The Saturday Writing Quote — on determination

“I’ve shoved a writing table by the biggest window in my sitting room. The only flaw in this arrangement is the constant temptation to go outside and walk over to the cliff’s edge … Writers ought to live far inland or next to the city dump, if they are ever to get any work done. Or perhaps they need to be stronger-minded than I am.”

– Juliet, writing to her editor, Sidney, in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Burrows (2008)

The Saturday Writing Quote — on storytelling

“People … are all storytellers. We just do it in different ways. And what each one of us is doing is wrestling with the idea of what it means to be alive, and what it means to be human. And when you do this, you not only discover what it means to be human, but what it means to be humane. That is a profound idea and worth doing.”

— Thomas Christopher Greene, quoted in Mystery Scene, No. 158, 2019

Photo: The Bovine Bibiliophile, at The Bookstore, Dillon, Montana

Saturday Writing Quote — on creative confidence

Last month, I happened to be in Missoula the evening that Irish crime writer John Connolly was speaking at Shakespeare & Co., a local independent bookstore. Connolly made a comment about what he called “creative confidence.” I didn’t entirely agree with his comment, but I liked the term. And when I came across this poem from WS Merwin, it struck me as referring to exactly that mysterious, undefinable thing.

I asked how can you ever be sure
that what you write is really
any good at all and he said you can’t

you can’t you can never be sure
you die without knowing
whether anything you wrote was any good
if you have to be sure don’t write

—W.S. Merwin, in “Berryman,” (about a conversation between Merwin (1927-2019) and John Berryman (1914-1972))

The Saturday Writing Quote

“Writing is such a necessary way for me to work through what’s on my mind, what I am feeling, what I am thinking, but because I find such solace in writing, this very thing also compels me to push myself, to look beyond myself, to make sure that what I’m writing is not just for me, but also for readers, whomever they might be. I also work not to diminish the act of writing in what I have written and what I read from other writers. Our words matter.”

– Roxane Gay, in The Writer, Oct 2014