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Friday, August 9, 2013

Sublime Summer

As I slowly shape a syllabus for the fall, finish up with my summer interns, and start fleshing out the bones of my calendar for the year, I panic a little. I am not ready for summer to end. The produce in season, the weather, the slightly more open schedule... all of it is so delightful!

I don't want to waste any lingering opportunities, so this week I tried to cram in as much as I could. I grabbed all the little grape tomatoes left on the vine in my teeny garden. Each one is a shiny and impossibly red orb of goodness. I am putting them in omelettes and tuna salads and veggie sandwiches. Tonight I roasted an eggplant into unbelievable creaminess for dinner. Yesterday I bought an extra half-pint of berries at the store, already mourning their absence.

Today I jumped on my bike and rode feverishly to the beach, not wanting to miss any chance of being outside. At night I am reading as much as I want because my mornings can start just a little bit slower. And finally, I'm trying my best to get a little writing done. As you probably know already, being creative is not something you can just turn on like a faucet. But I do not have time to really "get in the mood" or "find my muse." There are some things I want to write down or at least lay out for future chipping away.

So I have thinned out my schedule for the month, taking a break from some of the consulting I do week to week. I am reading a whole bunch of different things, then scratching down various thoughts and quotes and nuggets.

I'm also trying to figure out how to better integrate writing into my life on a more consistent basis. So as I mentioned in my previous post, I'm trying to learn from far better authors who have gone before me. Here are some of their wise words... though I haven't come to any conclusions yet as to writing looks like for me, their words are moving and motivating.

The role of the writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say. Anais Nin

Something that irritates you and won’t let you go. That’s the anguish of it. Do this book, or die. You have to go through that... Talent is insignificant. I know a lot of talented ruins. Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but, most of all, endurance... When you're writing, you're trying to find out something which you don't know. James Baldwin

Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. William Faulkner

I can't imagine not writing. Writing simply is a way of life for me. William Goyen

The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof shit detector. This is the writer's radar and all great writers have had it. Hemingway

As a writer, I do more listening than talking. W. H. Auden called the first act of writing “noticing.” He meant the vision—not so much what we make up but what we witness. John Irving

If you persist in doing something, sooner or later  you will achieve it. It's just a matter of persistence -- and a certain amount of talent. Wm. Kennedy

I am compulsive about writing, I need to do it the way I need sleep and exercise and food and sex; I can go without it for awhile, but then I need it. John Irving

One of the most difficult things is the first paragraph. I have spent many months on a first paragraph, and once I get it, the rest just comes out very easily. In the first paragraph you solve most of the problems with your book. The theme is defined, the style, the tone. At least in my case, the first paragraph is a kind of sample of what the rest of the book is going to be. That’s why writing a book of short stories is much more difficult than writing a novel. Every time you write a short story, you have to begin all over again. Gabriel Garcia Marquez

You are always concentrated on the inner thing. The moment one becomes aware of the crowd -- performs for the crowd -- it is spectacle. It is fichu (done for). Jean Cocteau

At the time of writing, I don't write for my friends or myself, either; I write for it, for the pleasure of it. Eudora Welty

We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master. Hemingway

I always try to write on the principle of the iceberg. There is seven-eighths of it underwater for every part that shows. Hemingway

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