Writing On The Wall

"I'd have stopped writing years ago if it were for the money." --Paulo Coelho                             Link To Blog Archive here.

Enough Whining: Break Time (2015-08-18)

Enough Whining: Break Time (2015-08-18)

Have to go water the asphalt.

Away From Blog

The Poet In Our Culture: But I’m Not Bitter (2015-08-17)

The Poet In Our Culture: But I’m Not Bitter (2015-08-17)

It is a sad fact about our culture that a poet can earn much more money writing or talking about his art than he can by practicing it.” —W. H. Auden

Doing readings, talks, or ‘teaching’ creative writing—these are the tiny financial rewards for being recognized as a ‘real’ poet.  And I must confess it galls me that English professors can earn a good living by writing about poetry and poets, while poets work at day jobs to support them. But then what’s new? The working class that produces something of value doesn’t profit, while those that just capitalize on it do.

Poetry And Anguish (2015-08-16)

Poetry And Anguish (2015-08-16)

"What is a poet? An unhappy person who conceals profound anguish in his heart but whose lips are so formed that as sighs and cries pass over them they sound like beautiful music." —Søren Kierkegaard

Although I don’t think of myself as an unhappy person, I can relate to this, because it is certainly true that anguish is often a wellspring of creativity. Fortunately so is joy.

Escaping From Reality (2015-08-15)

Escaping From Reality (2015-08-15)

What good are insights? They only make things worse.” ―Raymond Carver

I’ve always been interested in creativity. So much so as to write three books about it. Naturally, the creativity of writers holds special interest. I’ve examined the objective evidence, but I also have relied on introspection. I know personal experience should never be generalized to a group, but I can’t help noticing frequent parallels between what many writers say about practicing their art and my own experience—my own demons.

One such parallel is the feeling, perhaps delusional, that one sees some things more clearly than is average. And being blind to many of those things would be more comfortable.

Write: Sobriety Is Hazardous To One’s Health (2015-08-14)

Write: Sobriety Is Hazardous To One’s Health (2015-08-14)

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” ― Ray Bradbury (Zen in the Art of Writing)

Trouble is drunks get in trouble.

Reading: The Light To Be Found In Darkness (2015-08-13)

Reading: The Light To Be Found In Darkness (2015-08-13)

Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.” —Franz Kafka

Maybe this is why we read, and why in moments of darkness we return to books: to find words for what we already know.” ―Alberto Manguel (A Reading Diary: A Passionate Reader's Reflections on a Year of Books)

Misery loves company.

Surprise, Surprise, Writers Read! (2015-08-12)

Surprise, Surprise, Writers Read! (2015-08-12)

“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.” —Samuel Johnson.

So true! I’m always amazed at that how many people who never read seriously believe they can write.

The Truth Is Dangerous (2015-08-11)

The Truth Is Dangerous (2015-08-11)

Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled "This could change your life.” ―Helen Exley

My wife recently came across this fine poem by Joseph Mills (relevant to the above quotation) on that excellent blog, Brain Pickings.


“If Librarians Were Honest

‘…a book indeed sometimes debauched me from my work…’

—Benjamin Franklin

If librarians were honest,

they wouldn’t smile, or act

welcoming. They would say,

You need to be careful. Here

be monsters. They would say,

These rooms house heathens

and heretics, murderers and

maniacs, the deluded, desperate,

and dissolute. They would say,

These books contain knowledge

of death, desire, and decay,

betrayal, blood, and more blood;

each is a Pandora’s box, so why

would you want to open one.

They would post danger

signs warning that contact

might result in mood swings,

severe changes in vision,

and mind-altering effects.

If librarians were honest

they would admit the stacks

can be more seductive and

shocking than porn. After all,

once you’ve seen a few

breasts, vaginas, and penises,

more is simply more,

a comforting banality,

but the shelves of a library

contain sensational novelties,

a scandalous, permissive mingling

of Malcolm X, Marx, Melville,

Merwin, Millay, Milton, Morrison,

and anyone can check them out,

taking them home or to some corner

where they can be debauched

and impregnated with ideas.

If librarians were honest,

they would say, No one

spends time here without being

changed. Maybe you should

go home. While you still can.”

Telling The Truth (2015-08-10)

Telling The Truth (2015-08-10)

There is no doubt fiction makes a better job of the truth.”  ―Doris Lessing (Under My Skin: Volume One of My Autobiography, to 1949).

There is no other way to tell the hardest truths, which are never simple.

The Need For Truth (2015-08-09)

The Need For Truth (2015-08-09)

Fiction is the truth inside the lie.” ―Stephen King

The Need For Narrative (2015-08-08)

The Need For Narrative (2015-08-08)

After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” ―Philip Pullman

Good Advice For Writers (2015-08-07)

Good Advice For Writers (2015-08-07)

Always be a poet, even in prose.” ―Charles Baudelaire

One is most likely to be heard if you one speaks most effectively; i.e., poetically. I think of how poetic are the novels that most influenced me.

All One Can Do Is Speak, Even If Some Do Not Listen (2015-08-06)

All One Can Do Is Speak, Even If Some Do Not Listen (2015-08-06)

“Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry.” ― Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Angel)

It’s their loss and unfortunately civilization’s loss as well.

One Has To Hope (2015-08-05)

One Has To Hope (2015-08-05)

A good poem is a contribution to reality. The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. A good poem helps to change the shape of the universe, helps to extend everyone's knowledge of himself and the world around him.”  ―Dylan Thomas

All one can hope is that, as the charities say, "Donations of any size are welcome and appreciated. "

Is Anyone Listening? (2015-08-04)

Is Anyone Listening? (2015-08-04)

Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose-petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo.'”—Don Marquis

But still better than leaving it in a drawer to wilt and fade away.

Perhaps Tilting At Windmills? (2015-08-03)

Perhaps Tilting At Windmills? (2015-08-03)

The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” ―Albert Camus

(Remember his philosophical essay “The Myth Of Sisyphus”. Meaning can be found in pushing that rock uphill.)

The Sharpest Sabre (2015-08-02)

The Sharpest Sabre (2015-08-02)

Poetry is a sword of lightning, ever unsheathed, which consumes the scabbard that would contain it.” —Percy Bysshe Shelley (A Defence of Poetry)

The Return Of The Literary Jedi (2015-08-01)

The Return Of The Literary Jedi (2015-08-01)

I’m back, albeit briefly.

I have a great fondness for quotations, so I thought I’d use this blog to share some of my favourites by writers battling the forces of darkness. Their ‘lightsaber’ is the pen, which I like to believe is mightier than any real world sword.

For starters:

Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.” —Nathaniel Hawthorne (The Custom House)

Archive For Writing On The Wall

Writing On The Wall: Blog Archive

Writings On The Wall: June 2013

Writings On The Wall: July 2013

Writings On The Wall: August 2013

Writings On The Wall: September 2013

Writings On The Wall: October 2013

Writings On The Wall: November 2013

Writings On The Wall: December 2013

Writings On The Wall: January 2014

Writings On The Wall: February 2014

Writings On The Wall: March 2014

Writings On The Wall: April 2014

Writings On The Wall: May 2014

Writings On The Wall: June Thru July 2014

Writings On The Wall: August To End 2014

Writings On The Wall: January 2015

Writings On The Wall: February 2015

Writings On The Wall: March 2015

Writings On The Wall: April Thru June 2015

Writings On The Wall: July 2015

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