“Words are a lens to focus one’s mind” - Ayn Rand
Words, being pre-eminent, have the potential to engross you for hours; beyond that, they have the power to mould your personality. Yet, they are ethereal when they come from the accomplished masters of the art form.
Khaled Hosseini said during one of his interviews, “there’s always something to be learned by reading another writer”. That is exactly what this second issue is about, some words of wisdom from authors well-renowned.
Why I Write, the essay of George Orwell. First published: summer 1946. A fascinating look at Orwell’s early life and what made him the writer that he eventually became.
It is his [a writer’s] job, no doubt, to discipline his temperament and avoid getting stuck at some immature stage, in some perverse mood; but if he escapes from his early influences altogether, he will have killed his impulse to write. Putting aside the need to earn a living, I think there are four great motives for writing, at any rate for writing prose.
All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. And yet it is also true that one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one’s own personality. Good prose is like a windowpane
Dustin Illingworth Eavesdrops on Flannery O'Connor, Susan Sontag, and More. “Few literary artifacts remain as consistently enigmatic as the author’s journal. It seems to me that the more we read of them, the more elusive their provenance”
Over the past few months, I have lived within the journals of heroes and strangers, compared daily word counts with Virginia Woolf, trembled before Alma Mahler’s social calendar, pitied Kafka’s lovers. I’ve read pages and pages with interest and empathy, with boredom and more than a little shame. But having traversed that stack of lives, what remains more than anything, tingling like a phantom limb, is a sensation of stillness: the journal as the eye of the writing life’s storm.
“In the journal,” Susan Sontag wrote, “I do not just express myself more openly than I could to any person; I create myself.”
Jhumpa Lahiri recounts her relationship with her sentences. A fine way to look at how a story or a novel, what she refers to as forest, is conceived - “one in front of the other”.
Constructing a sentence is the equivalent of taking a Polaroid snapshot: pressing the button, and watching something emerge. To write one is to document and to develop at the same time. Sentences are the bricks as well as the mortar, the motor as well as the fuel. They are the cells, the individual stitches. Their nature is at once solitary and social.
Even printed, on pages that are bound, sentences remain unsettled organisms. Years later, I can always reach out to smooth a stray hair. And yet, at a certain point, I must walk away, trusting them to do their work. I am left looking over my shoulder, wondering if I might have structured one more effectively.
Featured Writer - Cheri Baker
Cheri is an author with a brilliant mind. She has published some fine cosy mysteries that would be very valuable in these moments of isolation and social distancing. Besides, she is an astute reader of events going on around and shares her thoughts openly and regularly. Here’s an excerpt from a recent entry on her blog about her forced time in quarantine.
In a way, this moment feels like the morning after a storm. You go outside and check for damage, counting broken windows and dangling power lines, wondering how much it’s going to cost to put everything back together again. Only the thing that’s broken isn’t a house or a neighborhood, it’s the entire economy. And without a vaccine ready there are likely to be more storms rolling in. Still, even knowing that, I’m relieved to discover tiny moments of reprieve. Like a brief chat with a barista while they pull a shot of espresso, or twenty minutes sitting in the grass in a park.
Do purchase and read her books. And do follow her words.
Featured Tool - Freedom
You need a good word processor to begin writing; one powerful editor was featured in the last issue. But once you are staring at the blinking cursor inside that editor, it is staying focused, distraction-free that is absolutely necessary. Freedom helps you with exactly that. It blocks all the distractions for you to lend you a productive session of doing what you want to do. It can block apps, websites and even complete Internet access on your machine. It can sync sessions across all your devices, so you don’t go running to your smartphone when your laptop is locked down.
Freedom has saved me many hours from getting wasted. I am sure it can for every writer out there. Take it for a spin for the free trial run of 7 days.
One Final Inspiration…
Have any recommendations or feedback for me? I’d love to hear from you. Just hit reply, or you can even email me.
Thank you for reading and sharing.