Monday, December 8, 2008

Art & Fear

When I need encouragement with my fiction, I turn to certain books for inspiration. One of the best is Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, by David Bayles & Ted Orland. I am now working on Into the Fire, version umpty-million, so this passage resonated with me:
William Kennedy gamely admitted that he re-wrote his own novel Legs eight times, and that "seven times it came out no good. Six times it was especially no good. The seventh time it was pretty good, though it was way too long. My son was six years old by then and so was my novel and they were both about the same height."


Anonymous said...

Yesterday, the 50th anniversary of William Faulkner's acceptance of the Nobel Prize, a friend sent me this quote from his acceptance speech:
"The young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat. He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed — love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice." It's a keeper.
Pat B.

Sara Latta said...

I heard that on Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac yesterday. A wonderful quote, but apparently no one could hear it as he was giving it because he was standing too far away from the microphone as he was giving it. They only realized the next day, with the publication of his speech, how wonderful it was. Also, his family really had to work to get him to go to the ceremony at all--and in a relatively sober state, at that.