"Writing is a solitary sport, but none of us can do it without good company....The authors of the pieces collected here share honestly, and often humorously, their thoughts and feelings about writing and the writer's life, and can provide you with the good company you need to get on with your own work."
(from the Introduction)
"At Darwin's, the newspaper-and-coffee store closest to my Cambridge office, this sign hangs on the wall: 'Cambridge 02138 -- the most opinionated zip code in America'; you can walk to Harvard Square from here in about five minutes. It was my good fortune to live in this part of the world during a revolution in the theory of writing. Much of the material in this book grew out of this revolution."
(from the Introduction)
"Becoming a poet is not a casual accident. Nor is it a sudden ascension into heaven on the wings of sheer inspiration."
(from "Climbing the Jacob's Ladder" by Ruth Whitman)
"The stunning realization that the Harvard Faculty will often accept, as evidence of knowledge, the cerebrations of a student who has little data at his disposal, confronts every student with an ethical dilemma."
(from "Examsmanship and the Liberal Arts: An Epistemological Inquiry, by William G. Perry, Jr.)
"Write something to be made into confetti, and something about the person you'd throw it at."
"You are asleep now, and everything around you is a dream. Wake up. Write about it for 10 minutes."
"Write as if you owned the language./Write as if you had rented the language./Write as if you had stolen the language."
(from "Getting Started : Writing Suggestions," by Patricia Cumming)
"You are ashamed or afraid of the momentary and passing madness which is found in all real creators, the longer or shorter duration of which distinguishes the thinking artist from the dreamer...you reject too soon and discriminate too severely."
(Freud quoting Schiller, from Gail Godwin's "The Watcher at the Gates")
"Of course I wish I had had more to say and that I had said it better, and I wish I could tell you more clearly what I have learned about saying it, but it would be impossible to tell you all you need to know. No two people are alike; your personal histories will lead you to respond in different ways. You will have to work out your own rules."
(from B.F.Skinner's "How to Discover What You Have to Say")
"I'm never sure, until I've begun putting words on the page, and they suddenly start pulling me along, where before I'd been pushing them, that it's going to work this time, that it's going to catch fire..."
(from "Not Just Writing, Really Writing" by Joan Bolker)