WRITING WORDS OF INSPIRATION
"If you decide to write, then you must do it, as Balzac said, 'like a miner buried under a fallen roof.' Become a knight, a force of diligence and faith. I don't know how else to do it except that way. As the great poet Jack Gilbert said once to a young writer, when she asked him for advice about her own poems: 'Do you have the courage to bring foth this work? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say YES."
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love
"You practice an art to make your soul grow, not to make money or to become famous. And this would include singing in the shower or dancing to the radio or also drawing a charicature of your best friend, or whatever, all this makes your soul grow. And you meet a person who's done that, whether successful or not, and you sense a larger soul. So that is what's so tragic about school committees cutting art out of school curriculum, because they think that making art is no way to make a living."
Kurt Vonnegut , A Man Without A Country
"When I was a parish minister and in the middle of a sermon and I said, 'Let me tell you a story,' heads would pop up from behind the shield of the pews, momentarily roused from either discreet slumber or mild catatonia. I used to wonder why this happened. Most of the congregation accepted what I was saying; yet during a story they seemed to come alive, not merely pensive, but activated. Why?... Somewhere recently, I came across a likely answer. The reason people 'wake up' when you say you are going to tell them a story is that they suddenly become participants, not observers. Furthermore, they no longer enjoy a 'safe perch' from which to view the proceedings...Stories bring us to the edge of the Unknown where the Mysterious and unknown excite us much as when we were children and begged for ghost stories to make us feel alive."
Marv Hiles , The Way Through, A Contemplative Companion
"The best thing about writing is not the actual labor of putting word against word, brick upon brick, but the preliminaries, the spade work, which is done in silence, under any circumstances, in dream as well as in the waking state...A great work of art, if it accomplishes anything, serves to remind us, or let us say to set us dreaming, of all that is fluid and intangible. Which is to say the universe....It is all that we put into it out of hunger for that which we deny every day of our lives."
Henry Miller , Henry Miller on Writing
"I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours."
Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Nightwriters on Writing:
As every writer knows, the most important tool in the box, other than having something to say, is the discipline to "report for duty" at your desk. After the last Nightwriters seminar in Italy (the fall of 2007), all of the writers resolved to be in touch with each other a week after returning to real life, where the temptation to NOT write starts to make itself felt.
One of those returning writers, Judy Kleinberg from Bellingham, Washington, wrote eloquently to this point - and beyond: :
Thanksgiving, clear and icy. Apricot dawn silhouettes the near trees and the more distant hump of Mt. Baker. The heater rumbles; the coffee is more to the point. The kitchen counter, which I can see from my desk, is heaped with bowls and pans and containers of ingredients for the cookies I'll be starting soon (two flavors: lemon with black pepper and rosemary with pine nuts.) But before all that, partly since it's Thanksgiving, but mainly because I've been wanting to say it for many days. Thanks.
I returned, as Jennifer (our Tai Chi instructor in Italy) would say in her practice, "with intent." I would push aside my morning habits - e-mail, NPR - and make space for writing. There were no rules about it; with Phyllis' "look for the light" in my mind, I would simply write until I was finished. The first week, it was easy. It flowed from the warmth of Tuscany, the afterglow of shared words. But somehow toward the end of the second week, I started to wake up with committee meetings in my head; voices explaining how busy I was today, what important deadlines I had, how I was a little headachy, or "deserved" a day off, or really didn't have anything to write about.
But while the writing is, of course, a commitment to myself, it is also a commitment to all of you. And it was you, the joyful, tearful, eager, urging lot of you, that would roll me out of bed, help me grind the coffee, and set me gently in the chair at my desk. Where I would write. Every day. Every single day. And you know what? After four or five days, the voices quit. They gave up. The habit won. That's not to say the excuses won't return, or that the habit won't be disrupted by life's events. But you got me here, and you're still with me, and I am so, so grateful. Thank you and love.
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