Despair is a much more dangerous feeling than fear, because fear is an intense feeling and, even if it can be momentarily paralyzing, in the end it calls for action, and, surprisingly, it can also create solutions. But despair is a feeling that calls for passivity and acceptance of reality even if it is unbearable, and it sees every spark of hope, every desire for change as a cunning enemy.
Happy Birthday, Roy Blount Jr, born 4 October 1941
- Even intellectuals should have learned by now that objective rationality is not the default position of the human mind, much less the bedrock of human affairs.
- Somebody informed me recently that the key to every art, from writing to gardening to sculpture, is creativity. I beg to differ.
- Get your friends together, go to your local bookstore and have a book-buying party.
- A good heavy book holds you down. It’s an anchor that keeps you from getting up and having another gin and tonic. Many a person has been saved from summer alcoholism, not to mention hypertoxicity, by Dostoyevsky. Put The Idiot in your lap or over your face, and you know where you are going to be for the afternoon.
- The more you try to pin a word down, the more you realize that it has its own cape, sword and little hat.
- An author is a person who can never take innocent pleasure in visiting a bookstore again. Say you go in and discover that there are no copies of your book on the shelves. You resent all the other books - I don’t care if they are Great Expectations, Life on the Mississippi and the King James Bible that are on the shelves.
- We don’t want bookstores to die. Authors need them, and so do neighbourhoods.
- I think a writer is not an ideal husband… . Writers tend to get off into their own heads and not notice the people that they’re living with, or they get irritable with the people that they’re living with when the people insist on being noticed.
- Perhaps the truth is that heavy literature blooms in extremes of temperature.
Blount is an American writer. He has published 23 books. He is also an ex-president of the Authors Guild, a usage consultant for the American Heritage Dictionary, a New York Public Library Literary Lion, and a member of both the Fellowship of Southern Writers and the band the Rock Bottom Remainders.
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Ultimately the first, best step in getting your work noticed is to write good work. If people don’t engage in your writing, no amount of serialization or free downloads is going to matter. You have to write something worth reading, and often it takes time to get at that level.
We often gain our desire to tell stories from consuming the stories told by others. This often becomes our default mode: we read! We watch! We play! The problem is when it remains our default mode and we never switch tracks from consumer to creator. That’s not to say we shouldn’t still hungrily stuff our mind-mouths with the narrative meals cooked by others — but there comes a time to give our own work that priority. Both in terms of time and in terms of regurgitating staid, tired tale-telling. Your story comes first. All other tales trail after.
The creative process just isn’t neat, no matter how you approach it. Writers tend to write amidst stacks of paper and books. Artists tend to create with speckles of paint on their clothes and the floor. Their work environments mirror the exploratory states of their mind as they search the pathways of their imaginations. Without chaos, there is no creation. Just look at a kitchen after a feast.