Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Inspire Me!

As a writer aspiring to be published, there are times when my frustration causes me to fall into the trap of thinking like Crash Davis. Crash isn't a writer, but rather he is a character in "Bull Durham."

What do I mean by this? Go watch the movie, or follow along here. I'm referring to the part on the bus where Crash, who is tasked with maturing the rookie pitcher Nuke, instructs him on how to handle interviews with a pre-cast set of responses. In this way, he seeks to educate the youngster on how to at least sound like he knows what he's doing. 

Anyone who's tried their hands at writing and becoming published is often exposed to much the same advice. We're bombarded with a continual string of quotes about writing and being a writer and eventually we blame our lack of success on not espousing enough to sound like these big league writers. Then we start writing down the quotes, memorizing them, praying some day we'll get the chance to use them at a cocktail party right after delivering an elevator pitch that skyrockets us into the big box book stores.

It's totally what Crash Davis told Nuke to do. 

With it being the start of a new year, I thought I'd share twelve of these quotes with you other aspiring authors. Memorize these. They are your friends.

“Reading and writing, like everything else, improve with practice. And, of course, if there are no young readers and writers, there will shortly be no older ones. Literacy will be dead, and democracy–which many believe goes hand in hand with it–will be dead as well.”

-Margaret Atwood

A little dark, Margaret, but so was "Blind Assassin."

“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.”

-Gustave Flaubert

Ah, the French, they are so... French.

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.”

-E.L. Doctorow

Apparently he's pretty good, so you might just have to memorize his name and drop it frequently.

“To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music that words make.”

-Truman Capote

Truman was a bit of a weirdo. He claimed to know Greta Garbo intimately, but never actually met her. Who would do that?

“Two hours of writing fiction leaves this writer completely drained. For these two hours he has been in a different place with totally different people.”

-Roald Dahl

So true, Roald.

“Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.”

-Isaac Asimov

Much respect, you're my favorite science fiction writer.

Writing is an extreme privilege but it’s also a gift. It’s a gift to yourself and it’s a gift of giving a story to someone.”

-Amy Tan

She's turned awkward family relations across generations into gold.

“The most difficult and complicated part of the writing process is the beginning.”

-A.B. Yehoshua

The New York Times called him the "Israeli Faulkner." Having slogged through "Sound and the Fury," I'm not sure how to feel about him.

“I believe that writing is derivative. I think good writing comes from good reading.”

-Charles Kuralt

This is Sunday Morning, on CBS.

“Whether you’re keeping a journal or writing as a meditation, it’s the same thing. What’s important is that you’re having a relationship with your mind.”

-Natalie Goldberg

She's applied Zen teachings to the art of writing, but I'm Catholic, so I try to apply guilt to my writing.  

“Your writing voice is the deepest possible reflection of who you are. The job of your voice is not to seduce or flatter or make well-shaped sentences. In your voice, your readers should be able to hear the contents of your mind, your heart, your soul.”

-Meg Rosoff

I'd like to meet Meg some day. She wears strange looking glasses.

So, read, write, and good luck, but be careful. If you are a success someday, you'll have to be able to throw out a phrase that wraps up what you do in a not too literal way.