Wednesday, July 15, 2015

a dreamer's wisdom - jack london

I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow,
than a sleepy and permanent planet. 

- Jack London

Thursday, May 7, 2015

photo stories - places as storytelling heavyweights

The sense of place is as essential to good and honest writing as a logical mind;
surely they are somewhere related.  It is by knowing where you stand that you
grow able to judge where you are.  Place absorbs our earliest notice and
attention, it bestows on us our original awareness; and our critical powers
spring up from the study of it and the growth of experience inside it.  It
perseveres in bringing us back to earth when we fly too high. It never really
stops informing us, for it is forever astir, alive, changing, reflecting, like the
mind of man itself.  One place comprehended can make us understand other 
places better.  Sense of place gives equilibrium; extended, it is sense of direction
too.  Carried off we might be in spirit, and should be, when we are reading or
writing something good.

- Eudora Welty

I like this idea that a full comprehension of one place - say, the place in which we
grew up - can help us to understand other places better.  If a writer has let one
place into herself, future places - real or imagined - states, towns, buildings, even
fascinating rooms - might better get in too.  All the better for conveying these
places to others.

By Vanessa Morrow

















By Jake Messenger



















By Rachel Chew
















Monday, April 27, 2015

on writing - the rarer wisdoms

Bring all your intelligence to bear on your beginning.
- Elizabeth Bowen

One of the things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it,
all, right away, every time.  Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the
book or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now.  The impulse to save
something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now.  Something
more will arise for later, something better.  These things fill from behind, from
beneath, like well water.  Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have
learned is not only shameful, it is destructive.  Anything you do not give freely and
abundantly becomes lost to you.  You open your safe and find ashes.
- Annie Dillard

By Jen Corace























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