"For me, language is a freedom. As soon as you have found the words with which to express something, you are no longer incoherent, you are no longer trapped by your own emotions, by your own experiences; you can describe them, you can tell them, you can bring them out of yourself and give them to somebody else. That is an enormously liberating experience, and it worries me that more and more people are learning not to use language; they're giving in to the banalities of the television media and shrinking their vocabulary, shrinking their own way of using this fabulous tool that human beings have refined over so many centuries into this extremely sensitive instrument. I don't want to make it crude, I don't want to make it into shopping-list language, I don't want to make it into simply an exchange of information: I want to make it into the subtle, emotional, intellectual, freeing thing that it is and that it can be."
- Jeanette Winterson
"The intellect is a great danger to creativity because you begin to rationalize and make up reasons for things instead of staying with your own basic truth - who you are, what you are, what you wanna be.
The worst thing you do when you think is lie - you can make up reasons that are not true for the things that you did, and what you're trying to do as a creative person is surprise yourself - find out who you really are, and try not to lie, try to tell the truth all the time. And the only way to do this is by being very active and very emotional, and get it out of yourself - making things that you hate and things that you love, you write about these then, intensely. When it's over, then you can think about it; then you can look, it works or it doesn't work, something is missing here. And, if something is missing, then you go back and reemotionalize that part, so it's all of a piece.
But thinking is to be a corrective in our life. It's not supposed to be a center of our life. Living is supposed to be the center of our life, being is supposed to be the center, with correctives around, which hold us like the skin holds our blood and our flesh in. But our skin is not a way of life. The way of living is the blood pumping through our veins, the ability to sense and to feel and to know, and the intellect doesn't help you very much there.
You should get on with the business of living."
- Ray Bradbury
For some of us there is only the shadow we step behind
that turns always into night, a night that leaves no memory.
Its galaxies constantly change shape because of the weight
of dark matter. This too is only a question of belief. For us,
there is no difference between the moon and its reflection.
The earth releases the song of the sky. Clouds slip
between our fingers. A rag of dust sweeps across the street
and someone will always follow it. Our steps have no roots.
There is always this horizon that sleeps in our words.
There is always another direction, another symbol to read.
Dust, cloud, darkness, so many ways to lose our way.
There is always the irrefutable abyss we fill with love.
- Richard Jackson
the journey of words
"Because it is occasionally possible, just for brief moments, to find the words that will unlock the doors of all those many mansions inside the head and express something - perhaps not much, just something - of the crush of information that presses in on us, from the way a crow flies over and the way a man walks and the look of a street and from what we did one day a dozen years ago. Words that will express something of the deep complexity that makes us precisely the way we are, from the momentary effect of the barometer to the force that created men distinct from trees. Something of the inaudible music that moves us along in our bodies from moment to moment like water in a river. Something of the spirit of the snowflake in the water of the river. Something of the duplicity and the relativity and the merely fleeting quality of all this. Something of the almighty importance of it and something of the utter meaninglessness. And when words can manage something of this, and manage it in a moment of time, and in that same moment, make out of it all the vital signature of a human being - not of an atom, or of a geometrical diagram, or of a heap of lenses - but a human being, we call it poetry."
- Ted Hughes
"I have decided to find myself a home in the mountains, somewhere high up where one learns to live peacefully in the cold and the silence. It's said that in such a place certain revelations may be discovered. That what the spirit reaches for may be eventually felt, if not exactly understood. Slowly, no doubt. I'm not talking about a vacation.
Of course at the same time I mean to stay exactly where I am.
Are you following me?"
- Mary Oliver
A Thousand Mornings
"Just imagine living in a world without mirrors. You'd dream about your face and imagine it as an outer reflection of what is inside you. And then, when you reached forty, someone put a mirror before you for the first time in your life. Imagine your fright! You'd see the face of a stranger. And you'd know quite clearly what you are unable to grasp: your face is not you."
- Milan Kundera
"You can't see yourself. You know what you look like because of mirrors and photographs, but out there in the world, as you move among your fellow human beings, whether strangers or friends or the most intimate beloveds, your own face is invisible to you. You can see other parts of yourself, arms and legs, hands and feet, shoulders and torso, but only from the front, nothing of the back except the backs of your legs if you twist them into the right position, but not your face, never your face, and in the end - at least as far as others are concerned - your face is who you are, the essential fact of your identity. Passports do not contain pictures of hands and feet. Even you, who have lived inside your body for sixty-four years now, would probably be unable to recognize your foot in an isolated photograph of that foot, not to speak of your ear, or your elbow, or one of your eyes in close-up. All so familiar to you in the context of the whole, but utterly anonymous when taken piece by piece. We are all aliens to ourselves, and if we have any sense of who we are, it is only because we live inside the eyes of others."
- Paul Auster
"For us there are always shackles, cages, constrictions. We are not pure beings, not whole selves; not animals, not gods. For all the purity of our aspirations, we live, as Kafka did, in the middle of things, in a room between other rooms, a self among other selves, in what literary types call a "liminal space." Trapped between two realms, the earthly and the heavenly, we're unable to fully inhabit, or escape, either one, but can only gesture longingly in both directions, flailing our useless limbs, like an upended beetle trying to get out of bed."
- Robert Cohen
"It isn't easy. Nobody has ever done it consistently. Those who try hardest, scare it off into the woods. Those who turn their backs and saunter along, whistling softly between their teeth, hear it treading quietly behind them, lured by a carefully acquired disdain.
We are of course speaking of The Muse.
The Feeding of the Muse seems to me to be the continual running after loves, the checking of these loves against one's present and future needs, the moving on from simple textures to more complex ones, from naive ones to more informed ones, from nonintellectual to intellectual ones. Nothing is ever lost. If you have moved over vast territories and dared to love silly things, you will have learned even from the most primitive items collected and put aside in your life. From an ever-roaming curiosity in all the arts, from bad radio to good theatre, from nursery rhyme to symphony, from jungle compound to Kafka's Castle, there is basic excellence to be winnowed out, truths found, kept, savored, and used on some later day. To be a child of one's time is to do all these things."
- Ray Bradbury