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

Saturday, August 16, 2014

photo stories - anchors

I love those moments of exposition in books or short stories where the
perfect words, the perfect rhythms are accomplished and the reader is
transported, bewitched.  The moment, the sight, becomes their own,
years later something they look back on as if it had been real.  In these
scenes or paragraphs, certain sights or sounds often become anchors,
be it the way the girl's scarf flapped in the wind, or the way the moss
grew on the rooftop, or how that the toy in the window banged its little
cymbals.  The scene is lodged into the reader's mind, becoming a spark
of life that propels them through the pages.

These photos feel like that - living anchors.
May we write our anchors well.

By Molly Yun He

By Yung Sad

Friday, July 18, 2014

on reading - voltaire

Fools have a habit of believing that everything written by a famous
author is admirable.  For my part I read only to please myself and like
only what suits my taste.

- Voltaire, Candide

Friday, June 20, 2014

illustration - carolina raquel antich

Carolina's paintings are filled with strange children put up against stark
backgrounds, with little suggestions of context - mist, water, a forest, a
deep hole.  The scenes she creates are ripe with interesting stories, from
kids playing with battleships in a flood, to a golden family with ten
mysterious children.

Be inspired.  And write on.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Sunday, April 27, 2014

on writing - psychological barriers

Minds go from intuition to articulation to self-defense, which is what they
die of.    - James Richardson

No surprises for the writer, no surprises for the reader.    - Robert Frost

I think of this sometimes - how sensitivity to the world either means you
get lauded for it, get paid for it, get celebrated and loved for it; or at another
moment, feel burdened by it, or unable to deal, or panicked, or scared, or
shut down.    - Aimee Bender

Begin to write always before the impression of novelty has worn off from
your mind, else you will be apt to think that the peculiarities which at first
attracted you are not worth recording; yet those slight peculiarities are the
very things that make the most vivid impression upon the reader.  Think
nothing too trifling to write down, so it will be in the smallest degree
characteristic.  You will be surprised to find, on re-persuing your journal,
what an importance and graphic power these little particulars assume.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne

By Alessandro Lupi

Thursday, April 24, 2014

on reading - 3 wisdoms

The dead are still writing. Every morning, somewhere, is a line, a
passage, a whole book you are sure wasn’t there yesterday.
- James Richardson

There is divine beauty in learning... To learn means to accept the
postulate that life did not begin at my birth. Others have been here
before me, and I walk in their footsteps. The books I have read were
composed by generations of fathers and sons, mothers and daughters,
teachers and disciples. I am the sum total of their experiences, their
quests. And so are you.
- Elie Wiesel

There is only one way to read, which is to browse in libraries and
bookshops, picking up books that attract you, reading only those,
dropping them when they bore you, skipping the parts that drag - and
never, never reading anything because you feel you ought, or because
it is part of a trend or a movement. Remember that the book which
bores you when you are twenty or thirty will open doors for you when
you are forty or fifty - and vise versa. Don’t read a book out of its
right time for you.
- Doris Lessing

By Isabelle Arsenault

Friday, April 4, 2014

on writing - walter benjamin

I love this well-worded bit of writing advice from Walter Benjamin:

Let no thought pass incognito, and keep your notebook as strictly as
the authorities keep their register of aliens.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

on writing - wendy lesser

The great novelist (unlike the clever, tricky novelist...) does not
construct an entirely new fictional world each time he writes a novel.
He cannot choose to do that as his inferiors can because the world he
visits in his fiction has a reality for him that is not entirely of his own
willed making.

- Wendy Lesser

By Andrea Wan

Monday, March 10, 2014

photo stories - write me

I always love looking at photos on Flickr to be inspired.  Here are
three I found recently that are certainly deserving of stories.
Have a go at one or all if in need of a writing prompt...

By Greer Versteeg

By Brad Wise

By swimminginmilk

Friday, February 14, 2014

illustration - jennifer davis

Monsters and dreamers and gorillas, oh my!  Have a look at the art
of Jennifer Davis.  She's known for being fond of putting animals
into human situations, starting her paintings with the eyes since they
are the "soul" and anchor of a painting, and completing much of a
piece before suddenly painting over all she'd done.  "I enjoy the
repetitive labor," she says, "finding the bravery to paint over it and
uncover something fresh." (LazyCobra)

In that way, painting may have a common thread with writing...
Repetition, starting over, multiple drafts, discoveries...


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

food for thought - g.k. chesterson

In the fairy tale an incomprehensible happiness rests upon an
incomprehensible condition.  A box is opened, and all evils fly out. 
A word is forgotten, and cities perish.  A lamp is lit, and love flies
away.  A flower is plucked, and human lives are forfeited.  An apple
is eaten, and the hope of God is gone.

- G.K. Chesterton

Monday, February 10, 2014

on writing - raymond chandler

The faster I write the better my output.  If I'm going slow I'm in
trouble.  It means I'm pushing the words instead of being pulled
by them.

- Raymond Chandler

By Patrick Gonzales

Friday, January 24, 2014

on writing - from Conversations with Kurt Vonnegut

I've been reading Conversations with Kurt Vonnegut, edited by
William Rodney Allen.  Here are a few tidbits, Vonnegut's
thoughts on writing, short stories, and so on, that I rarely see on
other websites spouting bits of his wisdom...  Enjoy...

"As a rule it takes me quite awhile to figure out precisely how the
novel will end… I find that, as a writer, I share a problem, perhaps
you could call it a tragedy, with most human beings: a tendency to
lose contact with my own intelligence.  It's almost as if there were a
layer of fat upon the part of us that thinks and it's the writer's job to
hack through and discover what is inside.  So often it's this belief, or
some such belief, that keeps me going after a day when I've been at
it for hours and am dissatisfied with what I've produced.  But I do
keep at it and, if I'm patient, a nice egg-shaped idea emerges and I
can tell my intelligence has gotten through.  It' a slow process,
though, and an annoying one, because you have to sit still so long."

"That's the horrible part of being in the short-story business - you
have to be a real expert on ends.  Nothing in real life ends."

"Usually what you do is you obsess the reader: Is the boy going to
get the girl?  Is the person going to get revenge, or, are they going
to find the money, whatever.  Once you get bogged down in plot,
on rails like that, that's all a reader can think about."

By Klas Fahlén

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

on reading - j.k. rowling

If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.

- J.K. Rowling

Sunday, January 5, 2014

illustration - aris moore

I've been reading some horror and dark fantasy short fiction lately,
and then I came across the work of Aris Moore, which struck me as
perfectly dark and subtly horrifying, its cutting, absurd mood the
same as some of the stories I've been reading.  Check it out and have
a go at some darker kinds of writing...

And if you want something to read, check out Lisa Tuttle's "Objects
in Dreams May Be Closer Than They Appear," which is very creepy
..found in the House of Fear anthology and The Year's Best Dark 
Fantasy & Horror 2012.