"In this there is no measuring with time, a year doesn’t matter, and ten years are nothing. Being an artist means: not numbering...moreLetter #3 on patience:
"In this there is no measuring with time, a year doesn’t matter, and ten years are nothing. Being an artist means: not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which doesn’t force its sap, and stands confidently in the storms of spring, not afraid that afterward summer may not come. It does come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are there as if eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly silent and vast. I learn it every day of my life, learn it with pain I am grateful for: patience is everything!"
Letter #8 on the self & the world:
"We have no reason to harbor any mistrust against our world, for it is not against us. If it has terrors, they are our terrors; if it has abysses, these abysses belong to us; if there are dangers, we must try to love them. And if only we arrange our life in accordance with the principle which tells us that we must always trust in the difficult, then what now appears to us as the most alien will become our most intimate and trusted experience. How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love. "So you mustn't be frightened, dear Mr. Kappus, if a sadness rises in front of you, larger than any you have ever seen; if an anxiety, like light and cloud-shadows, moves over your hands and over everything you do. You must realize that something is happening to you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall. Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any misery, any depression, since after all you don't know what work these conditions are doing inside you? Why do you want to persecute yourself with the question of where all this is coming from and where it is going? Since you know, after all, that you are in the midst of transitions and you wished for nothing so much as to change. If there is anything unhealthy in your reactions, just bear in mind that sickness is the means by which an organism frees itself from what is alien; so one must simply help it to be sick, to have its whole sickness and to break out with it, since that is the way it gets better. In you, dear Mr. Kappus, so much is happening now; you must be patient like someone who is sick, and confident like some one who is recovering; for perhaps you are both. And more: you are also the doctor, who has to watch over himself. But in every sickness there are many days when the doctor can do nothing but wait. And that is what you, insofar as you are your own doctor, must now do, more than anything else."(less)
Gave me a new way to think about storytelling, & made the most useful distinction between 'plot' and 'story' I've come across so far. Told in a co...moreGave me a new way to think about storytelling, & made the most useful distinction between 'plot' and 'story' I've come across so far. Told in a conversational style (some have called it long-winded, but I enjoyed the sense of the author I got from reading this book), it's an easy but lengthy read - definitely not one for the eReader, as novelists may want to skim-read the annotated screenplay at the end. Will put this book on my high-rotation list. Dunne recommends writers to aim for the 'inevitable surprise' style of ending - somehow, this book itself was an inevitable surprise: so much of it is *obvious* but only in hindsight.(less)
This slim volume resonated with me wholly and completely. It's a tragedy that it's only available as a Kindle single, but I may just end up typing the...moreThis slim volume resonated with me wholly and completely. It's a tragedy that it's only available as a Kindle single, but I may just end up typing the whole thing out so Amazon can never steal it from me.(less)
I genuinely can't remember how I came to own this book, or why or who recommended it. But it's brilliant. Filled with wisdom and pragmatism in equal m...moreI genuinely can't remember how I came to own this book, or why or who recommended it. But it's brilliant. Filled with wisdom and pragmatism in equal measure, it was a 'right now' book: exactly what I needed, right now.
Her three sources of untapped truth are: percolation (i.e. reflection or rumination), revision and going public. Of the three, I knew I needed some reminders on the first, I was looking for practical help on the second, but I was kinda dismissive of the third. That was before I started the book. But Goldberg helped me on all of them.
I read it with highlighter in hand, paused often to feel the truth of Goldberg's ideas, to absorb it. Let it sink in. I'll be keeping this one close to hand for a while. What can I say? I loved it. Going on the 'absolute favourites' list. (less)
"Writing saved my life. Before I found writing I had exhausted all the other ways of being in the world that I knew about. But, as with anything that...more"Writing saved my life. Before I found writing I had exhausted all the other ways of being in the world that I knew about. But, as with anything that one makes entirely ones own, I had to reinvent writing. I had to unravel everything I had been taught and wind it back up again, my way. Before I found writing, I longed for writing. In my earliest memory I am four and frustrated with my inability to have my words all gathered together on a piece of paper. Over the years frustration endlessly reinvented itself."
So begins Sher's almost-meditative book of truths for the writer.
I loved that first chapter, & highlighted basically the whole darn thing. Like all truths, Sher's are simple but they aren't necessarily easy (I don't see myself dedicating a year to haiku, for example).
But on some fundamental truths, I do agree. For example, most of writing is about showing up. And, writing is a practice. Like all practices--like human nature--its form, content, process and results are changeable.
Sher's four noble truths are:
1. Writers write 2. Writing is a process 3. You don't know what your writing will be until the end of the process 4. If writing is your practice, the only way to fail is not to write.
I love Sher's voice: there's something calming about it. The Buddhist influences are easy to spot. For a fuller taste, Sher provides that first, powerful chapter free on her website:
Okay, this is probably the book I should've been reading when I read McCloud's much lauded UNDERSTANDING COMICS (which, honestly you guys, is just a g...moreOkay, this is probably the book I should've been reading when I read McCloud's much lauded UNDERSTANDING COMICS (which, honestly you guys, is just a giant defence of comics WHICH IS BORING to those of us who don't need a defence, why do you all love that book so much?).
This book, on the other hand, is practical, thoughtful & encouraging. And helpful for the choices a comics creator needs to make (from page 37): a) choice of moment, b) choice of frame, c) choice of image, d) choice of word & e) choice of flow (i.e. guiding readers between & within panel).
Of course, now I want to know MORE about all those things...(less)
A great ideas book, deceptively simple but oh-so-effective. Love the 'unscheduler' & reverse calendar idea. Love the idea of setting limits to the...moreA great ideas book, deceptively simple but oh-so-effective. Love the 'unscheduler' & reverse calendar idea. Love the idea of setting limits to the task you're procrastinating on - so much so that you begin to defy the limits & do the thing you've been putting off in the first place. This was also the first book to make 'fear of success' actually make sense.
And there's a mind map of its contents here, as a convenient reminder:
Another of Pressfield's take-no-prisoners books about - if I may so summarise - taking your work seriously and yourself lightly. If you've read one of...moreAnother of Pressfield's take-no-prisoners books about - if I may so summarise - taking your work seriously and yourself lightly. If you've read one of his non-fic books before, you'll know what to expect. Some of the messages are familiar & maybe it's not as quotable as his WAR OF ART opus, but if you're in the mood for a kick in the pants, this is the book that'll do it.(less)