Wednesday, April 15, 2015

photo stories and a note on writing intimacy

In a written story, intimacy can be communicated through a variety of things, in a variety
of places, via a variety of senses, but in utilizing these, it's most important for the sake of
the reader for something unique to be communicated, something past cliche, something
impossible to grasp if the scene were portrayed on film.  This is the power of words, after
all, to tell a story - a truth - better than most other mediums can.

See these examples:

He moved his fingers down her whole spine, one by one by one, and during the time it took
to do that, his brain remained absolutely quiet.  It is these empty spaces you have to watch
out for, as they flood up with feeling before you even realize what's happened; before you
find yourself, at the base of her spine, different.
- The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Aimee Bender

Unthinkingly I straightened, so that she would think better of me.  Such was her presence.
- The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N.K. Jemisin

The skin of her hand looked transparent in the light, on the edge of his desk, a young girl's
hand with long, thin fingers, relaxed for a moment, defenseless.
- Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand

He wants only her stalking beauty, her theater of expressions.  He wants the minute and
secret reflection between them, the depth of field minimal, then foreignness intimate like
two pages of a closed book.  He has been disassembled by her.  And if she has brought
him to this, what has he brought her to?
- The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje

So, these photos.  What could words add to the storytelling present in these photos?  How
could words take these images of intimacy from slightly distant to up-close, vivid,
unforgettable?  What might be said beyond describing the light, the assumed sensations
of touch?  What details might be added to take a scene from typical to truly intimate,
almost disarmingly so for the reader?

By Hana Haley

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

on reading - diane setterfield

There is something about words.  In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take
you prisoner.  Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when
you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood,
numb your thoughts.  Inside you they work their magic.

- Diane Setterfield

By Daniela Tieni

Saturday, February 28, 2015

illustration - devon smith - young women to write about

If anything can inspire a story, it's these illustrations by Devon Smith - women
riddled with melancholy, apathy, determination, suspicion, and yearning.
Devon enjoys reading old science fiction novels.  She relates to two truths that
seem common to most breeds of artist: that you must create for yourself alone,
and that a common struggle will be your audience not matching your
enthusiasm for a work.

Take a look and see if any of her illustrations prompt a story for you...

Monday, January 12, 2015

on writing - wisdom on style

Style means the right word. The rest matters little.   - Jules Renard

A good style must, first of all, be clear. It must not be mean or above the dignity
of the subject. It must be appropriate.   - Aristotle 

If any man wishes to write in a clear style, let him be first clear in his thoughts;
and if any would write in a noble style, let him first possess a noble soul.
- Goethe 

The greatest possible mint of style is to make the words absolutely disappear
into the thought.   - Nathaniel Hawthorne

by Olivia Jeffries

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

a dreamer's wisdom - us and the world

I am passionate about everything in my life - first and foremost,
passionate about ideas.  And that's a dangerous person to be in this
society, not just because I'm a woman, but because it's such a
fundamentally anti-intellectual, anti-critical thinking society.  
- Bell Hooks

Franz Kafka noted that happiness for him consisted in raising the
world "into the pure, the truth, and the immutable."

Ordinary life does not interest me.  I seek only the high moments.
I am in accord with the surrealists, searching for the marvelous.
I want to be a writer who reminds others that these moments exist;
I want to prove that there is infinite space, infinite meaning, infinite
dimension.  - Anais Nin

Mary L. Macomber, "Night and Her Daughter Sleep" (detail)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

on writing - the role and definition of talent

The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when
one will do.   - Thomas Jefferson

Talented writing tends to contain more information, sentence for
sentence, clause for clause, than merely good writing...  It also
employs rhetorical parallels and differences...  It pays attention to the
sounds and rhythms of its sentences...  Much of the information it
proffers is implied...  These are among the things that indicate talent.
- Samuel R. Delaney

There is no idea so stupid or hackneyed that a sufficiently-talented
writer can't get a good story out of it.  - Lawrence Watt-Evans

Real seriousness in regard to writing is one of two absolute necessities.
The other, unfortunately, is talent.  - Ernest Hemingway

By Sanna Helena Berger

Thursday, September 4, 2014

on writing - james richardson

Writing is like washing windows in the sun. With every attempt to
perfect clarity you make a new smear.   - James Richardson

By Liis Klammer