Thursday, January 26, 2012

Quoth the Writer

January critique contest still open! Scroll down one post.

I love good quotes, especially from writers. Here are more favorites:

I think it's bad to talk about one's present work, for it spoils something at the root of the creative act. It discharges the tension. -- Norman Mailer

Don't tell me the moon is shining, show me the glint of light on broken glass. -- Anton Chekov

How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live. -- Henry David Thoreau

Plumbers don't get plumber's block, and doctors don't get doctor's block; why should writers be the only profession that gives a special name to the difficulty of working, and then expects sympathy for it? -- Philip Pullman

Most people do not believe in anything very much and our greatest poetry is given to us by those who do. -- Cyril Connolly

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. -- William Wordsworth

I don't know much about creative writing programs. But they're not telling the truth if they don't teach, one, that writing is hard work, and, two, that you have to give up a great deal of life, your personal life, to be a writer. -- Doris Lessing

You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. -- CS Lewis

...reading is the creative center of a writer's cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you. -- Stephen King

Do any of these speak to you? Have you run across any good quotes lately?


Vijaya said...

Well, I love the Chekhov quote. One of these days I should get a book of his shorts and read them all. Some I read years ago ...

And Thoreau's quote is wonderful. When I was 12, I decided I'd be a writer like AJ Cronin (physician turned writer) and I always thought that time would happen when I became a grandmother. Seemed like a suitable amount of time to live first.

And here's a quote to share by Albert Camus: Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.

Marcia said...

Vijaya -- It doesn't seem all that unusual that doctors often write, does it? I feel like I run into them often enough that there's a pattern. I think it's wonderful that at 12 you thought you could be a doctor, a writer, AND a grandmother (meaning, you'd be a mother first). I would have thought doctoring and ANY other life wouldn't have worked, b/c that's the model my family doctor (male) set.

Barbara Watson said...

These are all superb and motivating.

There is an untitled poem by Karla Kuskin whose first two lines go like this (and I was reminded of it by Chekov's quote):

Write about a radish
Too many people write about the moon

(the poem goes on with an image of night and a radish rising in the sky).

Faith E. Hough said...

I like Chekhov's and Thoureau's the best--in fact, I already have them hanging up in my writing space. :)

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

They all speak to me in different ways, which is why I love reading quotes. For example, I agree with Henry David Thoreau, yet I relate to what Doris Lessing writes about how one gives up a great deal of personal life to be a writer. Wonderful insights.

Marcia said...

Barbara -- That's a wonderful quote. I wonder, though, if the radish could get published today.

Faith -- I've got a few favorite quotes in my writing space, too. Just seems any good writer's space should include a few quotes! :)

Cynthia -- And I love how pithy quotes are. Even better than poetry, they say so much in few words and hit the nail right on the head.