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Fail Better

7 November, 2007
    My favourite quotes from authors that Freed included in her book, Reading, Writing and Leaving Home:
  • Beckett: Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
  • Adrienne Rich: Everything we write will be used against us, or against those we love.

  • Somerset Maugham: What I want to feel is that it’s not a story I’m reading, but a life I’m living.
  • Carson McCullers: I must go home periodically to renew my sense of horror.

  • Joyce Carol Oates: So primary is homesickness as a motive for writing fiction, so powerful the yearning to memorialize what we’ve lived, inhabited, been hurt by and loved, that the impulse often goes unacknowledged.
  • Nancy Willard: A writer with a fixed idea is like a goose laying a stone.

  • Madeleine L’Engle: Don’t think. Write. We think before we write a story, and afterward, but during the writing we listen.
  • V.S. Naipaul: Great subjects are illuminated best by small dramas.
One Comment leave one →
  1. 15 February, 2008 6:33 pm

    I totally love the elegant abandon of Rich’s quote and the heartbreaking frankness of McCullers’. The former shows there will be no reward but the truthtelling in the writing itself. The latter shows there is always content. The fact that one is failing in writing or broken by it or the circumstances in which it is not happening–these are the most interesting subjects at hand.

    Thank you.
    Thank you for your comment. I too like McCullers’ frankness, refusing to fall into easy sentimentality.


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