When I ask myself, “Why spend so much time at your keyboard scribbling out profiles of people or thoughts on religion, politics, love, death, and loss, I have a few ideas of my own and even better ones from others to share with you.
First, I can deal with “grown-up” assignments, such as how does Boris Pasternak develop the theme of “storm” in Doctor Zhivago when the White Russian General says, “I will kill everyone for the sake of humanity”; what did Henry David Thoreau mean by “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”?; or how does Garcia Marquez use humor to develop tension in Love In The Time of Cholera as Fermina Daza listens to her husband urinating…”the sound of his stallion’s stream seemed so potent, so replete with authority, that it increased her terror of the devastation to come”?
Those are some good lines to consider in fashioning any number of stories. But, as promised, I’ll leave you with some stolen tidbits from the more eloquent tongues of others.
“It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by…the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop.” –Vita Sackville-West, English author and critic
“Writing fiction has developed in me an abiding respect for the unknown in a human lifetime and a sense of where to look for the threads, how to follow, how to connect, find in the thick of the tangle what clear line persists.”–Eudora Welty, American author
“He had the syrup, but it wouldn’t pour,” a remark reportedly made by Gertrude Stein about a lesser writer of the Lost Generation.
“To me what keeps you vital is: You don’t live each day remembering who you were. Baseball almost seems like another lifetime ago. You need to do something that makes you feel good day-to-day. Just as you have a sense of accomplishment as a baseball player each and every day–you have a goal to win a game or success as a hitter or make good plays in the field–I need to feel I am accomplishing something. –Cal Ripken, Baltimore Oriole Shortstop and member of Baseball Hall of Fame
“Stay alert and always proofread.”–Jody Evans, Major Muse