From The Poetry of Lu Chi…
Sometimes the words come freely;
sometimes we sit in silence,
gnawing on a brush.
(From Choosing Words p. 12)
Not-knowing is like grabbing
the tail to direct the head
of a dragon.
(From On Harmony p. 17)
From Bradbury Speaks, by Ray Bradbury
Those who do not live in the future will be trapped and die in the past. (p. 107)
“Because.” Which is the best reason for writers to go a-journeying. (p. 120)
From The Noodle Maker by Ma Jian
“We’re finished,” she told the professional writer when she visited his room one night, half drunk. “This generation knows nothing about suffering, or isolation. Their hearts are numb.”
“And what good does isolation bring?” the writer asked.
“They just don’t take life seriously.”
“Neither did I at their age.”
“Writing demands complete sacrifice. You must pour your soul into the work. Every word has to be paid for in sweat and blood.”
“But if you cut yourself off from today’s world, how can you hope to write about it?” the writer said.
“Writers are the products of their times. A shallow world produces shallow writers. I can’t help missing those years we spent in the re-education camps.”
“The world has moved on,” the writer said. “You’ve been left behind. Those young women understand today’s society better than you. Perhaps a purer form of literature will emerge from their numb minds. They have no prejudice, no interest in politics. Their problems are pretty personal. But your time is already over.” (p. 88-)
From The Courage To Write: How Writers Transcend Fear by Ralph Keyes
“Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow that talent to the dark place where it leads.” –Erica Jong. (p. 64)
“You go to the dark places so that you can get there, steal the trophy and get out,” said [Frederick] Busch. “That is more important that to be psychologically safe.” (p. 67)
Lawrence Block spent a long apprenticeship producing hack fiction. Too long. After he wrote a mainstream novel in the early 1960s, a Random House editor suggested some changes. This made Block angry. He withdrew the manuscript and went back to writing pot boilers. It took Block years to realize the real reason he hadn’t responded to this editor’s suggestions was fear that he couldn’t pull the project off. As he finally concluded, his anger at her “was simply a smokescreen I had thrown up to conceal my fear from myself.” I would be another fourteen years before Lawrence Block started writing the Matt Scudder mysteries that won him critical acclaim and devoted readers. “Fear is the mind killer,” he concluded, “an unacknowledged fear is the worst kind.” (p. 93)