The Saturday Writing Quote

deer heartAlthough some use stories as entertainment alone, tales are, in their oldest sense, a healing art. Some are called to this healing art, and the best, to my lights, are those who have lain with the story and found all its matching parts inside themselves and at depth … In the best tellers, I know, the stories grow out of their lives like roots grow a tree. The stories have grown them, grown them into who they are.
—Clarissa Pinkola Estes, American author and teacher (b. 1945)

(Photo by Leslie: Dear Heart)

The Saturday Writing Quote

IMGP1940Poets are regular people who live down the block and do simple things like wash clothes and stir soup.
—Naomi Shihab Nye, American poet (b. 1952)

If everybody became a poet the world would be much better. We would all read each other.
—Nikki Giovanni, American poet (b. 1943)

(Photo by Leslie: Echinacea, or cone flower)

The Saturday Writing Quote


We rely upon poets, the philosophers, and the playwrights to articulate what most of us can feel, in joy or sorrow. They illuminate the thoughts for which we only grope; they give us the strength and balm we cannot find in ourselves. Whenever I feel my courage wavering, I rush to them. They give me the wisdom of acceptance, the will and resilience to push on.
—Helen Hayes, American actress, 1900-1993

(photo: Arrowleaf balsamroot, by Leslie)

The Saturday Writing Quote — L’Engle on creativity

01_Barn_Pastel_WEB“When we are writing, or painting, or composing, we are, during the time of creativity, freed from normal restrictions, and are opened to a wider world, where colors are brighter, sounds clearer, and people more wondrously complex than we normally realize.”

— Madeleine L’Engle, American novelist and teacher, 1918-2007)

(painting: pastel on sandpaper, by Leslie)

The Saturday Writing Quote — the power of failure

IMGP1940“In three years, I must have failed over a thousand times, but each failure brought me closer to what I needed to write, and for that, I’m grateful.”

– Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief, on what he learned writing and rewriting the opening pages of his novel 150-200 times, searching for the right narrator and POV. Quoted by James Clear in “How creative geniuses come up with good ideas,” reprinted in Montana State of the Arts, Nov-Dec 2014. I also appreciate this observation by Clear:

“If you find 200 ways to reinvent yourself, to get better at your craft, then luck seems to have a way of finding you.”

(photo: Echinacea, or coneflower, in my garden, by Leslie)

The Saturday Writing Quote


“To travel your journey—that journey that is yours alone—you need to prepare mentally for the unexpected. You need inner stability, inner peace. You need some toughness. You will get scared sometimes. The ups and downs are significant when you live your adventure.”

– Roderick MacIver, in Journal Meditations, November 2011

(photo by Leslie)

The Saturday Writing Quote — Trollope on dialogue

IMGP2188“The novel-writer in constructing his dialogue must so steer between absolute accuracy of language — which would give to his conversation an air of pedantry, and the slovenly inaccuracy of ordinary talkers, which if closely followed would offend by an appearance of grimace — as to produce upon the ear of his readers a sense of reality.”

Anthony Trollope, Autobiography (as quoted in The Writer on His Art 187 (Walter Allen ed., 1949)).

The Saturday Writing Quote

“A real writer learns from earlier writers the way a boy learns from an apple orchard — by stealing what he has a taste for and can carry off.”



— Archibald MacLeish, “On the Teaching of Writing,” in Writing in America 88, 90 (John Fischer & Robert B. Silvers eds., 1960). (Quoted by Bryan Garner, author of Garner’s Modern American Usage, in his weekly blog on usage.)