Quotables ll

I didn’t think I had posted so many quotes but apparently I’ve posted enough to warrant creating a new Quotables page. Apparently I do collect more quotes than I realize. To see some of the earlier ones, go to the first Quotables.

“The ability to read awoke inside me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive.” – The Autobiography of Malcolm X 


“I spent three days a  week for ten years educating myself in the public library, and it’s better  than college. People should educate themselves—you can get a complete  education for no money. At the end of ten years, I had read every book in the  library and I’d written a thousand stories.” – Ray Bradbury


“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”— Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”


“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” – Audre Lorde


“I think, too, that the novel is a quagmire that a lot of younger writers stumble in to before they’re ready to go there.” – Stephen King on the short story


“No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. She will not want new fashions nor regret the loss of expensive diversions or variety of company if she can be amused with an author in her closet.” — Lady Montagu, providing advice on raising her granddaughter, 1752


“Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read.” — Marilyn Jager Adams


“The beginning is generally the end; (it) sets up the promise of what will unfold later.” – Maaza Mengiste (on writing – at Callaloo)


“What I really want is that intimacy in which the reader is under the impression that he isn’t really reading this; that he is participating in it as he goes along.” – Toni Morrision, The Site of Memory, P. 121 of Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir


“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”
Emilie Buchwald


“The whole culture is telling you to hurry, while the art tells you to take your time. Always listen to the art.” – Junot Diaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.


“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” — Stephen King, from an interview in the London Independent (March 10, 1996)


“When I started writing Disposable People the story came out with such violence that I thought of it as therapy and catharsis rather than art. I knew from the outset that the novel was unorthodox; because of this, and the fact that it was self-published, I worried about whether it would be accepted by a mainstream audience. I am so encouraged by this recognition.” – Jamaican author Ezekel Alan after his book, Disposable People, won the Regional Prize – Caribbean in the Commonwealth Writers Prize annual competition.


“It’s exhausting for every artiste, to feel the world’s projection onto you of what you should be” – Lady Gaga


“I think it’s important to be open for surprise, to surprise yourself every stage of the way and it doesn’t have to happen at the beginning. It may happen when you’re working over material and something jumps out at you. Then you reorganize everything around that insight.” – Robert Hellenga, in Quiddity, 2008


All Writers are midwife of a kind, standing between those who have a capacity to persecute them and the people.” – J.O.J. Nwachukwu-Agbada, in Quiddity, 2008


“People have no problem telling writers exactly how they think the writers have screwed up. I don’t think people realize it’s something you’ve produced.” – Brock Clark, in Quiddity, 2008


I haven’t read Kevin Stein’s poetry but his 2008 interview published in the journal Quiddity makes me want to. Here’s some of what he said:

“Writing a poem is a wonderful thing to do. It’s like making a table or making a chair. And I love that aspect of ‘making.’ When I sit down to write, however, even if I had the wood in front of me, I wouldn’t know if I were going to end up building a table or a chair or an ottoman. But I start putting things together and if I’m lucky, the mind, the imagination, the muse, or whoever that is, helps me make something I didn’t know I was going to make in the beginning. To me that’s the most important element of a poem.

Part of what I like about writing and being a writer is being surprised by where I go. I like being surprised by how others influence me as well as how my own experiences influence and change me.

It was Wallace Stevens who said that poetry is what you turn to when God is dead. I don’t know that I agree with Wallace Stevens in that regard, but I do think that working with language and thinking about one’s life and one’s connection to others is a way of redeeming the self and others and one’s relationship with others.

Many of my poems have autobiographical elements I cook into some other weirder soup. And, like most poets, I’ll lie if I can make a better poem; I’ll lie because poetic truth supersedes factual truth. Imagination is the lie that tells the truth, as Picasso suggests.

To find a way to live one’s life fully is probably the best obligation of a poet.”


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