“And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about.”
― John Steinbeck, East of Eden
A writer out of loneliness is trying to communicate like a distant star sending signals. He isn’t telling or teaching or ordering. Rather he seeks to establish a relationship of meaning, of feeling, of observing. We are lonesome animals. We spend all life trying to be less lonesome. One of our ancient methods is to tell a story begging the listener to say—and to feel— “Yes, that’s the way it is, or at least that’s the way I feel it. You’re not as alone as you thought.” Of course a writer rearranges life, shortens time intervals, sharpens events, and devises beginnings, middles and ends. We do have curtains—in a day, morning, noon and night, in a man, birth, growth and death.These are curtain rise and curtain fall, but the story goes on and nothing finishes.To finish is sadness to a writer—a little death. He puts the last word down and it is done. But it isn’t really done. The story goes on and leaves the writer behind, for no story is ever done.– John Steinbeck
The storyteller makes no choice
soon you will not hear his voice
his job is to shed light
and not to master
Since the end is never told
we pay the teller off in gold
in hopes he will come back
but he cannot be bought or sold
– The Grateful Dead, Terrapin Station
Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it.
Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain.
Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter, and lead
pencil markings endure longer than memory.
– Jack London, March 1903
Here’s a stray thought from my notebook:
Whatever has the power to save us will also break our hearts.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.I have wasted my life.~ James Wright
“The world is a hellish place, and bad writing is destroying the quality of our suffering.”
– Tom Waits
“A word after a word after a word is power.”
“Open your eyes now. I will. One moment. Has all vanished since? If I open and am for ever in the black adiaphane. Basta! I will see if I can see.
See now. There all the time without you: and ever shall be, world without end.”
― James Joyce,