Monday, June 10, 2013

Quotes from writers

Here's a quote from John Vaillant, non-fiction writer and the judge for this year's Constance Rooke Creative Non-fiction prize:

I wanted to ask you one last question I ask just about every writer I meet. Sometimes when I write it’s painful. Progress is agonizingly slow and doubt about my abilities (not to mention my sanity) creeps in with every word. Has writing ever been like this for you and, if so, have you found a way to transcend, or at least manage, these kinds of feelings?
Mostly, what I feel is fear, which is a terrific motivator. But when I get past that, I find myself in a place of exalted stillness where all the negative comparisons and nattering voices that say you shouldn’t, you can’t, you suck, are silenced. In that sense, writing is my querencia. I cannot explain the source of this confidence because I felt it even as an unpublished and rejected writer, but I think it is founded in joy. With very few exceptions, writing is simply my favourite thing to do.
I love the concept of "exalted stillness." Here's what Wikipedia says about the word he uses:
In Spanish, querencia describes a place where one feels safe, a place from which one's strength of character is drawn, a place where one feels at home. John Jeremiah Sullivan defines querencia as "an untranslatable Spanish word that means something like 'the place where you are your most authentic self.'"[3] It comes from the verb querer, which means to desire, to want.
And here's what the hilarious Lewis Black has to say about playwriting: 
I describe playwriting like this: If you had a 1,000 piece puzzle of a blue sky, what you get done first is the edge, which takes about six months. Then you spend the rest of the time trying to put the inside pieces together. Eventually you borrow a hammer and start smashing until the pieces fit.
It's frustration, on all levels. It's difficult. It's endless. And you get paid in cans of vegetables.

I think not just playwriting, Lewis - all kinds of writing. Well, nothing wrong with a few cans of vegetables. 

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