If you silence yourself, if you try to be good, if you try to be polite, or toe a party line, you end up paying for that in the long run. You pay for it... with your homeland, or with your soul, or with your artistic vision.
My heritage will always be an element in my work but as I've written, traveled, and lived more, I've found that the questions and the search - for meaning, for "home," for tribe - consume me more than trying to crank out one identity or one homeland.
The daily writing practice is something I used to hear batted around a lot in writing workshops - which is probably why I dropped out of all the writing workshops. I wish I could take credit for innovating a new approach to writing, but the truth is that I've managed to write books despite myself. I'm lazy and ungovernable and undisciplined, but I do have a lot of anxiety about never amounting to anything and ending up as a bag lady.
Every day I try to do some small thing connected to writing. Or I'll station myself at a café and try to hold myself captive with chocolate. I find that writers tend to be dismissive of small amounts of work or time, but they can actually add up. I've written several books in 15 minute increments.
Nobody can teach me who I am. You can describe parts of me, but who I am—and what I need—is something I have to find out myself.
While we do our good works let us not forget that the real solution lies in a world in which charity will have become unnecessary.
One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.
We have too many high sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them.
There is an art . . . to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.
I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.
Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order.
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
Your ego can become an obstacle to your work. If you start believing in your greatness, it is the death of your creativity.
We're all born with the greatest treasures we'll ever have in life. One of those treasures is your mind, another is your heart.
“Always” is a good word to believe in.
Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.
Good writers define reality; bad ones merely restate it.
Art is something that makes you breathe with a certain kind of happiness.
Death ends a life, not a relationship.
Poetry calls into question what it means to be human.
Louisa May Alcott
I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.
Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative place where no one else has ever been.
You have to tell your own story simultaneously as you hear and respond to the stories of others.
Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It's a way of understanding it.
Margaret Walker Alexander
Friends and good manners will carry you where money won't go.
The poetry of a people comes from the deep recesses of the unconscious, the irrational and the collective body of our ancestral memories.
The poem is an invention that exists in spite of history… In a time of violence, the task of poetry is in some way to reconcile us to our world and to allow us a measure of tenderness and grace with which to exist… Poetry’s task is to reconcile us to the world—not to accept it at face value or to assent to things that are wrong, but to reconcile one in a larger sense, to return us in love, the province of the imagination, to the scope of our mortal lives.
Poetry = Anger x Imagination
Social media has colonized what was once a sacred space occupied by emptiness: the space reserved for thought and creativity.
There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of misery.
Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.
We only have what we give.
Write what should not be forgotten.
The creative person wants to be a know-it-all. He wants to know about all kinds of things—ancient history, nineteenth century mathematics, current manufacturing techniques, hog futures. Because he never knows when these ideas might come together to form a new idea. It may happen six minutes later, or six months, or six years. But he has faith that it will happen.
To look at the work of your peers, and learn how to explain with kindness and precision, the nature of their mistakes is, in fact, how you learn to diagnose your own work.
All readers come to fiction as willing accomplices to your lies. Such is the basic goodwill contract made the moment we pick up a work of fiction.
You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.
Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently.
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.’ And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, 'Okay. Okay. I’ll come.’
You are alone enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.
The opposite of bravery is not cowardice but conformity.
Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.
Accordingly, the poet should prefer probable impossibilities to improbable possibilities.
Wisdom begins with wonder.
Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.
Mary Kay Ash
If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, you’re right.
True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.
Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.
A word after a word after a word is power.
If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.
Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.
Writing poetry is a state of free float.
Poetry might be defined as the clear expression of mixed feelings.
A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.
It would only be necessary for a writer to secure universal popularity if imagination and intelligence were equally distributed among all men.
Evil is unspectacular, and always human, and shares our bed and eats at our table.
Show me your garden and I shall tell you who you are.