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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A favorite poet

Gary Young is so great.  He reminds me that I want to write poems again some day.

He reminds me also of a quote from Christian Wiman of Poetry Magazine: "Let us remember...that in the end we go to poetry for one reason, so that we might more fully inhabit our lives and the world in which we live them, and that if we more fully inhabit these things, we might be less apt to destroy both."

I'm off to bed but here is one of Gary Young's sparse, untitled prose poems from his book titled "If He Had." It's best to read it aloud to yourself, slowly. (unfortunately, blogspot is messing with the original line breaks...)

I thought I could save the boy. The world could be remade, and the boy would survive.  Penance, prayer, the smallest gesture can change the world. So can I. But so can the birds yammering in the trees, and the trees, and the wind that moves them all around. The world is every promise and possibility. Am I still a father, he asks, now that I have no son? Oh, yes, I tell him. Now more than ever.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"We put on our stories before our clothes."

A fantastic quote from William Wenthe.

And here are 19 others all about the writing life.  These constitute the Top 20 Quick Quote Contest results (out of several hundred) as judged by the folks at a really good, small literary journal called Crazyhorse  which is attached to the College of Charleston (keep writing, everyone!):

The Top-20 Quotes 

“What I like in a good author is not what he says, but what he whispers.”
Logan Pearsall Smith

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” 
—Ernest Hemingway

“The poet: would rather eat a heart than a hambone.” 
—Theodore Roethke

“If there is a special Hell for writers it would be in the forced contemplation of their own works.” 
—John Dos Passos

“I only write when I feel the inspiration. Fortunately, inspiration strikes at 10:00 o’clock every day.” 
—William Faulkner

“If you’re going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you’re going to be locked up.” 
—Hunter S. Thompson

“The writer operates at a peculiar crossroads where time and place and eternity somehow meet. His problem is to find that location.” 
—Flannery O’Connor

“I write a little every day, without hope and without despair.” 
—Isak Dinesen

“Write, damn you! What else are you good for?” 
—James Joyce

“If I don’t write to empty my mind I go mad.” 
—Lord Byron

“I could claim any number of high-flown reasons for writing, just as you can explain certain dogs behavior... But maybe, it’s that they’re dog, and that’s what dogs do.” 
—Amy Hempel

“Writing is easy. You just sit down at the typewriter and open a vein.” 
—Red Smith

“Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant.” 
—Winston Churchill

“Always pull back—and see how silly we must look to God.” 
—Jack Kerouac

“The end of all our exploring will be to arrive when we started and know the place for the first time.” 
—T.S. Eliot

“If you’re a good writer, these days, you pay attention to the way that people don’t pay attention.” 
—Charles Baxter

"There are three rules to writing a novel and nobody knows what they are." 
—Wm. Somerset Maugham

"Writing is finally a series of permissions you give yourself to be expressive in certain ways. To leap. To fly. To fail."
—Susan Sontag

“We put on our stories before our clothes….” 
—William Wenthe

“All good writing is swimming underwater and holding your breath." 
—F. Scott Fitzgerald

"All I am is the trick of words writing themselves." 
—Anne Sexton

Friday, May 7, 2010

Bottom of my to-do list: follow up

So a number of weeks ago I decided to take up carving woodblock.  I wrote about it being important because it's precisely the "least important" thing I could spend time on.  That post here.

Just wanted to share the first creation.  It's a carved relief kind of thing in basswood with ink - maybe 3" x 4".  I stole the design completely from a surf website (linked to in that earlier blog post).  It's pretty crude and took a long time for such a tiny piece but I had a ton of fun making it and hopefully more creations are coming soon.

Here's to the bottom of all our to-do lists!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


So I've decided to write a book - a concise Creole learning textbook.

As the first 8-week session of HaitiHub classes comes to a close, we've built up a good amount of supplementary exercises, new vocabulary sets, clarifications/expansions of certain topics, etc in addition to what's already in the Wally Turnbull book around which classes have been structured (Creole Made Easy: A simple introduction to Haitian Creole for English speaking people).

As I've been thinking about how to incorporate all of the new material with the existing stuff, I came to the conclusion that a whole new text could be more straightforward, applicable, and comprehensive than could a mashup of my material with the Turnbull. So hopefully in the not too distant future (within 2010?) HaitiHub will have it's own book!

And how will this happen? Well, I'm not sure exactly. But I've read on a few different blogs that Lulu is the place to start for self-publishing. I've only now started exploring their website more closely, but it's pretty amazing stuff. Check it out:

And if you're at work on a book of your own, I'd love to hear about it. Let's all of us keep writing!