Monday, February 20, 2017

Reads for Writers: Why I Write? Thoughts on the Craft of Fiction edited by Will Blythe

From Kate’s Writing Crate…

          I’m curious about relationships. I always ask about how couples met; how people ended up in their current jobs; and, since I’m a writer, why people write.

          In Why I Write? Thoughts on the Craft of Fiction edited by Will Blythe, twenty-six writers answer this question. Well worth reading.

Here are some of my favorite answers:  

“The only time I know the truth is when it reveals itself at the point of my pen.”

                                                                   —Jean Malaquais p.4

…Good writing never soothes or comforts. It is no prescription, neither is it diversionary, although it can and should enchant while it explodes in the reader’s face.
                                                                   —Joy Williams p. 9

…The act of writing, though often tedious, can still provide extraordinary pleasure. For me that comes line by line at the tip of a pen, which is what I like to write with, and the page on which the lines are written, the pages, can be the most valuable thing I will ever own.
—James Salter pp. 34-35.

…Yet I don’t blush when I’m with dogs, and I don’t blush when I write. I take it then that these two activities answer a related question: Where in your life are you most yourself?
                                                                   —Amy Hempel p. 42

…the lesson retold in its most basic form was this: write with great truthfulness; work harder than you thought possible; have passion, enormous sweeping passion. Give it first to your work. Let your work have all the passion it requires, and whatever is left, put into your life. What is left varies greatly for me from year to year.
                                                                   —Ann Patchett p. 66

This writing stuff saved me. It has become my way of responding to and dealing with things I find too disturbing or distressing or painful to handle in any other way. It’s safe. Writing is my shelter. I don’t hide behind the words. I use them to dig inside my heart to find the truth. I guess I can say, honestly, that writing also offers me a kind of patience I don’t have in my ordinary day-to-day life. It makes me stop. It makes me take note. It affords me a kind of sanctuary that I can’t get in my hurried and full-to-the-brim-with-activity life.
                                                                   —Terry McMillan pp. 70-71

… For the time of the writing, I am nobody. Nobody at all. I am a conduit, nothing but a way for the story to come to the page. Oh, but I am terribly alive then, too, though I say I am no one at all; my every sense is keen and quivering.
                                                                   —Lee Smith p. 134

…Writing should detonate in your brain like a strong dosage of acid, exploding in an abundance of color, attacking all that is accepted as sacred and true, rearranging, changing all sense and sensibility. Writing should dump the jigsaw puzzle of reality on the ground. Let the reader put the pieces back together.
                                                                   —Darius James p.169

…Writers drive cars, hold jobs off and on, raise children, climb mountains, and take out the garbage, but very few have retirement plans. Retire from what? Thinking? Being?...the process of writing goes on, the secret reserve is honed and moving, moving toward writing, into writing, until death cancels all.
                                                                   —Jayne Anne Phillips p. 189

Word count for February 12-18 was 6,866.

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