to open the locked door (cause), or what next might happen after she did so (effect). In real life, blind luck has to be accepted because, after all, there it is – it just happened, period. But the fiction reader demands more credibility than he usually gets in real life.
Jack M. Bickham (Elements of Fiction Writing - Scene & Structure)
She learned that the best writing used dialogue almost in counterpoint to the visuals, so that what was heard was different from what was seen; she found that a well-made scene could unfold over many pages, with a beginning, middle and end just like a self-contained story; and she observed that each of the best screenplays was driven by an underlying idea that the writer wanted to convey about life itself. It was this that touched her the most, because it meant films could have meaning and be just as effective in catalyzing change as her work in schools.
Stephen Galloway (Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker)
And when all the wars are over, a butterfly will still be beautiful.
Ruskin Bond, Scenes from a Writer's Life
Since the characterizations herein are my own I should clarify these details absent a second’s further delay. Beginning at its newest beginning, with the matters of today – midday, in fact – with a scene punctuated by the appearance and subsequent felinious capture of the vermin given mention. More benignly put, these particular footsteps were taken by a timid, terrified, adolescent Norway rat who would shortly be christened Twitch. I shall focus forthwith upon those details which emerged moments later – subsequent to his short-lived escape from imminent annihilation by scurrying anew. This time beneath an oaken china cabinet. In an effort to avoid confiding any facts or details absent direct pertinence to the life-or-death matter at hand, I’ll reveal for the moment only that its precedent had been a similarly random appearance of a rather less fortunate rat 29 years ere and whose ill-fated tale remains snugly entangled within the roots of this one. Its tangible form began as a spontaneous act of nature that was observed by a 15-year-old dreamer and provoked a flight of fancy which led him to conceive of a grandiose idea that gestated until the man he would become tediously nurtured his evolving purpose into six centuries of historically faithful fables of human survival and struggle ‒ of growth and decay. To put it more tangibly yet ‒ he re-imagined the act of a hungry cat pursuing a frantic rat in the lower Manhattan alleyway in back of his childhood apartment, into an elaborate daydream of a cougar hunting a deer roughly a half-millennia ago. Then ‒ being a born writer ‒ he kicked back in his usual beige folding metal chair, causing its backrest to thud familiarly against the red and gray brick exterior wall behind him; lowered his forest green spiral notebook until it intersected the top front edge of a modest stack of drab-jacketed library books which rested upon his lap and began to transcribe the more fanciful images into a short story. In it, the cougar’s impending success was interrupted by a handful of natives who’d targeted his prey as their own. Having chosen a 15-year-old Lenape brave named Talli as its protagonist, he likewise conceived a fictional version of himself as the narrator ‒ leading to his eventual conception of peering through the lens of this and subsequent parallel visualizations as chronicled by the successive pens of 40 unique contemporary same-age narrators to detail the human evolution on the island wherein he’d grown up. On which millions-upon-millions of rats ‒ in near synchronicity with their hosts ‒ had likewise made their home…
Monte Souder
Men Against Death followed the one-man campaign of writer Paul De Kruif against disease, hunger, and poverty. De Kruif burst on the scene with Microbe Hunters, which became a worldwide bestseller upon its publication in 1926. Other titles were Hunger Fighters, Why Keep Them Alive?, The Fight for Life, and Men Against Death. Though the latter book gave the series its name, the WPA writers selected liberally from all of De Kruif’s books, which the author donated without royalty to the cause. The lives of scientific trailblazers (Lister, Pasteur, etc.) were dramatized; an introductory broadcast June 30, 1938, was followed by the first drama on July
John Dunning (On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio)
LONGER NONFICTION: RECOMMENDED READING Allison, Dorothy. Two or Three Things I Know for Sure. New York: Dutton, 1995. Bradbury, Ray. Dandelion Wine. Thorndike, ME: G.K. Hall, 1999. Burroughs, Augusten. Dry. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2003. Coetzee, J.M. Boyhood: Scenes From Provincial Life. New York: Viking, 1997. Eighner, Lars. Travels With Lizbeth. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993. Hamper, Ben. Rivethead: Tales From the Assembly Line. New York: Warner Books, 1991. Knipfel, Jim. Quitting the Nairobi Trio. New York: J.P. Tarcher/Putnam, 2000. Lewis, Mindy. Life Inside: A Memoir. New York: Atria Books, 2002. Millett, Kate. The Loony-Bin Trip. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000. Rose, Phyllis. The Year of Reading Proust: A Memoir in Real Time. New York: Scribner, 1997.
The New York Writers Workshop (The Portable MFA in Creative Writing (New York Writers Workshop))
The award-winning American TV series Breaking Bad has a scene in its second season set in the murder capital of Ciudad Juárez. In this episode, American and Mexican agents are lured to a patch of desert just south of the border looking for an informant. They discover the informant’s head has been cut off and stuck on the body of a giant turtle. But as they approach, the severed cranium, turned into an IED, explodes, killing agents. The episode was released in 2009. I thought it was unrealistic, a bit fantastic. Until July 15, 2010. In the real Ciudad Juárez on that day, gangsters kidnapped a man, dressed him in a police uniform, shot him, and dumped him bleeding on a downtown street. A cameraman filmed what happened after federal police and paramedics got close. The video shows medics bent over the dumped man, checking for vital signs. Suddenly a bang rings out, and the image shakes vigorously as the cameraman runs for his life. Gangsters had used a cell phone to detonate twenty-two pounds of explosives packed into a nearby car. A minute later, the camera turns back around to reveal the burning car pouring smoke over screaming victims. A medic lies on the ground, covered in blood but still moving, a stunned look on his face. Panicked officers are scared to go near him. The medic dies minutes later along with a federal agent and a civilian. I’m not suggesting that Breaking Bad inspired the murders. TV shows don’t kill people. Car bombs kill people. The point of the story is that the Mexican Drug War is saturated with stranger-than-fiction violence. Mexican writer Alejandro Almazán suffered from a similar dilemma. As he was writing his novel Among Dogs, he envisioned a scene in which thugs decapitate a man and stick a hound’s head on his corpse. It seemed pretty out there. But then in real life some gangsters did exactly that, only with a pig’s head. It is just hard to compete with the sanguine criminal imagination. Cartel thugs have put a severed head in a cooler and delivered it to a newspaper; they have dressed up a murdered policeman in a comedy sombrero and carved a smile on his cheeks; and they have even sewn a human face onto a soccer ball.
Ioan Grillo (El Narco: Inside Mexico's Criminal Insurgency)
Even if you know nothing about the process of filmmaking…you can sense the fear, excitement, and risk that went into a scene like that. For the writer to conceive it, for the director to facilitate it, for the actors to execute it, and for the editor to hinge it to the flow of a thousand other moments with as much gambled on them.
Patton Oswalt (Silver Screen Fiend: Learning About Life from an Addiction to Film)
I taught an introductory creative writing class at Princeton last year and, in addition to the classic ‘show don’t tell’, I often told my students that their fiction needed to have ’emotional truth’ […]: a quality different from honesty and more resilient than fact, a quality that existed not in the kind of fiction that explains but in the kind of fiction that shows. All the novels I love, the ones I remember, the ones I re-read, have this empathetic human quality. And because I write the kind of fiction I like to read, when I started Half of a Yellow Sun […], I hoped that emotional truth would be its major recognizable trait. […] Successful fiction does not need to be validated by ‘real life’; I cringe whenever a writer is asked how much of a novel is ‘real’. Yet, […] to write realistic fiction about war, especially one central to the history of one’s own country, is to be constantly aware of a responsibility to something larger than art. While writing Half of a Yellow Sun, I enjoyed playing with minor things [such as inventing a train station in a town that has none]. Yet I did not play with the central events of that time. I could not let a character be changed by anything that had not actually happened. If fiction is indeed the soul of history, then I was equally committed to the fiction and the history, equally keen to be true to the spirit of the time as well as to artistic vision of it. The writing itself was a bruising experience. […] But there were also moments of extravagant joy when I recognized, in a character or moment or scene, that quality of emotional truth.” In the Shadow of Biafra (essay included in the 2007 Harper Perennial edition of Half of a Yellow Sun).
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Matthew 8:26, NLT Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. Mark 4:39-40, NLT When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Setting the Scene Both Mark and Luke record the sequence of Jesus’ response to the impassioned plea of the disciples as miracle first, comment after. Matthew tells us Jesus questioned their faith and then spoke to the wind and waves. The order is probably not significant, since Jesus may have spoken with the men before and after the miracle. But Matthew, who was present in the boat, seems to capture more vividly the style Jesus usually used with his disciples. The thinking and the challenge came first, followed by the miracle. As we’ve already seen in the incident with the lame man lowered through the roof, Jesus said what needed to be said and then confirmed his words with a miracle (see Mark 2:1-12). Jesus asked a question and then made a statement: “Why are you afraid?” and “You have so little faith!” Fears deserve to be questioned. We ought to ask ourselves regularly, “Why am I afraid?” If we never doubt our fears, they will control us. As we have already learned this week, some fears are legitimate, and some fears are not. Sometimes we don’t need to be afraid. When we are with Jesus, we don’t have to fear. When fear is in control, faith is stifled. Acting fearfully is not acting faithfully. Jesus’ question wasn’t directed toward the disciples’ feelings but their actions. The problem arises when we give in to fear and make it the basis of our decisions—which is what the disciples were doing. They needed faith—as Jesus pointed out. Faith doesn’t ignore feelings; it simply refuses to obey them. Getting Personal What is your usual strategy for handling fear? To what degree are your choices determined by fear? When did you last act in faith in the face of fear? What was the outcome? Acknowledging fears can be an important first step in disabling their influence. The psalm writer had a great thought when he wrote, “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you” (Psalm 56:3, NLT). What you do before and after you are afraid can be as important as no longer being afraid. Talking to God In prayer today, identify areas of worry and fear. Thank God that he is aware of each one and that, in love, he is working to protect and preserve you.
Anonymous (Life Application Study Bible Devotional: Daily Wisdom from the Life of Jesus)
scenes from the Legends of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table many lovely pictures have been painted, showing much diversity of figures and surroundings, some being definitely sixth-century British or Saxon, as in Blair Leighton’s fine painting of the dead Elaine; others—for example, Watts’ Sir Galahad—show knight and charger in fifteenth-century armour; while the warriors of Burne Jones wear strangely impracticable armour of some mystic period. Each of these painters was free to follow his own conception, putting the figures into whatever period most appealed to his imagination; for he was not illustrating the actual tales written by Sir Thomas Malory, otherwise he would have found himself face to face with a difficulty. King Arthur and his knights fought, endured, and toiled in the sixth century, when the Saxons were overrunning Britain; but their achievements were not chronicled by Sir Thomas Malory until late in the fifteenth century. Sir Thomas, as Froissart has done before him, described the habits of life, the dresses, weapons, and armour that his own eyes looked upon in the every-day scenes about him, regardless of the fact that almost every detail mentioned was something like a thousand years too late. Had Malory undertaken an account of the landing of Julius Caesar he would, as a matter of course, have protected the Roman legions with bascinet or salade, breastplate, pauldron and palette, coudiére, taces and the rest, and have armed them with lance and shield, jewel-hilted sword and slim misericorde; while the Emperor himself might have been given the very suit of armour stripped from the Duke of Clarence before his fateful encounter with the butt of malmsey. Did not even Shakespeare calmly give cannon to the Romans and suppose every continental city to lie majestically beside the sea? By the old writers, accuracy in these matters was disregarded, and anachronisms were not so much tolerated as unperceived. In illustrating this edition of “The Legends of King Arthur and his Knights,” it has seemed best, and indeed unavoidable if the text and the pictures are to tally, to draw what Malory describes, to place the fashion
James Knowles (The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights)
I don’t know’,” he said. “Those three words from a willing soul are the start of a grand and magnificent voyage.” And with that he began a discourse that lasted for several weeks, covering scene-setting, establishing conflict, plot twists, and first- and third-person narration. [ I learned in these rapid-fire mini-dissertations that like most literature lovers I would come to know, Henry was a book snob. He assumed that if a current author was popular and widely enjoyed, then he or she had no merit. He made a few exceptions, such as Kurt Vonnegut, although that was mostly because Vonnegut lived on Cape Cod and so he probably had some merits as a human being, if not as a writer. I think that the way Henry saw it was that he was not being a snob. In fact I would venture that in his view of things, snobbery had nothing to do with it. Rather, it was a matter of standards. It was bout quality in the author’s craftsmanship.
John William Tuohy (No Time to Say Goodbye: A Memoir of a Life in Foster Care)
I mean, what do you do, when you find that things are not what you were taught they’re supposed to be? What do you do with the desperation that boils up from your stomach when you know there’s a road out there with your destination at the end of it, but it’s too damned dark to even find the road? You turn and turn and turn around like a dog trying to escape. Shrieks in the cavity of your head that so urgently needs to be filled with facts and challenges. Until you get grabbed up by the back of the neck, and something’s got you that points you off into the murk. Run like a muthuh! And one day it gets lighter and you see you’ve managed to escape the slammer and bad scenes, and you’re heading toward being a Writer of Stature, or something equally as lovely.
Harlan Ellison
It is around the time of the passing of Elizabeth of England, as the Nativity carols began finding their way back into print, and as cultured Protestant noblemen began risking pictures of scriptural scenes from the life of Our Lady in their private chapels, that one finds hints of a different voice within Protestantism.85 With the passage of time, the heirs of the Reformation were better able to reflect on what might be missing in the Protestant devotional revolution. So, in the 1630s, the French Reformed pastor and popular devotional writer Charles Drelincourt was able to write a tract and a substantial follow-up book concerning the honour which was appropriate to the Blessed Virgin Mary, rather to the surprise of his Roman Catholic clerical contemporaries.
Diarmaid MacCulloch (All Things Made New: The Reformation and Its Legacy)
Thus it is with the writers of fiction. The young write in full sympathy with, as well as for, the young, they have a pensive satisfaction in feeling and depicting the full pathos of a tragedy, and on the other hand they delight in their own mirth, and fully share it with the beings of their imagination, or they work out great questions with the unhesitating decision of their youth. But those who write in elder years look on at their young people, not with inner sympathy but from the outside. Their affections and comprehension are with the fathers, mothers, and aunts; they dread, rather than seek, piteous scenes, and they have learnt that there are two sides to a question, that there are many stages in human life, and that the success or failure of early enthusiasm leaves a good deal more yet to come. Thus the vivid fancy passes away, which the young are carried along with, and the older feel refreshed
Charlotte Mary Yonge (The Essential Charlotte M. Yonge Collection (27 books))
I genuinely feel for my characters. While I was writing 8, I had to take a moment. I had to step back from the work, and just cry. In fact, there was an entire scene I cried through writing. It affected me so badly, I had to put the work away. Regroup. I just, I couldn't believe what I had just written. I felt like if Evil needed a face, I would be the number one front-runner for the brand. It was really hard for me. Every bit of pain, anger, desperation that I wrote, I felt while writing it. In a way, I think I became my characters. I transferred them to the page, by living in them.
Diane M Chattaway
Every writer should grab hold of the nettle of reality; and then show us all of it : the black filthy roots; the poison-green viper stalk; the gaudy flower(y pot).
Arno Schmidt (Nobodaddy's Children: Scenes from the Life of a Faun, Brand's Heath, Dark Mirrors)