Favorite quotes about writing

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cheekychook
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Favorite quotes about writing

Post by cheekychook » June 24th, 2010, 11:19 pm

I find that I often stumble across quotes that seem freakishly timely. I'm in the midst of rewriting, some of which is coming with great ease, the rest of which is making my eyes spin in a disconcerting fashion. This particular quote caught my attention today and made me laugh:

I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.
Oscar Wilde

Anyone else have a good/timely/writerly quote to share?
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Mira
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Re: Favorite quotes about writing

Post by Mira » June 25th, 2010, 10:32 am

I love quotes! :)

Here's one about writing that I like:

"The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say". ~Anaïs Nin

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Re: Favorite quotes about writing

Post by midenianscholar » June 25th, 2010, 10:48 am

Love this one.

"Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it."
-C.S. Lewis

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Mira
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Re: Favorite quotes about writing

Post by Mira » June 27th, 2010, 2:31 am

Okay, here's another one I like:

Easy reading is damn hard writing. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Re: Favorite quotes about writing

Post by xouba » June 27th, 2010, 4:46 am

This is not about writing, but I've found that makes sense in almost everything in life. So it applies to writing too :-)

"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill

This is for those times when you've written only one paragraph and you already hate it. When you think you're crazy and/or delusional for trying to be a writer. When you've tried countless times to write something good but you've failed. When you've been rejected for the Nth time.

I guess the quote is an axiom, and the corolary is: "no matter what, keep writing" :-)

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Re: Favorite quotes about writing

Post by Username » June 27th, 2010, 3:31 pm

"If a writer of fiction knows enough about what he is writing, then he may begin to omit things, and the reader, if the writer is writing truly, will have a feel for those things as strongly as if the writer had written them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg lies in seven eighths of it being below the surface of water."

- Ernest Hemingway.

The principle of the iceberg, which I first read about when I was in university (and, at the time, didn't understand) is now central to anything that I write. It's not what you write that matters - it's what you don't write; it's what you omit, and how you choose to omit it.

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Re: Favorite quotes about writing

Post by GeeGee55 » June 27th, 2010, 5:56 pm

Paraphrasing John Steinbeck because I have a poor memory:

"There is only one story and that is the story of the battle between good and evil in us all."

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Re: Favorite quotes about writing

Post by Username » June 27th, 2010, 9:08 pm

My English Literature 100 professor walked into class on the first day and through... threw down her satchel and said:

"My dear students..." - I'm making that bit up... she didn't actually say that at all... but I've been watching HotForWords lately, and can't help myself... heh, heh, heh... "... my dear students... every work of fiction must fall into one of the following three categories: Man vs Man, Man vs Himself, or Man vs Nature."

I stood up and shouted: "But what about Women!"

Actually, my prof had a beard, and his name was Reid Gilbert

Anyway, here's the link that (at least if you're a guy) you REALLY want to follow:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lc4w3Bdifso

And this one as well:

viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1467

This is a good thread, and I hope that it continues to expand, grow, get bigger.

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Re: Favorite quotes about writing

Post by Username » June 27th, 2010, 9:09 pm

GeeGee55 wrote:Paraphrasing John Steinbeck because I have a poor memory:

"There is only one story and that is the story of the battle between good and evil in us all."
Ah, but what about those of us who are pure good, and have no evil?

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Re: Favorite quotes about writing

Post by Username » June 27th, 2010, 9:43 pm

Also, do you mind if I step in and be a Grammarian - I just like telling people what to do.

What we're really talking about here are quotations. Americans bastardized the word 'quote' and transformed it into a noun - it used to be a verb... back in England, I mean. The thing that goes between quotation marks is a quotation. When a writer quotes somebody, that writer is providing a quotation. Get it?

Americans.

They always do that. They did it with tea, as well. They iced it. Just as long as they keep their hands off soccer, I'll be happy. Actually, now that I think about it, Americans decided that soccer should be played indoors on a much smaller playing surface... so I guess I'm too late?

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Re: Favorite quotes about writing

Post by Bryan Russell/Ink » June 27th, 2010, 10:28 pm

Username wrote:Americans.

They always do that. They did it with tea, as well. They iced it. Just as long as they keep their hands off soccer, I'll be happy. Actually, now that I think about it, Americans decided that soccer should be played indoors on a much smaller playing surface... so I guess I'm too late?
Well, you know, it's hard to play soccer in the snow.
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polymath
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Re: Favorite quotes about writing

Post by polymath » June 27th, 2010, 10:41 pm

"You can't get there from here." Punchline of a traditional Mike and Pat joke Grandpa told when I was a toddler that carries on in family traditions. The joke pops into my head whenever I think about the complicated journeys writers go through, from inciting creative inspirations to publishing destinations.

On his way home from horse trading business in Tulach Mhór, Mike spies Pat stacking peat into a wheelbarrow. He asks for directions to Sligeach.

Pat looks up and down the deserted wagon cart road meandering across his land. His gaze compasses the four corners of his verdant fields and hills. He wets a finger and holds it in the breeze. Tangled branching lanes and tortured thoroughfares gather in his mind. "If we was anywhere else I could tell you," Pat says, "but it's impossible. You can't get there from here."
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Re: Favorite quotes about writing

Post by k10wnsta » June 28th, 2010, 4:59 pm

polymath wrote:"You can't get there from here." Punchline of a traditional Mike and Pat joke Grandpa told when I was a toddler that carries on in family traditions. The joke pops into my head whenever I think about the complicated journeys writers go through, from inciting creative inspirations to publishing destinations.

On his way home from horse trading business in Tulach Mhór, Mike spies Pat stacking peat into a wheelbarrow. He asks for directions to Sligeach.

Pat looks up and down the deserted wagon cart road meandering across his land. His gaze compasses the four corners of his verdant fields and hills. He wets a finger and holds it in the breeze. Tangled branching lanes and tortured thoroughfares gather in his mind. "If we was anywhere else I could tell you," Pat says, "but it's impossible. You can't get there from here."
Poly,
Your posts have an uncanny knack for making me read them again and again in the hopes that the next time through will be the one where it all comes together and I properly understand what you're saying. It's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just...I dunno...interesting. :-)
Anyhow, on the first read of this one, I was able to let my unfamiliarity with 'Mike and Pat' jokes slide and take your word that they exist, but once you mentioned they were trading horses in Tulach Mhór, I spent the remainder of the read trying to figure out what Mike and Pat were doing on the Klingon homeworld. Realizing I hadn't processed a single word of what I'd read after my mental detour, I went back to try again.
The second time through, I was prepared and didn't let the mysterious place distract me. Little did I know another was waiting in the wings and again I found myself glazing over the principal passage pondering possible pronunciations for 'Sligeach'. (<--- see what I did thar?...yeah, principal's a stretch, but I defy anyone to come up with a synonym for final/last that starts with 'p')
Ultimately, I read it a third time and substituted Crazyplace X and Crazyplace Y for the [cities?/towns?/villages?]. So I'm pleased to say I eventually succeeded in digesting the whole of the final paragraph and can honestly tell people I've read a joke with the word 'verdant' in it...and Tulach Mhór for that matter. ;-)
But I have to ask, is this how all Mike and Pat jokes are? I know I could probably google it, but I'd just wind up in some other time-consuming distraction.

As for my favorite writing quote, see below.
How vain it is to sit down and write when you have not stood up to live.
--Henry David Thoreau

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polymath
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Re: Favorite quotes about writing

Post by polymath » June 28th, 2010, 5:41 pm

Tulach Mhór and Sligeach are traditional Gaelic names for Irish towns with anglicized pronunciation spellings Tullamore and Sligo. Grandpa spoke Gaelic. An ancestral clan home is in Sligeach. Yes, traditional Mike and Pat jokes are for the most part very similar in dry wit and understated irony.

Mike walked Dublin's streets (Baile Átha Cliath) looking for a job. Burdened with a bucket of tar, Pat climbed a rickety ladder leaned against a brick building.

Mike asked Pat, "Paddy me boy, now, are you going up that gombeen man's ladder all the day?"

"Half the day I'm climbing down it," Pat replied.
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Mira
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Re: Favorite quotes about writing

Post by Mira » June 29th, 2010, 11:37 am

I like this one:

"Dancing in all its forms cannot be excluded from the curriculum of all noble education; dancing with the feet, with ideas, with words, and, need I add that one must also be able to dance with the pen?"

~Friedrich Nietzsche

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