writing

A Quote by Bruce Whiteman on poet, poetry, and writing

The poet discovers himself alone on a darkened stage, suffering temporary amnesia. What terror not to be able to remember or to imagine what you wanted to say. A language dysfunction, a disease of imagination's present time. The expectant audience sits unmoving and utterly silent. A small asexual voice offstage prompts the first words of a monologue in whispers, and the poet begins to speak, a time-delayed recitation of the future. A light at the back of his head comes on and moves to direct his footsteps as the ghostly unembodied voice continues to prompt him. When it stops, he asks himself: 'What was I saying, what was it I wanted to say? This is a play I am making up and someone is directing me from the wings. I want to scratch at the back of my head where the light is coming from, but it only gutters when I swing my hand and remains out of reach. There is a silence you choose and a silence that descends on you when the prompter decides to make you nervous, and that is terrifying. I cannot memorize what I will think to say when it tells me. It is so unnewtonian it takes your breath away."

Bruce Whiteman

Contributed by: Siona

A Quote by Alan Watts on writing, writers, art, creativity, self, and expression

Advice? I don't have advice. Stop aspiring and start writing. If you're writing, you're a writer. Write like you're a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there's no chance for a pardon. Write like you're clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you've got just one last thing to say, like you're a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God's sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we're not alone. Write like you have a message from the king. Or don't. Who knows, maybe you're one of the lucky ones who doesn't have to.

Alan Watts (1915 - 1973)

Contributed by: Siona

A Quote by Vladimir Nabokov on writing, advice, languages, life, and living

Advice to A Young Writer

1. If possible, be Russian. And live in another country. Play chess. Be an active trader between languages. Carry precious metals from one to the other. Remind us of Stravinsky. Know the names of plants and flying creatures. Hunt gauzy wings with snares of gauze. Make science pay tribute. Have a butterfly known by your name.

2. Do not be awed by giant predecessors. Be ill-tempered with their renown. Point out flaws. Frighten interviewers from Time. Appear in Playboy. Sell to the movies.

3. Use unlikely materials. Who would choose Pnin as hero, but how did we live before Pnin?

4. Delight in perversity. Put a noun into the dictionary. Now we recognize the Lolita at every corner, see her sucking sweetened milk through straws at every soda fountain, dream her through all our fantasies.

5. Burn pedants in pale fire. Accept no fashions. Be your own fashion. Do not rely on earlier triumphs. Be new at each appearance.

6. Age indomitably, in the European manner. Do not finish your labours young. Be a planet, not a meteor. Honor the working day. Sit at your desk.

Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

Contributed by: Siona

A Quote by Jay Bolter on writing, realtionship, mind, writer, literacy, and books

In the act of writing, the writer externalizes his or her thoughts. The writer enters into a reflective and reflexive relationship with the written page, a relationship in which thoughts are bodied forth. It becomes difficult to say where thinking ends and writing begins, where the mind ends and the writing space begins. With any technique of writing - on stone or clay, papyrus or paper, and particularly on the computer screen - the writer comes to regard the mind itself as a writing space. The writing space becomes a metaphor, in fact literate culture's root metaphor, for the human mind.

Jay Bolter

Contributed by: Siona

A Quote by Annie Dillard on writing, reading, writers, meaningful, mystery, power, and intelligence

Why are we reading if not in hope that the writer will magnify and dramatize our days, will illuminate and inspire us with wisdom, courage, and the possibility of meaningfulness, and will press upon our minds the deepest mysteries, so that we may feel again their majesty and power? What do we ever know that is higher than that power which, from time to time, seizes our lives, and reveals us startlingly to ourselves as creatures set down here bewildered?

Annie Dillard (nee Doak) (1945 -)

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A Quote by Thomas Merton on meditation, meditating, awareness, writing, art, life, and waiting

Learn how to meditate on paper. Drawing and writing are forms of meditation. Learn how to contemplate works of art. Learn how to pray in the streets or in the country. Know how to meditate not only when you have a book in your hand but when you are waiting for a bus or riding in a train.

Thomas Merton (1915 - 1968)

Contributed by: Siona

A Quote by Julia Cameron on writing, heaven, and creativity

Writing just for the hell of it is heaven.

Julia Cameron

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A Quote by David Abram on writing, environment, and language

Only as the written text began to speak would the voices of the forest, and of the river, begin to fade. And only then would language loosen its ancient association with the invisible breath, the spirit sever itself from the wind, the psyche dissociate itself from the environing air.

David Abram

Source: The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World (Vintage), Pages: 254

Contributed by: Siona

A Quote by David Abram on language, writing, earth, land, intellect, and mind

The alphabetized intellect stakes its claim to the earth by staking it down, extends its dominion by drawing a grid of straight lines and right angles across the body of a continent – across north America, across Africa, across Australia – defining states and provinces, counties and countries with scant regard for the oral peoples that already live there, according to a calculative logic utterly impervious to the life of the land.

If I say that I live in the “United States” or in “Canada,” in “British Colombia” or in “New Mexico,” I situate myself within a purely human set of coordinates. I say little or nothing about the earthly place that I inhabit, but simply establish my temporary location within a shifting matrix of political, economic, and civilizational forces struggling to maintain themselves, today, largely at the expense of the animate earth. The great danger is that I, and many other good persons, may come to believe that our breathing bodies really inhabit these abstractions, and that we will lend our lives more to consolidating, defending, or bewailing the fate of these ephemeral entities than to nurturing and defending the actual places that physically sustain us.

David Abram

Source: The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World (Vintage), Pages: 267

Contributed by: Siona

A Quote by David Abram on space, place, earth, land, ecology, environment, writing, and language

Once the stories are written down, the visible text becomes the primary mnemonic activator of the spoken stories – the inked traces left by the pen as it traverses the page replacing the earthly tracks left by the animals, and by one’s animal ancestors, as they moved across the land. The places themselves are no longer necessary to the remembrance of the stories, and often come to seem wholly incidental to the tales, the arbitrary backdrops for human events that might just as well have happened elsewhere. The transhuman, ecological determinants of the originally oral stories are no longer emphasized, and often are written out of the tales entirely. In this manner the stories and myths, as they lose their oral, performative character, forfeit as well their intimate links to the more-than-human earth. And the land itself, stripped of the particularizing stories that once sprouted from every cave and streambed and cluster of trees, begins to lose its multiplicitous power. The human senses, intercepted by the written word, are no longer gripped and fascinated by the expressive shapes and sounds of particular places. The spirits fall silent. Gradually the felt primacy of place is forgotten, superceded by a new, abstract notion of “space” as a homogenous and placeless void.

David Abram

Source: The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World (Vintage), Pages: 183-184

Contributed by: Siona

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