The painter has to wrestle with color, canvas and brushes, the sculptor with stone and chisel… yet, the creative act, their “vision” of what they are going to create, transcends time. It is the same for every manifestation of being. The experience of loving, of joy, of grasping truth does not occur in time, but in the here and now.

The here and now is eternity…

~ Erich Fromm, To Have or to Be, quoted in Michael E. Gerber’s Awakening the Entrepreneur Within

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From an editor’s point of view, I’ll repeat my lack of passion for spontaneity. Why should I make much of what someone else has made so little? Why should I read and reread work that may have been reread by the writer less often than it will be by me? I’ll acknowledge a kind of perverse joke in all that, an “upsodounness” of expectation, as Chaucer could have said. And perversion is a mainstay of our pleasures, in the arts as elsewhere. It works though only when it wins us over. I am in no position to be sure of how that happens, since a writer has no reason to confess. I do suppose that it is infrequent. Or perhaps I only hope as much.

~ David Hamilton, “Loose Bottoms: On Becoming Ready to Send Your Work Out” in The Practical Writer: From Inspiration to Publication (Penguin Books, 2004)

Writing a book that lacks a title feels a bit like owning a car with no license plates.

~ Nicholas Weinstock, “The Trouble with Titles” in The Practical Writer: From Inspiration to Publication (Penguin Books, 2004)

Whether we are friend, spouse, or teacher to the writer, we must guard against  trying to make a plum into an apricot. If I encourage a writer to revise in a certain way that pushes against his temperament, then of course he will resist, and properly so… We write what we can, as Raymond Carver had said. A well-meaning reader can hasten a writer on the way toward all she can write. But a reader/teacher/critic can also lengthen the journey by sending her in the wrong direction.

~ Jeffrey Skinner, “Push Hands: Balancing Resistance and Revision” in The Practical Writer: From Inspiration to Publication (Penguin Books, 2004)

All writers struggle at some time with the problem of balance between authority and involvement, seduction and revelation. Beginning writers commonly struggle with how much description to employ, and more advanced writers commonly struggle with how much plot is too much or too little. And there is no better place to find answers to such problems than in the Victoria Secret’s catalogue, where the arts of seduction and revelation are so commonly and successfully practiced. After all, the secret of the effective lingerie ad is the same secret at the heart of effective storytelling: to provide, moment by moment, the illusion of imminent exposure, to give the viewer (read: the reader) the uncanny sense that something fundamentally compelling is always about to be revealed. In short, it is the art of the tease, the craft of selective “coverage”, that works to enthrall.

~ Julie Checkoway, “The Lingerie Theory of Narration” in The Practical Writer: From Inspiration to Publication (Penguin Books, 2004)

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