Saturday, July 04, 2009

Quotation Saturday

Proust speaks of "an illusory magical power in literature".

It is not possible that a piece of sculpture, a piece of music which gives us an emotion which we feel to be more exalted, more pure, more true, does not correspond to some definite spiritual reality. It is surely symbolical of one, since it gives that impression of profundity and truth. Thus nothing resembled more closely than some such phrase of Vinteuil the peculiar pleasure which I had felt at certain moments in my life, when gazing, for instance, at the steeples of Martinville, or at certain trees along a road near Balbec, or, more simply, in the first part of this book, when I tasted a certain cup of tea."

This passage links together two of Proust's main ideas: the idea that art reveals deep truths, truths that daily life doesn't reveal, and the idea that unconscious memory, the memory of a sight, a smell or a taste, can also reveal deep truths.

Like most outstanding writers, Proust had a low opinion of literary critics. Proust said that critics always overrate certain authors and underrate others: "This constant aberration of the critics is such that a writer should almost prefer to be judged by the public at large....For the talent of a great writer--which, after all, is merely an instinct religiously hearkened to (while silence is imposed on everything else) perfected and understood--has more in common with the instinctive life of the people than with the superficial verbiage and fluctuating standards of the conventionally recognised judges."

Write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I'm not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.
~~Neil Gaiman

You can take for granted that people know more or less what a street, a shop, a beach, a sky, an oak tree look like. Tell them what makes this one different.
~~Neil Gaiman

Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.
~~Edgar Allan Poe

A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: 1. What am I trying to say? 2. What words will express it? 3. What image or idiom will make it clearer? 4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect? ~~ George Orwell

You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success - but only if you persist. ~~ Isaac Asimov

If any man wish to write in a clear style, let him be first clear in his thoughts; and if any would write in a noble style, let him first possess a noble soul.
~~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

America's greatest strength, and its greatest weakness, is our belief in second chances, our belief that we can always start over, that things can be made better.
~~Anthony Walton

Yet America is a poem in our eyes; its ample geography dazzles the imagination, and it will not wait long for metres.
~~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The Poet," Essays, Second Series, 1844

When an American says that he loves his country, he means not only that he loves the New England hills, the prairies glistening in the sun, the wide and rising plains, the great mountains, and the sea. He means that he loves an inner air, an inner light in which freedom lives and in which a man can draw the breath of self-respect.
~~Adlai Stevenson

Have a SAFE and GLORIOUS Fourth of July in the Land of the FREE


Warren Baldwin said...

I linked here from Timothy's blog. You have some great quotes here. This one may be my favorite from this list: "You can take for granted that people know more or less what a street, a shop, a beach, a sky, an oak tree look like. Tell them what makes this one different." ~~Neil Gaiman

I like it b/c it makes us focus on "this" object, scene or idea we are working on, and keeps us from losing the significance of it in the larger work.


joni said...

Thanks for stopping by Warren!

I like that quote too. All of the quotes have a tendency to get you thinking. That's why I like sharing them so much.

I'm glad you found me and I hope you come back again. I'm full of unexpected things. :-)