As I mentioned last week, this month I’m sharing a few quotes I came across in Originals: How Non-conformists Move the World, by Adam Grant (2016), a look at how individuals bring new ideas to fruition — or fail to do so — particularly in organizations.
“No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader. When I begin a poem I don’t know—I don’t want a poem that I can tell was written toward a good ending. … You’ve got to be the happy discoverer of your ends.”
– Robert Frost, American poet, 1874-1963
Last month, during my trip to Seattle to celebrate the launch of CHAI ANOTHER DAY, the 4th Spice Shop mystery, I stayed with an old friend from college who had just celebrated a birthday. Her husband arranged a surprise party during my visit, a lovely Sunday morning brunch in their back garden. One of the men at the gathering recommended Originals: How Non-conformists Move the World, by Adam Grant (2016), a look at how individuals bring new ideas to fruition — or fail to do so — particularly in organizations. But though it isn’t focused on artistic creativity, it did include some quotes I want to share with you this month.
“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”
– Scott Adams, cartoonist and author, creator of Dilbert and other works
“Lean back and ask: ‘What would it be like to live my character’s life hour by hour, day by day?’ While memory views whole chunks of life, imagination takes fragments, slivers of dream and chips of experience that seem unrelated, then finds hidden connections and merges them into a whole.”
— Robert McKee, screenwriting teacher and author of Story
(photo: The Bovine Bibiliophile, at The Bookstore, Dillon, MT)
“Fiction is to the grown man what play is to the child; it is there that he changes the atmosphere and tenor of his life.”
Robert Louis Stevenson, Learning to Write 60 (1888; repr. 1920).
“Here’s to books, the cheapest vacation you can buy.”
– Charlaine Harris, American novelist and short story author
Finally, it’s time to CHAI ANOTHER DAY! The fourth Seattle Spice shop mystery is out today, in trade paper and ebook, from Seventh St. Books. (The audio is coming August 6th.)
From the cover:
Seattle Spice Shop owner Pepper Reece probes murder while juggling a troubled employee, her mother’s house hunt, and a fisherman who’s set his hook for her.
As owner of the Spice Shop in Seattle’s famed Pike Place Market, Pepper Reece is always on the go. Between conjuring up new spice blends and serving iced spice tea to customers looking to beat the summer heat, she finally takes a break for a massage. But the Zen moment is shattered when she overhears an argument in her friend Aimee’s vintage home decor shop that ends in murder.
Wracked by guilt over her failure to intervene, Pepper investigates, only to discover a web of deadly connections that could ensnare a friend – and Pepper herself.
*** As many of you know, it’s been a while since the third in the series, KILLING THYME, came out. I’m enormously pleased to have a new publisher — and as much in love with Arf the dog, on the cover, as ever! This is my tenth book and ninth novel, which is a bit mind-blowing, and I’m grateful to all of you who’ve waited patiently for this installment. As long as you keep reading, I’ll keep writing! Deal?
“The English language has been quite needlessly and foolishly complicated by lawyers, politicians, tradesmen, bad poets, and a whole host of woolly-minded people.”
— S.P.B. Mais, The Writing of English 235 (1935)
(Via Bryan Garner’s blog on modern American usage)
“The best writers have many ideas and hence hold them cheap, while the poor writers have few ideas and hence cherish them.”
— Walter B. Pitkin, The Art of Useful Writing 18 (1940)
(Via Bryan Garner’s blog on Modern American Usage)
“What advice do you have for beginning and early-stage writers?
I know the frustration which never goes away. You want so much to sit down and get it right. You have to learn to tolerate that frustration. You have to be patient and just keep writing. You’re only going to learn it by doing it and by reading. You read and you write, and you read and you write. That’s the hard part for beginning writers: having to accept that it may be a very long process. Also you have to be willing to expose yourself – to put your true emotions in your work, or it will be flat. It really won’t be something people want to read or find any comfort in reading because it won’t be conveying to them some aspect of the human condition that they’ve experienced but don’t know they’ve experienced until they read it, and then they’ll say, “Oh, I’ve felt that.”
– novelist and short story writer Elizabeth Strout, in The Writer, Aug 2013
“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.”
— Joseph Campbell, American author and professor