OK, I admit it, I’m addicted to quotes about books and writing and art. When I’m supposed to be taking a break from the computer, perhaps to go drink a tea at the window and let my eyes see the Outside World instead of just pixels, I usually come-to after about fifteen minutes and realize I’m still at the computer and I’ve just spent my whole break chasing fascinating little wisdoms around on the Internet. Oh well. It’s worth it.
Here’s a few of the treasures I found this week:
People sometimes act as though owning books you haven’t read constitutes a charade or pretense, but for me, there’s a lovely mystery and pregnancy about a book that hasn’t given itself over to you yet — sometimes I’m the most inspired by imagining what the contents of an unread book might be.
— JONATHAN LETHAM
To shift the structure of a sentence alters the meaning of that sentence, as definitely and inflexibly as the position of a camera alters the meaning of the object photographed. Many people know about camera angles now, but not so many know about sentences. The arrangement of the words matters, and the arrangement you want can be found in the picture in your mind. The picture dictates the arrangement. The picture dictates whether this will be a sentence with or without clauses, a sentence that ends hard or a dying-fall sentence, long or short, active or passive. The picture tells you how to arrange the words and the arrangement of the words tells you, or tells me, what’s going on in the picture. Nota bene.
It tells you.
You don’t tell it.
— JOAN DIDION
One can choose to obsess over prescriptive rules, but they have no more to do with human language than the criteria for judging cats at a cat show have to do with mammalian biology.
— STEPHEN PINKER
Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.
— RAY BRADBURY