Claim Your Story

Writing Conference, Ashland, Oregon

Inspiration

flame curled

cropped-cave-painting2.jpg A Quick Tip for Writing Fiction: All plots are designed to push the protagonist into new emotional and physical territory. ~ Jessica Morrell

maeve-binchy_grande

“As someone who fell off a chair not long ago trying to hear what they were saying at the next table in a restaurant, I suppose I am obsessively interested in what some might consider the trivia of other people’s lives.” Maeve Binchy

From the beautiful Mary Oliver:

One of our great assistances is, of course, punctuation. But it occurred to me that, perhaps, each of us writers has only perhaps a finite amount of it for our use, and we should use it judiciously — lest we hear a voice, suddenly, when we need, saying, “No more semicolons!” “You’re finished with your dashes!” — and, also, that passive-aggressive comma, with which we so carefully set off what is nice, so it won’t be missed — don’t we?

So I thought of, for fun — and I’ve done that a few times — I would write a poem that uses no punctuation (and this particular one has a question mark, which is quite apparent, at the end) and see what I could do simply with the line break and the cadence of the line and so forth. And it is a little breathless to read, and perhaps to listen to, but here goes: it’s called “Seven White Butterflies.”

Seven white butterflies
delicate in a hurry look
how they bang the pages
of their wings as they fly
to the fields of mustard yellow
and orange and plain
gold all eternity
is in the moment this is what
Blake said Whitman said such
wisdom in the agitated
motions of the mind seven
dancers floating
even as worms toward
paradise see how they banter
and riot and rise
to the trees flutter
lob their white bodies into
the invisible wind weightless
lacy willing
to deliver themselves unto
the universe now each settles
down on a yellow thumb on a
grassy stem now
all seven are rapidly sipping
from the golden towers who
would have thought it could be so easy?

white butterflies White butterflyThat cost me one question mark.

Via Brainpickings

         {Do stuff. Be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager.} ~ Susan Sontag

 Art is the attention we pay to the wholeness of the world. ~ Guy Davenport

“Work freely and rollickingly, as though    talking to a friend who loves you. Mentally (at least three or four times a day) thumb your nose at all know-it-alls, jeerers, critics, doubters.”

from: If You Want to Write: A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit by Brenda Ueland

jumbled lettersThe main thing is to write for the joy of it. Cultivate a work-lust that imagines its haven like your hands at night, dreaming the sun in the sunspot of a breast. You are fasted now, light-headed, dangerous. Take off from here. And don’t be so earnest.” ~ Seamus Heaney

After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are things that we most need in the world.” ~ Phillip Pullman

A writer never knows if his perseverance is his terrible weakness or his greatest strength.” Nathan Englander, The Reader

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