Writers on writing

I’m just choosing some quotes about the writing process to put into an English course book chapter on identity and storytelling.  Some corkers out there!  Here are a few that struck a chord with me, but which I suspect are a bit too terrifying to introduce to 7th graders 😉

  • Writing is turning one’s worst moments into money. (J. P. Donleavy)
  • As for me, this is my story: I worked and was tortured. You know what it means to compose? No, thank God, you do not! I believe you have never written to order, by the yard, and have never experienced that hellish torture. (Fyodor Dostoevsky)
  • I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. (Douglas Adams)
  • Remarks are not literature. (Gertrude Stein)
  • The misuse of language induces evil in the soul. (Socrates)
  • There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write. (Terry Pratchett)
  • Any magazine-cover hack can splash paint around wildly and call it a nightmare, or a witches sabbath or a portrait of the devil; but only a great painter can make such a thing really scare or ring true. That’s because only a real artist knows the anatomy of the terrible, or the physiology of fear. (H. P. Lovecraft)
  • You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair – the sense that you can never completely put on the page what’s in your mind and heart.  You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names.  You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world.  Come to it any way but lightly.  Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page. (Stephen King)
  • Poetry is not a career, but a mug’s game.  No honest poet can ever feel quite sure of the permanent value of what he has written, he may have wasted his time and messed up his life for nothing. (T.S. Eliot)

So: ‘torture’, ‘evil’, ‘hack’, ‘nervousness’…’a mug’s game’.  Yep, that seems about right!

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  1. #1 by Bill Boyd on September 28, 2010 - 7:10 pm

    Great post Kelli. One of my favourites is Hanif Kureishi who said, among other things, ‘Why can some people tell jokes, do imitations, juggle with knives and balance plates on their nose, while others can only make soufflés? How is it that people might persist in wanting to do something they will never excel at? Is writing difficult? Only if you can’t do it.’

    Bill

  2. #2 by Deb Simpson on September 29, 2010 - 8:51 am

    And let’s not forget Samuel Johnson: “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”

  1. October 1 2010 « bibblebabble

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