Creative Nonfiction Quotes

Quotes tagged as "creative-nonfiction" Showing 1-13 of 13
Annie Dillard
“I think it would be well, and proper, and obedient, and pure, to grasp your one necessity and not let it go, to dangle from it limp wherever it takes you. Then even death, where you're going no matter how you live, cannot you part.”
Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters

“I shut my ears, averted my eyes, turning instead to what I thought at the time was pain's antidote: silence. I was wrong... Silence feeds pain, allows it to fester and thrive. What starves pain, what forces it to release its grip, is speech, the voice upon which rides the story, this is what happened; this is what I have refused to let claim me.”
Tracy K. Smith, Ordinary Light

Jo Deurbrouck
“Writing nonfiction means I tell people's stories for them, not because they're special but because we all are.”
Jo Deurbrouck

“In his book Real Presences, George Steiner asks us to "imagine a society in which all talk about the arts, music and literature is prohibited." In such a society there would be no more essays on whether Hamlet was mad or only pretending to be, no reviews of the latest exhibitions or novels, no profiles of writers or artists. There would be no secondary, or parasitic, discussion - let alone tertiary: commentary on commentary. We would have, instead, a "republic for writers and readers" with no cushion of professional opinion-makers to come between creators and audience. While the Sunday papers presently serve as a substitute for the experiencing of the actual exhibition or book, in Steiner's imagined republic the review pages would be turned into listings:catalogues and guides to what is about to open, be published, or be released.
What would this republic be like? Would the arts suffer from the obliteration of this ozone of comment? Certainly not, says Steiner, for each performance of a Mahler symphony is also a critique of that symphony. Unlike the reviewer, however, the performer "invests his own being in the process of interpretation." Such interpretation is automatically responsible because the performer is answerable to the work in a way that even the most scrupulous reviewer is not.
Although, most obviously, it is not only the case for drama and music; all art is also criticism. This is most clearly so when a writer or composer quotes or reworks material from another writer or composer. All literature, music, and art "embody an expository reflection which they pertain". In other words it is not only in their letters, essays, or conversation that writers like Henry James reveal themselves also to be the best critics; rather, The Portrait of a Lady is itself, among other things, a commentary on and a critique of Middlemarch. "The best readings of art are art."
No sooner has Steiner summoned this imaginary republic into existence than he sighs, "The fantasy I have sketched is only that." Well, it is not. It is a real place and for much of the century it has provided a global home for millions of people. It is a republic with a simple name: jazz.”
Geoff Dyer, But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz

Vivian Gornick
“The presence in a memoir or an essay of the truth speaker - the narrator that a writer pulls out of his or her own agitated and boring self to organize a piece of experience - it was about this alone that I felt I had something to say; and it was to those works in which such a narrator comes through strong and clear that I was invariably drawn.”
Vivian Gornick, The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative

Debbie Tosun Kilday
“Strive to be beyond what others perceive you to be, by striving beyond the limits of yourself.”
Debbie Tosun Kilday, No Limits: How I Beat The Slots

“We made the choice, right there in our local coffee shop, that we were going to do things differently. We were going to put the story first, no matter where that led us. We’d open ourselves up to all genres, all forms. We’d publish works that stayed with us in an intangible way, long after that last page is turned.”
Dani Hedlund

Vivian Gornick
“The unsurrogated narrator has the monumental task of transforming low-level self-interest into the kind of detached empathy required of a piece of writing that is to be of value to the disinterested reader.”
Vivian Gornick, The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative

“This is new territory; a bridge between the conservative and conventional lit mag tradition and those colourful speculation-driven pamphlets that you find in stacks by the coffee-shop door, full of zombies and vampires and crashing space ships. This is a serious journal with a wide aesthetic.”
The Review Review

Antonia Burgato
“Airplanes were a novel sight on the island, and each time one flew low, the Sansegoti cowered and trembled. The whir of Spitfires circled above their heads like a swarm of killer bees. The Germans shot at them and the planes flew away, but they always came back—until they bombed the cannery.”
Antonia Burgato

Vivian Gornick
“The essay becomes an exercise in the meaning and value of watching a writer conquer their own sense of threat to deliver themself of their wisdom.”
Vivian Gornick, The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative

“If I could give you any gift in the world, it would be the honey haze of a slow afternoon. I would cup the whole thing in my palms, if I could, and pour it into yours. And you could be warm, and content, and marvel at the way the moments dance by, infinite.”
Kristin Hedges

“And for three rainy, afternoon hours, we lay skin to skin, waking every so often to get closer after drifting apart in slumber, always finding each other once more, lacing fingers, tracing constellations of freckle and scar.”
Kristin Hedges