• "A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people." - Thomas Mann
  • "Truth must necessarily be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind and therefore congenial to it." - G. K. Chesterton
  • "The difference between reality and fiction? Fiction has to make sense." - Tom Clancy
  • "I think our best ideas are the ones that barely feel like they’re ours." - @somelightcrying
  • "Poetry is a dissociating and anarchic force which through analogy, associations and imagery, thrives on the destruction of known relationships." - Antonin Artaud
  • "The way I write I don’t see much distinction between [prose and poetry], although prose seems more suited to daylight, and poetry to night." - Nick Flynn
  • "The first duty of the novelist is to entertain. It is a moral duty. People who read your books are sick, sad, traveling, in the hospital waiting room while someone is dying. Books are written by the alone for the alone." - Donna Tartt
  • "The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive. To him... a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create -- so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating." - Pearl S. Buck
  • "The secret of poetry lies in treading the middle path between the reality and the vacuity of the world." - Basho
  • "For a person who has the poetic spirit, everything he sees becomes a flower, and everything he imagines turns into a moon." - Basho
  • "It’s like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way." - E. L. Doctorow
  • "I say that one must be a seer, make oneself a seer. The poet makes himself a seer by a long, prodigious, and rational disordering of all the senses. Every form of love, of suffering, of madness; he searches himself, he consumes all the poisons in him, and keeps only their quintessences. This is an unspeakable torture during which he needs all his faith and superhuman strength, and during which he becomes the great patient, the great criminal, the great accursed – and the great learned one! – among men. For he arrives at the unknown! Because he has cultivated his own soul – which was rich to begin with – more than any other man! He reaches the unknown; and even if, crazed, he ends up by losing the understanding of his visions, at least he has seen them! Let him die charging through those unutterable, unnameable things: other horrible workers will come; they will begin from the horizons where he has succumbed!" - Arthur Rimbaud
  • "It is difficult  /  to get the news from poems  /  yet men die miserably every day  /  for lack  /  of what is found there." - William Carlos Williams
  • "In the unified pattern of fiction there is something to which the name of 'magic' may be given, where one empty word is placed upon another and tapped with a third, and a flaming scarf or a long-eared hope is pulled out of the tall black heart. The most magical thing about this magic is that once the trick is explained, it is not explained, and the better you understand how it works, the better it will work again. Finally, through revision, through deciding what to cut and what to commit to, you will, or at least might, arrive at a story that is of a piece, a story that is organic, a story that cannot be reduced to theme, but that embodies one." - Janet Burroway
  • "The future will be gorgeous and reckless, and words, those luminous charms, will set us free again." - Carole Maso
  • "Poetry's commitment to concreteness and to the autonomy of the poem's language parallels photography's commitment to pure seeing." - Susan Sontag
  • "Literature is the apparatus through which the world tries to keep intact its important ideas and feelings." - Mary Oliver
  • "I don't always know what I'm doing. Sometimes the language is smarter than me and sometimes it's dumber." - Joshua Marie Wilkinson
  • "Cliche is okay. Sometimes it works." - Joshua Marie Wilkinson
  • "A reading is a conjuring." - Joshua Marie Wilkinson
  • "What is it you're not allowing yourself to write?" - Aurelie Sheehan
  • "Why can't the imagined life be part of nonfiction?" - Aurelie Sheehan
  • "With writers, there are gushers and there are ekers." - Barbara Cully
  • "A journal, in my opinion, is a repository of ideas - your brain on the page. A diary, by contrast, is your heart." - David Sedaris
  • "My least favorite received idea about writing is that one must find one's voice, as if it's there inside you, ready to be turned on like a player piano. Like character, its very existence depends on interaction with the world." - Sarah Manguso
  • "I don't love writing; I love having a problem I believe I might someday write my way out of." - Sarah Manguso
  • "The smallest and shortest pieces of art strive for perfection; the largest and longest strive for greatness." - Sarah Manguso
  • "Slowly, slowly, I accumulate sentences. I have no idea what I'm doing until suddenly it reveals itself, almost done." - Sarah Manguso
  • "Even if I'm writing for no audience, I'm appealing to the audience of all who ever agreed that A is A: all readers who have ever lived." - Sarah Manguso
  • "Sometimes a single sentence can be enough to fill the imagination completely. And sometimes a book's title is enough." - Sarah Manguso
  • "I read your work hoping to find flaws. I stop reading it, fearing its perfection." - Sarah Manguso
  • "The word fragment is often misused to describe anything smaller than a bread box, but an eight-hundred-page book is no more complete or unbroken than a ten-line poem. That's confusing size with integrity." - Sarah Manguso
  • "I like writing that is unsummarizable, a kernel that cannot be condensed, that must be uttered exactly as it is." - Sarah Manguso
  • "Bad books sell; people have bad taste. Bad books don't sell; people prefer great books. Great books sell; after all, they are great. Great books don't sell; they are too great to be understood. Great books sell only after their authors die. We're comfortable with all these cliches even though they can't logically coexist." - Sarah Manguso
  • "Respect the one-hit wonder not for his one hit but for all the days he must have suffered afterward, trying for another." - Sarah Manguso
  • "There may be nothing heroic about an obsession with death, but when it produces high-caliber art the issue is effectively closed. After all, death is obsessed with us, and it will have the last word." - Vicki Goldberg
  • "When I said that poetry tries and wants to make contact with reality, that is, with uttermost-being (truth, God, whatness, somethingness-nothingness, chaos-order)—to the Veda seers, the vibrating void; to the eighth-century Chinese poets, that-which-is-self-engendering; to mathematicians, a veil of numbers; to the Jewish mystics, the En-Sof; to Christian mystics, the indwelling of God and emanation of Christ in all things; to the animal kingdoms on earth, the starry night; to contemporary physicists, the excitation of superstrings; to cosmologists, the residue of an explosion of something to whose pre-explosion existence there is perhaps, as my friend Elaine Scarry once said to me, ‘no door’—I am referring very specifically and particularly to the material we are made from, this animated-in-us matter which we, in turn, express such a passionate drive to know (and which, in turn, has evolved a way to be known, through us, and is the source and object of our wonder and compulsion)." - Gjertrude Schnackenberg
  • "Create a space of high stakes rather than resolution or insight." - Farid Matuk
  • "Writing and reading are not all that distinct for a writer. Both exercises require being alert and ready for unaccountable beauty, for the intricateness or simple elegance of the writer's imagination, for the world that imagination evokes. Both require being mindful of the places where imagination sabotages itself, locks its own gates, pollutes its vision. Writing and reading mean being aware of the writer's notions of risk and safety, the serene achievement of, or sweaty fight for, meaning and response-ibility." - Toni Morrison
  • "One needs to work to achieve enlightenment and then return to the common world." - Basho
feb 7 2014 ∞
aug 20 2020 +