The Big Read Blog (Archive)


September 4, 2009
Washington, DC

"Writing is allowed" by Andwat from Flickr

Having started the week with a round-up of quotes on reading, it seems fitting to end the week---and summer---with a quantum of quotes on writing.

"I think I write in order to discover on my shelf a new book that I would enjoy reading, or to see a new play that would engross me." Thornton Wilder

"A novel is not written to explain a culture, it creates its own." Rudolfo Anaya

"[I] decided that in writing [My Antonia] I would dwell very lightly on those things that a novelist would ordinarily emphasize, and make up my story of the little, every-day happenings and occurrences that form the greatest part of everyone's life and happiness." Willa Cather

"I know I cannot straighten out with a few pen-strokes what God and men took centuries to mess up. So I tried to deal with life as we actually live it---not as the sociologists imagine it." Zora Neale Hurston

"Abstraction may make your head believe, but a good story, well told, will also make your kidneys believe, and your scalp and tear ducts, your heart, and your stomach, the whole human being." Tim O'Brien

"The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter---it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning." Mark Twain

"There's no substitute for struggling, if a struggle is needed, to make an English sentence as beautiful as it should be." Harper Lee

"The goal of the artist is not to solve a question irrefutably, but to force people to love life in all its innumerable, inexhaustible manifestations." Leo Tolstoy


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