Bird by Bird
I don’t actually have a lot to quote from this book, but there were a few places that struck me and I have continued to ponder them after finishing the book, so in order to remember them, here they are.
A moral position is not a slogan, or wishful thinking. It doesn’t come from outside or above. It begins inside the heart of a character and grows from there. Tell the truth and write about freedom and fight for it, hover you can, and you will be richly rewarded. (p. 109)
So you may have gotten in the habit of doubting the voice that was telling you quite clearly what was really going on. It is essential that you get it back. (p.111)
Writing is about hypnotizing yourself into believing in yourself, getting some work done, then unhypnotizing yourself and going over the material coldly. (p. 114)
I wrote for an audience of two whom I loved and respected, who loved and respected me. So I wrote for them as carefully and soulfully as I could—which is, needless to say, how I wish I could write all the time. (p. 194)
But you can’t get to any of these truths by sitting in a field smilig beatifically, avoiding your anger and damage and grief. Your anger and damage and grief are the way to the truth. We don’t have much truth to express unless we have gone into those rooms and closets and woods and abysses that we were told not to go in to. When we have gone in and looked around for a good long while, just breathing and finally taking it in—then we will be able to speak in our own voice and to stay in the present moment. And that moment is home. (p.201)
You have to give from the deepest part of yourself, and you are going to have to go on giving, and the givig is going to have to be its own rewards. There is no cosmic importance to your getting something published, but there is in learning to be a giver. (p. 203)
If something inside you is real, we will probably find it interesting, and it will probably be universal. So you must risk placing real emotion at the center of your work. Write straight into the emotional center of things. (p. 226)
In addition to the above, the entire chapters Radio Station KFKD and Jealousy are so fantastic. Being in an industry where people are writing and speaking a LOT, I can relate so well to all the things she talks about in there. So yeah, this is a great book.