Tag: quotes

On prose quality

“Sometimes [what draws me into a story is] a matter of style, but not always, since a compelling world can survive clumsy or awkward writing, as in Poe or David Foster Wallace (in Wallace’s case the awkwardness is deliberate, of course). “

—Iain Higgins, member of The Malahat Review‘s fiction board


On Henry James and that thing he does

“He splits hairs until there are no longer any hairs to split, and the mental gesture becomes merely the making of agitated passes over a complete and disconcerting baldness.”

—Rebecca West (x)

On the thrill of writing fiction

[T]hat sense of life, that feeling that I’m telling myself a story—you’d think it’d be something very easy to conjure up—what I mean is that you’d think after a while it would come more easily, and I’d be able to conjure it up whenever I sit down to write—but the opposite is true—that feeling becomes harder and harder to capture—and yet when you do—when you actually grab hold of it—the feeling is so astonishing, because it really is nothing like reading a story. Reading a story is a dream within a dream compared to the writing of a story. There’s just something so real about a story that you write yourself. It lives inside of you in the way that no other story can.”

—Rahul Kanakia (x)

An encouraging thing?

“Ten thousands things have to spark all at the same time, and cohere into a good hot flame, before a story results for me. I can still count the stories I’ve begun and finished on one hand.”

—Kai Ashante Wilson (x, found in a comment here)

Last words

“Don’t go away.”

“I’m not going away.”

“But I’m going away.”

—Kafka and Robert Klopstock, K: A Biography of Kafka, by Ronald Hayman

On the difference between fantasy and magical realism

“We are looking for realistic worlds that exhibit some sort of magical or supernatural element taken by the people in that world to be real. If fantasy shows us a world where ghosts exist, magical realism offers up a world where ghosts are pedestrian. In fantasy ghosts are the whole point. In magical realism ghosts are not the whole point.”

—the guidelines for the magazine doppelgänger, edited by James Hodgson

I’ve always struggled with the distinction, so this is helpful.

More good thoughts about singular they

“My use of their is socially motivated and, if you like, politically correct: a deliberate response to the socially and politically significant banning of our genderless pronoun by language legislators enforcing the notion that the male sex is the only one that counts. I consistently break a rule I consider to be not only fake but pernicious. I know what I’m doing and why.”

—Ursula K. Le Guin in Steering the Craft (found here)

Wow, what a dick

“The famous writer remarked of my writing, ‘There’s entirely too much sobbing in your work. People can only sob every 10 to 20 pages, max.’ He then asked if I knew how the word ‘essay’ originated. ‘To try,’ he said, before I could answer. ‘It means “to try.” And try you did. You should feel good about trying.’ I did my best not to tear up in front of him, and afterwards I flipped through the edited manuscript. The only marks he had made were to point out every instance of crying. He’d written phrases like Tone it down! Please no more crying!! His marks were only written in pencil but he had pressed so hard an imprint was still visible on the next page, and sometimes the next.”

—Gabrielle Montesanti’s essay “On Piss”

This makes me feel better

“Being creepy is a part of human nature, and learning to recognize and put boundaries on our own creepiness is something curricular Sex Ed should teach us, but never will.”

—Helena Fitzgerald in this great essay about growing up (found via this)

On giving people their rights

“We gave [Martin Luther King, Jr.] the Civil Rights Act of 1964, we gave him the Voting Rights Act of 1965, we gave him the War on Poverty. What more does he want?”

—President Lyndon Johnson (reportedly) after King criticized the war in Vietnam

This is a dangerous idea and one that’s easy to fall for if you’re inured to the status quo. Rights are not given. They are owed. That’s what makes them rights.

Found here.