There is statistical evidence showing that adult women read more novels than men, attend more book clubs than men, use libraries more than men, buy more books than men, take more creative writing courses than men, and probably write more works of fic…
“If you are destined to become a writer, you can’t help it. If you can help it, you aren’t destined to become a writer. The frustrations and disappointments, not even to mention the unspeakable loneliness, are too unbearable for anyone who doesn’t have a deep sense of being unable to avoid writing.”—Donald Harington
“All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and the sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer.”—Ernest Hemingway in Esquire, December 1934
“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”—Frederick Buechner (via misswallflower)
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography podcast: Arthur Conan Doyle, writer
Conan Doyle’s fiction made astonishing progress in the early 1880s. He learned the economics of the short story from the work of Guy de Maupassant and from the Edinburgh medical journals with their logical progress from case-statement to collection of symptoms, rival diagnoses, and finally to ultimate conclusion and explanation. His first translation of these techniques into fiction ended in what is now called A Study in Scarlet. The story brought together Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson for the first time and a lifelong series was launched.
“Whenever I have endured or accomplished some difficult task — such as watching television, going out socially or sleeping — I always look forward to rewarding myself with the small pleasure of getting back to my typewriter and writing something.”—Isaac Asimov
“I’m fundamentally, I think, an outsider. I do my best work and feel most braced with my back to the wall. It’s an odd feeling, though, writing against the current: difficult entirely to disregard the current. Yet of course I shall.”—Virginia Woolf, from a diary entry (via violentwavesofemotion)
“When you can state the theme of a story, when you can separate it from the story itself, then you can be sure the story is not a very good one. The meaning of a story has to be embodied in it, has to be made concrete in it. A story is a way to say something that can’t be said any other way, and it takes every word in the story to say what the meaning is. You tell a story because a statement would be inadequate. When anybody asks what a story is about, the only proper thing is to tell him to read the story. The meaning of fiction is not abstract meaning but experienced meaning, and the purpose of making statements about the meaning of a story is only to help you experience that meaning more fully.”—Flannery O’Connor (via nathanielstuart)
Smoke this book, in praise of the footnote (and the endnote), and other news.
“Metaphor is actually a fundamental constituent of language … In the seemingly literal statement ‘He’s out of sight,’ the visual field is metaphorized as a container that holds things … Ordinary language is saturated with metaphors. Our eyes point to where we’re going, so we tend to speak of future time as being ‘ahead’ of us. When things increase, they tend to go up relative to us, so we tend to speak of stocks ‘rising’ instead of getting more expensive.”
“One way of arguing for the necessity of print: “Rather than stand on a street corner yelling, ‘Literature is not commodity!’ I decided to inflict a series of physical experiments on my published work, to take several copies of the new book, go at them with my hands, and see what might result. I stripped the book of its cover, bought a pouch of tobacco, tore the pages, rolled the words.””—Martha Baillie; From this article