Nothing Much, Part 2

Once again I seem to have nothing much to say, so I’ll share from my journal of collected quotations.  This month’s theme:

Stamina and Faith

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” –Winston Churchill

“Above all I suffered from a naïve view that writing should be easy.  I thought words were supposed to come unbidden. The idea that errors were steppingstones to truth never once occurred to me, because I’d absorbed the echoes of the Times, that errors were nasty little things to be avoided, and misapplied that ethos to the novel I was attempting. When I wrote something wrong I always took it to mean that something was wrong with me, and when something was wrong with me I lost my nerve, my focus, and my will.” — J. R. Moehringer

“The first draft of anything is shit.” –Ernest Hemingway

“Try looking at your mind as a wayward puppy that you are trying to paper train. You don’t drop-kick a puppy into the neighbor’s yard every time it piddles on the floor. You just keep bringing it back to the newspaper.” ―Anne Lamott

“Fall seven times, stand up eight.” –Japanese proverb

Writers, like teeth, are divided into incisors and grinders. –Walter Bagehot 

“I’m a bit of a grinder. Novels are very long, and long novels are very, very long. It’s just a hell of a lot of man-hours. I tend to just go in there, and if it comes, it comes. A morning when I write not a single word doesn’t worry me too much. If I come up against a brick wall, I’ll just go and play snooker or something or sleep on it, and my subconscious will fix it for me. Usually, it’s a journey without maps but a journey with a destination, so I know how it’s going to begin and I know how it’s going to end, but I don’t know how I’m going to get from one to the other. That, really, is the struggle of the novel. –Martin Amis

“To endure is the great verb—not to succeed.”–Brian Doyle

“Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy, then an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant and, in the last state, just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.” –Winston Churchill

“Genius is eternal patience.” –Michelangelo

“I heard a preacher say recently that hope is a revolutionary patience; let me add that so is being a writer. Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” ―Anne Lamott

“Faith is a bird that feels dawn breaking and sings while it is still dark.”  Rabindranath Tagore

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Nothing Much, Part 2

  1. Martine Leavitt

    Oh, man, I am such a sucker for quotes like these – they really inspire me. I particularly like Martin Amis’s quotes because I’m sort of there right now with my book. I wish I knew how to play snooker, but I do know how to sleep. So thanks, Susan!

  2. susanfletcher2012

    What the heck is snooker, anyway? Oh, I looked it up. It’s like pool, but it was invented by housebound British officers during the monsoon season in India. At this very moment, it is the monsoon season in northern Oregon. Very dreary. Perhaps a spot of snooker is in order…

  3. Thanks, Susan! This burst of inspiration goes beautifully with late-night caffeine and the jittery adrenaline rush of deadline. I loved Amis’s “novels are long, and long novels are very, very long.” Jerry Spinelli (I think) shared a wonderful anecdote about a school visit in a talk he gave a number of years ago. He was talking to kids about how hard it can be to start a book and to keep writing, day after day, and one little boy raised his hand and asked, “When you finished the first page, did you say, ‘Only 246 more pages to go?'”

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