Our move to Chicago is in Medias Res, as we have not “closed” yet, awaiting for all the necessary paperwork to be completed and for the house to become ours. So we are basically homeless–yet loved and taken care of, staying with my husband’s generous sister.
In the flurry of “packing” my office, I pulled from my “wall of hope” various quotes that I had printed and tacked up–most applying to the writing life. Today I am sharing them with you. Some may already be familiar to you.
#1 We make things and seed them into the world, never fully knowing –often never knowing at all–whom they will reach and how they will blossom in other hearts, how their meaning will unfold in contexts we never imagined. W.S. Merwin
Bio: Merwin is an American poet who wrote more than fifty books of poetry and prose. During the 1960s and the anti-war movement, his work was thematically characterized by indirect, unpunctuated narration. In the 1980s and 1990s, his writing derived from an interest in Buddhist philosophy and ecology. Residing in a rural part of Maui Hawaii, he was dedicated to the restoration of the island’s rainforests.
This next quote was given to me by a fellow fiction writer who understands what it means to live with your words and your characters every day of life your life.
#2 ...because writing literary fiction allows me to live with my imagination, and that is the greatest gift you can have. John Leggett 1917-2015 University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop 1970-1987
Bio: John Leggett attended Yale, then served in the US Navy in WW II. Back home after collecting a “fat swatch of rejection slips” he did editorial work for Houghton Mifflin Publishing and Harper Collins. In 1969, he joined the English department of the University of Iowa where he became the director of the famous Writer’s Workshop. During his tenure, he worked with amazing writers: Ethan Canin, Gail Godwin, Jane Smiley, John Irving, Raymond Carver. In 1987 he moved to Napa to help run the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference. Leggett died of pneumonia in 2015.
#3 Vanishing twin? Never heard that phrase before but it gives me chills. Today I am truly feeling your story. Meaty emotional stuff. How strange that we call lost kids “missing.” They are anything but. They haunt us every day. I remember Etan Patz. Have you been following recent developments in that case? The perp was found and confessed. (He has a low IQ and mental illness, worked in a bodega in SoHo, killed Etan within minutes of him leaving for school on his own for the first time. ) …What an unending torment for Ethan’s parents. Your notes today have me stirred up..which means, good work. Donald Maass
Bio: Donald Maass (New York, NY) heads the Donald Maass Literary Agency in New York City, which represents more than 150 novelists and sells more than 150 novels every year to publishers in America and overseas. He is a past president of the Association of Authors Representatives, Inc., and is the author of several books.
#4 Conversation with Pulitzer Prize author, Elizabeth Strout: …fiction is more true than just about anything else…the terrible details of marital strife, the big holes in us that we pretend aren’t there, all our contradictions, only some of which we can see, our sex lives, our odd attractions and repulsions. …I’ve wondered my whole life why fiction exists and persists across time and culture. And now I feel like I know: because we can be honest there, we can reveal ourselves, see one another fully and finally. Meredith, The Falmouth Book Baristas
Bio Meredith: I am an avid reader of new fiction (especially historical fiction, literary fiction, women’s fiction and mysteries) memoirs, and the occasional non-fiction book. I work in Circulation at the Falmouth Memorial Library, and look forward to hearing about what you read.
#5 Springing a point on readers isn’t artless, it’s artful. It’s welcome. When the point is the truth, we don’t turn away. We are inspired to become better and are glad of it. So, go ahead and think like Aesop. He revealed human nature and delivered moral truths. He wasn’t stoned to death. You won’t be either.
Probably, Donald Maass again. Sure sounds like him.
#6 The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious–the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed.” Albert Einstein (no bio needed) My comment: YOU CAN KEEP THE DREAMS IN YOUR NOVEL.
#7 When faced with a challenge, we might find that very challenge was everything we needed to discover what we’re made of. A quiet, meaningful moment might be followed by disorder and confusion. Still, it could be that very moment that shifts something–the one that opened the dirty, muted window and changed the view. And so I dive in…
I cannot find the source. If anyone else knows it, please let me know. And as always…THANKS FOR READING, Beth