Writers on Writing – Interesting quotations; sections from books etc.

Times Atticus 7/10/12 Roland White overheard two young men talking outside Tesco:-
“Yeah, but if you were clinging to the bonnet and he wouldn’t let you off , then technically that’s not really giving you a lift is it?”

Some thoughts on childhood shaping the adult:-

BIRDSONG Sebastian Faulks
‘I don’ t know your life history, but I think children need to believe in powers outside themselves. That’s why they read books about witches and wizards and God knows what. There is a human need for that which childhood normally exhausts. But if a child’s world is broken up by too much reality, that need goes underground.’

Lesley Glaister
“An individual’s personality is largely shaped by early experience: unconditional love, disappointed hunger, rejection, displacement by a newborn sibling, star or scapegoat status within the family.”

Marilynne Robinson, Gilead – this is a new kind of voice to me, narrated in the voice of a dying pastor:-

he quotes Calvin, “We are here to be instructed.”

“I have always liked the phrase ‘nursing a grudge’ because many people are tender of their resentments, as of the things nearest to their hearts.”

“I am struck by a kind of incandescence in them…loveliness is just that presence, shaped around ‘I’ like a flame on a wick.”

“When you encounter another person…what is the Lord asking of me..this is an emissary sent from the Lord and some benefit is intended for me…you are freed of the impulse to hate or resent that person…”

On writing:-

Somerset Maugham described his use of his own experience as “a sort of laboratory, a dispassionate raiding of the self.”

David Lodge, Author Author p 303
Henry James on writing as like riding a bicycle.
‘momentum was the onward drive of the narrative, the raising of questions to which the audience desired to know the answers, and balance was the symmetry of structure, the elimination of the irrelevant, the repetition of motifs and symbols.’

Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert – summary of Emma’s personality
‘Mais il en était de ses lectures comme de ses tapisseries, qui, toutes commences encombraient son armoire; elle le prenait, les quittait, passait d’autres.’
But her reading fared like her pieces of embroidery all of which, only just begun, filled her cupboard ; she took it up, left it, passed onto other books.

It’s never too late to be what you might have been George Eliot

I have forgotten most of the research I did; this, I think, is how it is with novelists – we are by nature generalists, able at very short notice to fake up expertise on almost anything Toby Litt “Ghost Story”

Don’t ask me;

I have no recipe

for a poem. You

know the language,

 

know where prose ends

and poetry begins

There should be no

introit into a poem.

 

The listener should come

to and realise

verse has been going on

for some time. Let

 

there be no coughing,

no sighing. Poetry

is a spell woven

by consonants and vowels

 

in the absence of logic

Ask no rhyme

of a poem, only

that it keep faith

 

with life’s rhythm.

Language will trick

you if it can

Syntax is words’

 

way shackling

the spirit. Poetry is that

which arrives at the intellect

by way of heart.

R S Thomas

H G WELLS ON HENRY JAMES’ LATE WORK

It is a magnificent but painful hippopotamus resolved at any cost, even at the cost of its dignity, upon picking up a pea which has got into the corner of its den.

David Lodge, Author Author p 303
Henry James on writing as like riding a bicycle.
‘momentum was the onward drive of the narrative, the raising of questions to which the audience desired to know the answers, and balance was the symmetry of structure, the elimination of the irrelevant, the repetition of motifs and symbols.’

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