Friday, October 30, 2009

John Shore:

The universe is full of ideas just waiting to be grasped and formulated. So what if someone takes one of yours? They’re likely to fail with it anyway, because no one can execute your idea like you can.

"More on How to Make a Living Writing,"

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Change occurs when deeply felt private experiences are given public legitimacy.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Robin Collingwood:

The artist tells the audience, at the risk of their displeasure, the secrets of their own hearts.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mary Pipher:

The ideal writer's temperament includes the ability to tolerate ambiguity, handle intensity, wrestle with self-doubt, take risks, and accurately assess criticism. Most writers must be able to withstand poverty, loneliness, and anguish. And we also must be able to motivate ourselves to keep going in the face of the world's total indifference.

Writing to Change the World, p. 77

Monday, October 26, 2009

Richard Hugo:

To write a poem you must have a streak of arrogance -- not in real life I hope. In real life try to be nice. It will save you a hell of a lot of trouble and give you more time to write. By arrogance I mean that when you are writing you must assume that the next thing you put down belongs not for reasons of logic, good sense, or narrative development, but because you put it there. You, the same person who said that, also said this. The adhesive force is your way of writing, not sensible connection.

The Triggering Town, p. 5

Friday, October 23, 2009

Baba Dioum:

In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Albert Einstein:

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mary Pipher:

Our biggest plunge is taking ourselves seriously. Many of us find it difficult to simply state, "I am a writer." We fumble and mumble around -- "I'm not really a writer," or "I don't consider myself a real writer, but..." When we equivocate, we lose an opportunity to build our identities as writers. If you are not saying it already, I advise you to learn to say you are a writer.

Writing to Change the World, p. 76

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sanford Pinsker:

For me, poetry is not like the jeweller's craft...polishing, polishing, always rubbing it more and more. It's more like the exhilaration of getting somewhere. It's like running fast and your elbows and knees may not always be exactly right...but you're really getting somewhere. That's the sort of feeling writing a poem has.

When interviewed by William Stafford, Writing the Australian Crawl, p. 123

Monday, October 19, 2009

Graham Green:

Poetry is the photography of the invisible.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wendell Berry:

I did make up my mind at some time that instead of trying to serve my purposes by rhetorical artifice or personal attacks, I would try to make as much sense as I could. If your cause doesn’t make sense, why defend it? Writing is a test of sense. It’s an exposure of your ideas to your own scrutiny, and then to the scrutiny of other people.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Carl Jung:

Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mary Pipher:

Your desire to communicate originates from some internal combustion of intellect, heart, and experience. No doubt, you are on fire about certain causes.

Writing to Change the World, p. 46

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gunter Grass:

The first job of the citizen is to keep your mouth open.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sanford Pinsker:

What about reading other poets, particularly the "great" ones? Couldn't that become an inhibiting factor?

No. I think such reading is harmless. Particularly the reading of excellent models. I think God has put a safety factor in here. You are unable to read up to a standard greater than the standard of yourself. You may feel a good deal of gusto about a great poem, but that's because you are worthy of it. You just cannot feel that gusto if you're not worthy. So, if you really do feel that a certain poem is that good, you are just about there yourself. I mean, you're that kind of person.

When interviewed by William Stafford, Writing the Australian Crawl, p. 118-119

Friday, October 9, 2009

Southern Festival of Books

Downtown Nashville hosts the 21st annual Southern Festival of Books this weekend. I'm especially excited about Alimentum's sessions, "The Poetry of Food," to be held around lunchtime today and tomorrow. I recently discovered Alimentum, a fabulous literary journal that features poems and short stories that celebrate food (whether directly or indirectly). Rich, wonderful stuff, indeed.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mary Pipher:

As are all humans, you are an amateur psychologist, with your own unique theories about why humans act the way they do. All of this individuality that is you, properly understood and clearly presented, is a tremendous gift to the world. It is a one-of-a-kind point of view on the universe.

Writing to Change the World, p. 45-46

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Soren Kierkegaard:

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Meeting Mel

Last night I had the privilege of hearing author/activist Mel White speak at Vanderbilt University. I am inspired by his courage and determination.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sanford Pinsker:

The correct attitude to take about anything you write is "Welcome! Welcome!"

When interviewed by William Stafford, Writing the Australian Crawl, p. 117

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Marion Dane Bauer:

Never think of revising as fixing something that is wrong. That starts you off in a negative frame of mind. Rather think of it as an opportunity to improve something you already love.