When Great Trees Fall
When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.
When great trees fall
small things recoil into silence,
eroded beyond fear.
When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
gnaws on kind words
Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
dependent upon their
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.
Grady, you know how in class you're always telling us that writers make choices?
And even though you're book is really beautiful, I mean, amazingly beautiful, it's... it's at times... it's... very detailed. You know, with the genealogies of everyone's horses, and the dental records, and so on. And... I could be wrong, but it sort of reads in places like you didn't make any choices. At all. And I was just wondering if it might not be different if... if when you wrote you weren't always... under the influence.
Well... thank you for the thought, but shocking as it may sound, I am not the first writer to sip a little weed. Furthermore, it might surprise you to know that one book I wrote, as you say, "under the influence," just happened to win a little something called the Pen Award. Which, by the way, I accepted under the influence.
He possessed the logic of all good intentions and a knowledge of all the tricks of his trade, and yet he never succeeded at anything, because he believed too much in the impossible. Surprising? Why so? He was forever in the act of conceiving it!
The earth makes a sound as of sighs and the last drops fall from the emptied cloudless sky. A small boy, stretching out his hands and looking up at the blue sky, asked his mother how such a thing was possible. Fuck off, she said.
I've had speechwriters write for me all of my career and advisors telling me what positions to take. I can't even remember why I wanted to get into politics to begin with. I think it's because my mom wanted me to, to show my dad any idiot could do it.
great writers are indecent people
they live unfairly
saving the best part for paper.
good human beings save the world
so that bastards like me can keep creating art,
if you read this after I am dead
it means I made it.
Even if it were possible to cast my horoscope in this one life, and to make an accurate prediction about my future, it would not be possible to 'show' it to me because as soon as I saw it my future would change by definition. This is why Werner Heisenberg's adaptation of the Hays Office
As a young child I wanted to be a writer because writers were rich and famous. They lounged around Singapore and Rangoon smoking opium in a yellow pongee silk suit. They sniffed cocaine in Mayfair and they penetrated forbidden swamps with a faithful native boy and lived in the native quarter of Tangier smoking hashish and languidly caressing a pet gazelle.
Harold, the poor Duke is being treated appallingly. These silly writers let their imaginations run away with them. [to the Duke]
Now why don't you and I have a little supper. And then afterwards, we can let Monsieur Zidler know how we would prefer the story to end.
Relate comic things in pompous fashion. Irregularity, in other words the unexpected, the surprising, the astonishing, are essential to and characteristic of beauty. Two fundamental literary qualities: supernaturalism and irony. The blend of the grotesque and the tragic are attractive to the mind, as is discord to blas
If art is not to be life-enhancing, what is it to be? Half the world is feminine--why is there resentment at a female-oriented art? Nobody asks The Tale of Genji to be masculine! Women certainly learn a lot from books oriented toward a masculine world. Why is not the reverse also true? Or are men really so afraid of women's creativity (because they are not themselves at the center of creation, cannot bear children) that a woman writer of genius evokes murderous rage, must be brushed aside with a sneer as 'irrelevant'?
I will always know the glory of the beautiful and rare, as they will know security from labour and prayer. As they will hear the laughter of the children they gave life, I will know the torments of the song born under knife.
We aren't suggesting that mental instability or unhappiness makes one a better poet, or a poet at all; and contrary to the romantic notion of the artist suffering for his or her work, we think these writers achieved brilliance in spite of their suffering, not because of it.
[gives him a journal] Here you go.
Peter Llewelyn Davies:
All great writers begin with a good leather binding and a respectable title. Open it.
Peter Llewelyn Davies:
[reads] "The Boy Castaways: Being a record of the terrible adventures of the brothers Davies, faithfully set forth by Peter Llewelyn Davies."
Kipling would swallow his own ear for a title like that!
Peter Llewelyn Davies:
I still have no idea what to write.
Write about anything. Write about your family, write about the talking whale!
Peter Llewelyn Davies:
The one that's trapped in your imagination and desperate to get out.
Though the immediate impression of rebellion may obscure the fact, the task of authentic literature is nevertheless only conceivable in terms of a desire for fundamental communication with the reader.
Who is better off? The one who writes to revel in the voluptuousness of the life that surrounds them? Or the one who writes to escape the tediousness of that which awaits them outside? Whose flame will last longer?
Most writers I know run that idiotic number about "Oh, I like to have written but I don't like to write. It's hard work."... Of course it's hard work. If it weren't hard work, everybody would be doing it. And the better you do it, the harder the work is... Art is supposed to be hard.
It was only after two years' work that it occurred to me that I was a writer. I had no particular expectation that the novel would ever be published, because it was sort of a mess. It was only when I found myself writing things I didn't realise I knew that I said, 'I'm a writer now.' The novel had become an incentive to deeper thinking. That's really what writing is
A scene should be selected by the writer for haunted-ness-of-mind interest.
If you're not haunted by something, as by a dream, a vision, or a memory, which are involuntary, you're not interested or even involved.
THE MANY FACES OF SURVIVAL
Sunday, August 10th at 2:00 PST
Dachau Liberator, medical whistle-blower, award winning writer, college professor and world renowned garlic farmer, Chester Aaron, talks about the hard choices he
You are lucky to be one of those people who wishes to build sand castles with words, who is willing to create a place where your imagination can wander. We build this place with the sand of memories; these castles are our memories and inventiveness made tangible. So part of us believes that when the tide starts coming in, we won't really have lost anything, because actually only a symbol of it was there in the sand. Another part of us thinks we'll figure out a way to divert the ocean. This is what separates artists from ordinary people: the belief, deep in our hearts, that if we build our castles well enough, somehow the ocean won't wash them away. I think this is a wonderful kind of person to be.
Like most novelists, I like to do exactly the opposite of what I'm told. It's in my nature as a novelist. Novelists can't trust anything they haven't seen with their own eyes or touched with their own hands. (Jerusalem Prize acceptance speech, JERUSALEM POST, Feb. 15, 2009)
Every article and review and book that I have ever published has constituted an appeal to the person or persons to whom I should have talked before I dared to write it. I never launch any little essay without the hope