January 23, 2018

If I were called in
to construct a religion
I should make use of grass.

Going to church
would entail a fervent swishing
through couch and wild oats.

My liturgy would employ
vegetal whistling
and blurted, worshipful shrieks.

And I should be
a singer of grass, spitting all
but the sweetest pith from my mouth.

Katharine Towers

going to be a writer

January 23, 2018

Tony Foster

My father was the editor of an agricultural magazine called The Southern Planter. He didn’t think of himself as a writer. He was a scientist, an agronomist, but I thought of him as a writer because I’d seen him working at his desk. I just assumed that I was going to do that, that I was going to be a writer. There’s an enormous advantage in having (mistakenly or not) the impression that you have a vocation very early because from that time forward you begin to focus all of your energies towards this goal. The only other thing I ever considered from six on was to become an artist, something my mother had encouraged me to do.

Tom Wolfe
Interview with George Plimpton for Paris Review Spring 1991

reading in bed

The great short story writer Alice Adams had an interesting formula for writing a short story, which goes ABDCE, for Action, Background, Development, Climax, and Ending. You begin with action that is compelling enough to draw [the reader] in, make us want to know more. Background is where you see and know who these people are, how they’ve come to be together, what was going on before the opening of the story. Then you develop these people, so that we learn what they care most about. The plot  –  the drama, the actions, the tension –  will grow out of that. You move them along until everything comes together in the climax, after which things are different for the main characters, different in some real way. And then there is the ending: what is our sense of who these people are now, what are they left with, what happened, and what did it mean?

Jonathan Carroll
The First Five Letters of the Writing Alphabet

work day and night

January 23, 2018

When I start (writing), I usually take about four or five months to start and finish the book, and that’s when I get completely immersed in it. I don’t go out, and I just only see the children, I don’t answer the telephone, I don’t do anything. And I work day and night. I nap during the day, but then I’ll just work around the clock. I don’t understand people who work three hours in the morning, and then the day is up to them. I have to do 12 hours with a few naps, and then 12 hours in the night.

Beryl Bainbridge
Interview in Writer’s Digest