Thursday, November 13, 2014

5 of my favorite quotations on writing: Kenyon, L'Engle, King, O'Connor, Berry

5 faves: quotations on writing

For a long while I've dreamed about going back to school. It's not the right time (as I like to say "Not all 6 of us can be in school at once!" -- which is probably a cop-out) In the meantime, I'm excited to pursue another goal. I saved up my pennies and signed up for the Glen Online Creative Non-fiction Writing Course.

I'm really excited to learn and thankful for Glen Online and Image Journal's hospitality and encouragement. So to celebrate (and to rouse to the task at hand) here's some writing pep talks from five of my favorite authors.


Jane Kenyon, at a 1991 literary conference in Enfield, New Hampshire, from A Hundred White Daffodils:
"Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off  the hook. Work regular hours."


"As soon as Bion, our baby, was in nursery school, I dropped out of the group of mothers who occasionally gathered together to drink coffee and gossip. This was writing time. Nobody else needed writing time. And I felt that I was looked at askance because I spent so much time at the typewriter and yet couldn't sell what I wrote. I certainly wasn't pulling my weight financially. In my journal I wrote: 'There is a gap in understanding between me and our friends and acquaintances. I can't quite understand a life without books and study and music and pictures and a driving passion. And they, on the other hand can't understand why I have to write, why I am a writer. When, for instance, I say to someone that I have to get home to work, the assumption is that I mean housecleaning or ironing, not writing a book. I'm very kindly permitted to be a writer but not to take time in pursuing my trade. Nor can they understand the importance of music or why an hour with a Mozart sonata at the piano is not wasted time but time spent on a real value. Or really listening, without talking, to music. Or going for a walk simply to see the beauty around one, or the real importance of a view from a window." 

Stephen King in On Writing:

“Put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.”

Wendell Berry on 

How To Be a Poet

 (to remind myself)
Make a place to sit down.   
Sit down. Be quiet.   
You must depend upon   
affection, reading, knowledge,   
skill—more of each   
than you have—inspiration,   
work, growing older, patience,   
for patience joins time   
to eternity. Any readers   
who like your poems,   
doubt their judgment.   

Breathe with unconditional breath   
the unconditioned air.   
Shun electric wire.   
Communicate slowly. Live   
a three-dimensioned life;   
stay away from screens.   
Stay away from anything   
that obscures the place it is in.   
There are no unsacred places;   
there are only sacred places   
and desecrated places.   

Accept what comes from silence.   
Make the best you can of it.   
Of the little words that come   
out of the silence, like prayers   
prayed back to the one who prays,   
make a poem that does not disturb   
the silence from which it came.
Source: Poetry (January 2001).

Flannery O'Connor

Any favorite quotations like to share?  
Do tell!

*Linking up with Jenna today

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