The prestigious literary journal Crazyhorse recently asked its readers to submit their favorite quotes about writing. The editors’ choices from this batch were included in their latest email newsletter. Below are some of my favorites:
“If you’re going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you’re going to be locked up.”
—Hunter S. Thompson
“I write a little every day, without hope and without despair.”
“Always pull back—and see how silly we must look to God.”
“Writing is finally a series of permissions you give yourself to be expressive in certain ways. To leap. To fly. To fail.”
“You owe reality nothing and the truth about your feelings everything.”
“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
“The process of writing will always be trying to repair something that doesn’t exist with tools you have to invent on the spot.”
“Any writer who knows what he’s doing isn’t doing very much.”
“Confront the dark parts of yourself…. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.”
“Truth is not an unveiling which destroys the secret, but a revelation that does it justice.”
“Writing isn’t about applause. It’s about humiliation.”
“Before I start writing I feel affectionate, interested, and frustrated. In that order. Afterwards I feel relieved, disgusted, and confused. Sometimes I don’t think it’s worth it.”
“A poet is someone who stands outside in the rain hoping to be struck by lightning.”
“Go forth my book and help to destroy the world as it is.”
— Russell Banks
“I always write from my own experiences whether I’ve had them or not.”
I love this! Thanks for posting it.
I took all of these, copied them into a document, and transposed them for painting. It’s not surprising that they are just as insightful and instructive in a different medium. They’re all good, and good for me – but I think the most unexplored road (for me) lies down the Hugo and Wilson ways, with the Williams close behind.
I have begun a series of pieces which I will not share with anyone – in order to allow myself to disregard the audience completely. I think the Wilson quote is where I need to go. And if I can figure out what the Hugo means in practice, I will have gained something vital.
Thanks for posting these. I would like to see more of that list.
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