"If you go on valuing recognition and praise of others, you’re asking to be ruined. The only value in expression is its inherent value."
— How is literary success defined? | Cover Story | Creative Loafing Atlanta
"I could give you absolutely sterling advice on how to avoid writing, how when you run out of things to do other than going to your desk and writing, when every closet is reorganized and you’ve called your oldest living relative twice in one day to see what she’s up to and there isn’t an unanswered e-mail left on your computer or you simply can’t bear to answer another one and there is no dignity, not a drop left, in any further evasion of the task at hand, namely writing, well, you can always ask your dentist for a root canal or have an accident in the bathtub instead."
— Tony Kushner offers advice to emerging writers: http://nyr.kr/1805qwk (via dannygoodmanwriting)
(Source: newyorker.com, via dannygoodmanwriting)
"We should write as we dream; we should even try and write, we should all do it for ourselves, it’s very healthy, because it’s the only place where we never lie. At night we don’t lie. Now if we think that our whole lives are built on lying-they are strange buildings-we should try and write as our dreams teach us; shamelessly, fearlessly, and by facing what is inside very human being-sheer violence, disgust, terror, shit, invention, poetry. In our dreams we are criminals; we kill, and we kill with a lot of enjoyment. But we are also the happiest people on earth; we make love as we never make love in life."
— Hélène Cixous (via quotes-shape-us)
"What people are ashamed of usually makes a good story."
— F. Scott Fitzgerald (via bookpilgrim)
(Source: bornreadygeneration, via bookpilgrim)
Last week Rosh Hashanah arrived just moment after Labor Day weekend, the final hurrah of summer (which I spent with my dear VCFA friends celebrating one of our own’s nuptials). We ask for sweetness by dipping apples into honey, we utter our plaintive prayers: may we be inscribed in the book of life. May we not be among the number who perish.
As a nonbeliever who believes in ritual and its spiritual power, I sometimes morph the Jewish prayers into exhortations to myself, to the best, most divine soul within me. So though I don’t think there’s anyone “up there” listening, I am listening to myself: I really want to write in the book of life this year—to write to the fullest, and live to the fullest. I ask myself, rather than God, to be more merciful and forgiving, and I exhort myself to spread peace. I ask myself to acknowledge my imperfections, to stop the imperfect acts that hurt the world, and forgive the imperfections that are harmless, the little acts of selfishness that eat up too much guilt.
My friends Sarah and Dave, who are believers in a stricter sense, have come to view their art, their photography and writing, as a form of devotion and prayer to the God they worship. That’s a beautiful thought. So as the Autumn breeze blows in I think: this year I will write as my atheist prayer.
This year Cheryl Strayed is my rabbi: this year, more than all the other years before it I will ask myself to “write like a motherfucker.”