Friday, September 6, 2013

Twelve Women/Twelve Quotes

Readers of this Blog know my fondness for quotations––found under "Verbatim."
Readers of this Blog know my fondness for collecting books of quotes––found under "Bibliomania."

     Reading words by writers who have made it, those same writers who have had to plod along in their creative ups and downs, plotting them with pen and ink, is like having a universe of mentors at your fingertips. Wit and wisdom are dispensed in nuggets of pleasurable advice, giving courage and inspiration along the way. All good words. All good news.
     Books offering instruction on writing by acclaimed writers and poets, contain passages that have the power to lift up and carry away the novice or experienced writer who, otherwise, might be caught in creative angst or a cobweb of self-doubt. These writers impart some of their journeys under chapter headings like: technique, voice, mood, and so on. Their words impart glimpses into how or what kept their creative drive or glue together. For these books, read between the lines; seek and you shall find the wisdom.
     Wonderful collections of quotations exist. They are akin to writing self-help books, and to be lucky enough to find one that speaks to you page after page, is worth having at your fingertips. Maybe two. Maybe three. They are wonderful books to read from a pillow's supporting fluff at day's end. Read a few lines before the bed lamp shuts down for the night. Jot them down on the notepad next to your alarm clock. Or, let one or two latch onto your subconscious. Let it or them become your morning reveille. What a difference a few well-chosen words can make.

Maya Angelou
     "Words on Words"  
Poetry is music written for the human voice.

Elizabeth Berg
     "Escaping Into The Open"
Try to be observant, to look beyond surfaces. Let yourself feel everything that you can . . . . As a writer, you should have a sticky soul; the act of continually taking things in should be as much a part of you as your hair color.

Julia Cameron
     "The Right to Write"
Specificity is like breathing: one breath at a time, that is how life is built. One thing at a time, one thought, one word at a time. That is how a writing life is built.

Maureen Corrigan
     "Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading"
It's not that I don't like people. It's just that when I'm in the company of others––even my nearest and dearest––there always comes a moment when I'd rather be reading a book.

Natalie Goldberg
     "The Essential Writer's Notebook"
Make contact with other writers. Go to workshops to meet people. Don't stay isolated. Make an effort to seek out people who love writing and make friends with them. It helps to confirm your writing life.

Anne Lamott
     "Bird by Bird"
Writing a first draft is very much like watching a Polaroid develop. You can't––and, in fact, you're not supposed to––know exactly what the picture is going to look like until it has finished developing.

Diane Mehta
     "How To Write Poetry"
To write a good poem, you must tap into deep feelings, observe the world closely, and put words together to create something that's uniquely yours.

Joyce Carol Oates
     "Good Advice on Writing"
Technique holds a reader from sentence to sentence, but only content will stay in his mind.

Mary Oliver
     "A Poetry Handbook"
A poem that is composed without the sweet and correct formalities of language, which are what sets it apart from the dailiness of ordinary writing, is doomed.

Katherine Anne Porter
     "The Quotable Writer"
If I didn't know the ending of a story, I wouldn't begin. I always write my last lines, my last paragraph, my last page first, and then I go back and work towards it. I know where I'm going . . . . And how I get there is God's grace.


Anna Quindlen
     "How Reading Changed My Life"
Perhaps it is true that at base we readers are dissatisfied people, yearning to be elsewhere, to live vicariously through words in a way we cannot live directly through life. Perhaps we are the world's great nomads, if only in our minds.


Edith Wharton
     "The Writing of Fiction"
General rules in art are useful chiefly as a lamp in a mine, or a hand-rail down a black stairway; they are necessary for the sake of the guidance they give, but it is a mistake, one they are formulated, to be too much in awe of them.


And one more makes a Baker's Dozen:

Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge
     "Poemcrazy"
We fear poetry, I think, for the same reason we fear rain forests, the depths of the ocean,  and our own unconscious. We fear the unknown, particularly inside ourselves.


I'll add books of quotes or books with inspired writing instruction to Bibliomania and Verbatim above. Find them. Read them, and feel inspired.