To be read. To be heard. To be seen. I want to be read, I want to be heard. I don’t need to be seen. To write requires an ego, a belief that what you say matters. Writing also requires an aching curiosity leading you to discover, uncover, what is gnawing at your bones. Words have a weight to them. How you choose to present them and to whom is a matter of style and choice.
I write to find strength.I write to become the person that hides inside me.I write to light the way through the darkness for others.I write to be seen and heard.I write to be near those I love.I write by accident, promptings, purposefully and anywhere there is paper. I write because my heart speaks a different language that someone needs to hear.I write past the embarrassment of exposure.I write because hypocrisy doesn’t need answers, rather it needs questions to heal. I write myself out of nightmares.I write because I am nostalgic, romantic and demand happy endings.I write to remember.I write knowing conversations don’t always take place.I write because speaking can’t be reread.I write to sooth a mind that races.I write because you can play on the page like a child left alone in the sand.I write because my emotions belong to the moon; high tide, low tide.I write knowing I will fall on my words, but no one will say it was for very long.I write because I want to paint the world the way I see love should be.I write to provide a legacy.I write to make sense out of senselessness.I write knowing I will be killed by my own words, stabbed by critics, crucified by both misunderstanding and understanding. I write for the haters, the lovers, the lonely, the brokenhearted and the dreamers.I write because one day someone will tell me that my emotions were not a waste of time. I write because God loves stories.I write because one day I will be gone, but what I believed and felt will live on.
I went on writing reviews for the newspaper, and critical articles crying out for a different approach to culture, as even the most inattentive reader could hardly fail to notice if he scratched the surface a little, critical articles crying out, indeed begging, for a return to the Greek and Latin greats, to the Troubadours, to the dolce stil nuovo and the classics of Spain, France and England, more culture! more culture! read Whitman and Pound and Eliot, read Neruda and Borges and Vallejo, read Victor Hugo, for God’s sake, and Tolstoy, and proudly I cried myself hoarse in the desert, but my vociferations and on occasions my howling could only be heard by those who were able to scratch the surface of my writings with the nails of their index fingers, and they were not many, but enough for me, and life went on and on and on, like a necklace of rice grains, on each grain of which a landscape had been painted, tiny grains and microscopic landscapes, and I knew that everyone was putting that necklace on and wearing it, but no one had the patience or the strength or the courage to take it off and look at it closely and decipher each landscape grain by grain, partly because to do so required the vision of a lynx or an eagle, and partly because the landscapes usually turned out to contain unpleasant surprises like coffins, makeshift cemeteries, ghost towns, the void and the horror, the smallness of being and its ridiculous will, people watching television, people going to football matches, boredom navigating the Chilean imagination like an enormous aircraft carrier. And that’s the truth. We were bored. We intellectuals. Because you can't read all day and all night. You can't write all day and all night. Splendid isolation has never been our style...
Zafar argues that the greatest influence on a writer may be on her psychic dispositions as a writer. Reading Philip Roth, writes Zafar, might clear the way of inhibitions that held you back from writing about reckless desire, the temptations of power, and the immanence of rage, or reading Naipaul might convince you to seize the ego that so wants to be loved, drag it outside, put it up against a wall, and shoot it.
I don't want the words to be naked the way they are in faxes or in the computer. I want them to be covered by an envelope that you have to rip open in order to get at. I want there to be a waiting time -a pause between the writing and the reading. I want us to be careful about what we say to each other. I want the miles between us to be real and long. This will be our law -that we write our dailiness and our suffering very, very carefully.
I read daily, not so much for the benefit of my writing, but because I am addicted to it. There is nothing in the world for me that compares to being lost in a really good novel. That said, reading is an absolute must if you want to write. It is a trite enough thing to say, but very true nonetheless. I cannot understand aspiring writers who email me for advice and freely admit that they read very little. I have learned something from every writer I have ever read. Sometimes I have done so consciously, picking up something about how to frame a scene, or seeing a new possibility with regards to structure, or interesting ways to write dialogue. Other times, I think, my collective reading experience affects my sensibilities and informs me in ways that I am not quite aware of, but in real ways that impact how I approach writing. The short of it is, as an aspiring writer, there is nothing as damaging to your credibility as saying that you don’t like to read
Dear Sawyer and Quin, If you ever read this and I'm gone I want you to know something that has been weighing on me. I watch you two play and it can be so sad sometimes. You two have been best friends since Sawyer's birth. Always inseparable. It's been adorable , but comes with its challenges. I'm worried when I watch you boys. Quinton, you are always driven by your ego. You're strong and talented, but much too determined to beat down everyone in your efforts to be the best. You push yourself to win a competition, then shove it in someone's face. I’ve rarely seen you compliment others, but you always give yourself a pat on the back. You don't play anything for the love of it, you play to win and normally do. I've seen you tear down your brother so many times just to feel good about yourself. You don't have to do that, dear. You don't have to spend your life trying to prove that you're amazing. One day you'll fail and be alone because you've climbed to the top of a pyramid with only enough room for yourself. Don't let it get to that point and if you do, learn humility from your brother. He could do without so much of it. Sawyer, just because you're most often the underdog and the peaceful introspective kid, don't think I'm letting you off the hook. Your humility has become your worst enemy. It's so intense that I wonder if it will be your vice one day, instead of your greatest virtue. It's one thing to believe you are below all men, even when you're not, but it's another thing to be crippled by fear and to no longer try. Sometimes , dear, I think you fear being good at something because you've tasted the bitterness of being the one who comes in last and you don't want to make others feel that way. That's sweet of you and I smile inside when I see you pretending to lose when you race your younger cousins , but if you always let people beat you they may never learn to work hard for something they want. It's okay to win, just win for the right reasons and always encourage those who lose. Oh, and Sawyer, I hope one day you read this. One day when it matters. If so, remember that the bottom of a mountain can be just as lonely as the top. I hope the two of you can learn to climb together one day. As I'm writing this you are trying to climb the big pine tree out back. Quin is at the top, rejoicing in his victory and taunting Sawyer. And Sawyer is at the bottom, afraid to get hurt and afraid to be sad about it. I'm going to go talk to you two separately now. I hope my words mean something. Love you boys, Mom
I don't want to be a widow, I don't want Michael Bayning, and I don't want you to joke about such things, you tactless clodpole!" As all three of them stared at her openmouthed, Poppy leapt up and stalked away , her hands drawn into fists. Bewildered by the immediate force of her fury- it was like being stung by a butterfly- Harry stared after her dumbly. After a moment, he asked the first coherent thought that came to him. "Did she just say she doesn't want Bayning?" "Yes," Win said, a smile hovering on her lips. "That's what she said. Go after her, Harry." Every cell in Harry's body longed to comply. Except that he had the feeling of standing on the edge of a cliff, with one ll-chosen word likely to send him over. He gave Poppy's sister a desperate glance. "What should I say?" "Be honest with her about your feelings," Win suggested. A frown settled on Harry's face as he considered that. "What's my second option?" "I'll handle this," Merripen told Win before she could reply. Standing, he slung a great arm across Harry's shoulders and walked him to the side of the terrace. Poppy's furious form could be seen in the distance. She was walking down the drive to the caretakers house, her skirts and shoes kicking up tiny dust storms. Merripen spoke in a low, not unsympathetic tone. As if compelled to guide a hapless fellow male away from danger. "Take my advice, gadjo… never argue with a woman when she's in this state. Tell her you were wrong and you're sorry as hell. And promise never to do it again." "I'm still not exactly certain what I did," Harry said. "That doesn't matter. Apologize anyway." Merripen paused and added in a whisper, "And whenever your wife is angry… for God's sake, don't try logic." "I heard that," Win said from the chaise.-Poppy, Harry, Win, & Merripen
I have advice for people who want to write. I don't care whether they're 5 or 500. There are three things that are important: First, if you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you. Where you just put down what you think about life, what you think about things, what you think is fair and what you think is unfair. And second, you need to read. You can't be a writer if you're not a reader. It's the great writers who teach us how to write. The third thing is to write. Just write a little bit every day. Even if it's for only half an hour — write, write, write.
I want to be able to do anything with words: handle slashing, flaming descriptions like Wells, and use the paradox with the clarity of Samuel Butler, the breadth of Bernard Shaw and the wit of Oscar Wilde, I want to do the wide sultry heavens of Conrad, the rolled-gold sundowns and crazy-quilt skies of Hitchens and Kipling as well as the pastel dawns and twilights of Chesterton. All that is by way of example. As a matter of fact I am a professed literary thief, hot after the best methods of every writer in my generation.
Well, I definitely advise anyone who wants to write, write. Don’t let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. Because a lot of people can be very discouraging to people who say they want to be a professional writer. If you want to do it, then chase it. Chase your dreams. Follow your heart. If that’s what you want, go after it. Write it out. You never know, you could be the next big thing.
I had heard the plan of salvation by the sacrifice of Jesus from my youth up; but I did not know any more about it in my innermost soul than if I had been born and bred a Hottentot. The light was there, but I was blind; it was of necessity that the Lord himself should make the matter plain to me. It came to me as a new revelation, as fresh as if I had never read in Scripture that Jesus was declared to be the propitiation for sins that God might be just. I believe it will have to come as a revelation to every newborn child of God whenever he sees it; I mean that glorious doctrine of the substitution of the Lord Jesus. I came to understand that salvation was possible through vicarious sacrifice; and that provision had been made in the first constitution and arrangement of things for such a substitution. I was made to see that He who is the Son of God, co-equal, and co- eternal with the Father, had of old been made the covenant Head of a chosen people that He might in that capacity suffer for them and save them. Inasmuch as our fall was not at the first a personal one, for we fell in our federal representative, the first Adam, it became possible for us to be recovered by a second representative, even by Him who has undertaken to be the covenant head of His people, so as to be their second Adam. I saw that ere I actually sinned I had fallen by my first father's sin; and I rejoiced that therefore it became possible in point of law for me to rise by a second head and representative. The fall by Adam left a loophole of escape; another Adam can undo the ruin made by the first. When I was anxious about the possibility of a just God pardoning me, I understood and saw by faith that He who is the Son of God became man, and in His own blessed person bore my sin in His own body on the tree. I saw the chastisement of my peace was laid on Him, and that with His stripes I was healed. Dear friend, have you ever seen that? Have you ever understood how God can be just to the full, not remitting penalty nor blunting the edge of the sword, and yet can be infinitely merciful, and can justify the ungodly who turn to Him? It was because the Son of God, supremely glorious in His matchless person, undertook to vindicate the law by bearing the sentence due to me, that therefore God is able to pass by my sin. The law of God was more vindicated by the death of Christ than it would have been had all transgressors been sent to Hell. For the Son of God to suffer for sin was a more glorious establishment of the government of God, than for the whole race to suffer.
Once I was asked be a seatmate on a trans-Pacific flight....what instruction he should give his fifteen-year-old daughters, who wanted to be a writer. [I said], "Tell your daughter three things." Tell her to read...Tell her to read whatever interests her, and protect her if someone declares what she's reading to be trash. No one can fathom what happens between a human being and written language. She may be paying attention to things in the words beyond anyone else's comprehension, things that feed her curiosity, her singular heart and mind. ...Second, I said, tell your daughter that she can learn a great deal about writing by reading and by studying books about grammar and the organization of ideas, but that if she wishes to write well she will have to become someone. She will have to discover her beliefs, and then speak to us from within those beliefs. If her prose doesn't come out of her belief, whatever that proves to be, she will only be passing along information, of which we are in no great need. So help her discover what she means. Finally, I said, tell your daughter to get out of town, and help her do that. I don't necessarily mean to travel to Kazakhstan, or wherever, but to learn another language, to live with people other than her own, to separate herself from the familiar. Then, when she returns, she will be better able to understand why she loves the familiar, and will give us a fresh sense of how fortunate we are to share these things. Read. Find out what you truly believe. Get away from the familiar. Every writer, I told him, will offer you thoughts about writing that are different, but these are three I trust. -- from "A Voice
I want to write something that means something to someone...the reminds them of what a second, a moment, really is...or that assures them that we are just as lost as they are. I want to write an emotion they are too fragile to let loose, so that my words can do the expression for them, the feeling for them. I want to write beyond the basics and the cliches...I want to write you, I want to write a long walk on a starry night, I want to write an exhale or an inhale...or suffocation.I want to write as clear as my voice could be heard...that is, if I had anything to say.
I think the reason why I don't read so much, is because as I have observed, whole books all boil down to a drop of essence. You can read a book full of ten thousand words and at the end, sum it up in one sentence; I am more for the one sentence. I am more for the essence. It's like how you need a truckload of roses to extract one drop of rose oil; I don't want to bother with the truckload of roses because I would rather walk away with the drop of rose oil. So in my mind, I have written two hundred books. Why? Because I have with me two hundred vials with one drop of essence in each!
I read and write for character. If I like and can relate to the characters in a story I can enjoy any kind of story. I also want something with a definitive plot—you know, beginning, middle and end--that has forward motion. I don’t like series books that leave you hanging after you’ve finished a book and in my own fiction I try to make sure that there’s always an entry point for those who are new to the book as well as long-time readers.