Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Food for Thought: Defining Writing Success

Does this quote make you a writer or just a writer-wannabe?

"In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: they must be fit for it; they must not do too much of it; and they must have a sense of success in it." -John Ruskin 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Condescending to the Past

I like what The Atlantic's Benjamin Schwartz says in this review about T.S. Eliot's letters:

"Because I find the condescension of posterity—through which we applaud ourselves by imposing our enlightened standards on a supposedly benighted past—to be a particularly unattractive reflex..."

It's a great thing to remember when we write about the past. If it's fiction, you can juxtapose someone who condescends against someone who doesn't to create a nice frission of ideas.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Soul: A Poem You Must Read

Nobel Prize winner Wislawa Szymborska offers some lovely thoughts on the Soul, that--while not entirely biblical--doesn't lack for thoughtfulness and power. I'm not a poetry guy, but this one's worth your time, for instance:

It’s picky:
it doesn’t like seeing us in crowds,
our hustling for a dubious advantage
and creaky machinations make it sick.
Joy and sorrow
aren’t two different feelings for it.
It attends us
only when the two are joined.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Food for Thought: Misunderstanding No More

"We should not write so that it is possible for the reader to understand us, but so that it is impossible for him to misunderstand us." -Quintilian 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Monday, March 5, 2012

Food for Thought: All Time Favorite Quote

This is my all-time favorite quote on writing: “There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” -W. Somerset Maugham 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Food for Thought: 5 Kinds of Truth

“In the course of that conversation, I mentioned my belief that there are five kinds of truth: the truth you tell to casual acquaintances, the truth you tell to your family and close friends, the truth you tell to only a very few people in your life, the truth you tell yourself and the truth you don’t admit, even to yourself. 

In the end, the miniseries about the points and shadings between what we think we know about these characters, and the truth — what that says about them, and what it says about us.”