Remember above all things, Kid, that to write is not difficult, not painful, that it comes out of you with ease, that you can whip up a little tale in no time, that when you are sincere about it, that when you want to impress a truth, it is not difficult, not painful, but easy, graceful, full of smooth power, as if you were a writing machine with a store of literature that is boundless, enormous, endless, and rich. For it is true; this is so. Do not forget it in your gloomier moments. Make your stuff warm, drive it home American-wise, don't mind critics, don't mind the stuffy academic theses of scholars, they don't know what they're taking about, they're way of the track, they're cold; you're warm, you're red hot, you can write all day, you know what you know, like Halper; you remember that, Kid, and when you feel as if you cannot write, as if it is no use, as if life is no good, read this over and realize that you can do a lot of good in this world by turning out truths like these, by spreading warmth, by trying to preach living for life's sake, not the intellectual way, but the warm way, the way of love, the way which says: Brothers, I greet you with open arms, I accept your frailties, I offer you my frailties, let us gather and run the gamut of rich human existence. Remember, Kid, the ease, the grace, the glory, the greatness of your art; remember it, never forget. Remember passion. Do not forget, do not forsake, do not forget. It is there, the order and the purpose; there is chaos, but not in you, not way down deep in your heart, no chaos, only ease, grace, beauty, love, greatness.....Kid, you can whip up a little tale, a little truth, you can mop up the floor with a little tale in no time; it is a cinch, you are the flow of smooth thrumming power, you are a writer, and you can turn out some mean stuff, and you will turn out tons of it, because it is you, and do not forget it, Kid, do not forget it; please, please Kid, do not forget yourself; save that, save that, preserve yourself; turn out those mean little old tales by the dozens, it is easy, it is grace, do it American-wise, drive it home, sell truth, for it needs to be sold. Remember, Kid, what I say to you tonight; never forget it, read this over in your gloomier moments and never, never forget...never, never, never forget.
I'm fairly confident my compulsion for stockpiling has kept me at a distance from possessing answers to my own questions. I suspend them—the questions, that is—in my writing.
– Durga-Chew Bose, Too Much and Not the Mood
I comfort myself sometimes with this quote from Manuel Álvarez Bravo, which might not be totally accurate—I can't find the full version online anywhere—because I copied it down by hand from a museum display case: "Technical qualities are not manufacturers’ formulas, but individual resolutions of the problems of expression. Furthermore, limitations of the medium and personal limitations can constitute expressive forces."
Making poems was a way of loving things, I had always thought, of preserving them, of living moments twice; or more than that, it was a way of living more fully, of bestowing on experience a richer meaning. But that wasn't what it felt like when I looked back at the boy, wanting a last glimpse of him; it felt like a loss. Whatever I could make of him would diminish him, and I wondered whether I wasn't really turning my back on things in making them into poems, whether instead of preserving the world I was taking refuge from it.
– Garth Greenwell, What Belongs to You
Dig into your sensation. Look at what there is within. Don't analyze it with words. Translate it into sister images, into equivalent sounds. The clearer it is, the more your style affirms itself. (Style: whatever is not technique).
| Robert Bresson