Glimmer Train, a leading magazine of literary fiction, asked in a recent survey for the inspirational quotes that their readers have tacked up on their desk to motivate them to write. The full list is here (PDF file). Some of my favorites:
“If you can’t piss people off, why write at all.” (anonymous)
“I write to discover what I know.” (Flannery O’Connor)
“The hard is what makes it great.” (Tom Hanks in the movie “A League of Their Own”)
“One reason for writing, of course, is that no one’s written what you want to read.” (Philip Larkin)
“Have the courage to follow your talent to the dark place.” (anonymous)
“A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame and money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.” (G.K. Chesterton)
“Start writing — the answer will come to you.” (fortune cookie; I have this one taped to my computer too)
Quotes from my desktop:
“Concentrate not on protection, but on reducing your vulnerabilities.” (another fortune cookie)
“He who waits to do a great deal of good at once, will never do anything.” (Samuel Johnson)
“Live in joy — even with all the facts.” (source unclear; I’ve seen a version of it attributed to Wendell Berry)
What’s on your list, readers?
“You think it horrible that lust and rage
should dance attendance upon my old age;
They were not such a plague when I was young.
What else have I to spur me into song?
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)(from “The Spur”)
That’s pretty much why I write too Guess I am in good company if Yeats will admit to that.
“And now he could only
bar himself in and wait
for the great flint to come singing into his heart”
Earle Birney (from ‘Bushed,’ 1951)