"How about be sappy & corny & sad
& awful & pretentious & obvious & dumb.
Because all the best poems
are at least three of these things.
It isn’t that we should quit being sentimental.
It’s that we should get super good at it.
Our hearts are eighteen hungry wolves
that are okay saying things about ‘our hearts.’"
— Russ Woods, “Notes to a Young Poet,” from H_NGM_N’s project of the same name (via nps2013)
"You will never be as smart as your subconscious."
— Jill McCorkle talking about characters and craft at Richard Hugo House (via ian-denning)
When I was five, I wrote a story about a dog and a balloon who become friends. (I dictated it. My mother wrote the words.) If I was able to think of such wacky stuff now, I would never again have to hear that if you write about a common experience, the writing has to be really spectacular to make up for it. Doesn’t the writing have to be spectacular no matter what? Does it follow that if you have a zany or action-packed plot, the writing doesn’t have to be quite as good?
When I was 16 or so, I took out a book of criticism by Harold Bloom. He called J.D. Salinger’s writing juvenile (or something along those lines) and said some other things that I perceived as way too harsh. I remember the shock I felt that a writer I loved so much wasn’t universally admired. I remember exactly where on my bedroom floor I was sitting and how I tossed the book aside towards this child-sized white rocking chair with a doll on it. Things felt different from that point on.
"Like in high school, whether we knew it or not, whether we were aware of it or not, or whether we actually received the advice directly or not, there was an underlying understanding that boys wouldn’t like girls who were pensive and smart or who looked serious and intellectual, or worse yet, somber, gloomy, reclusive, or a snob (i.e. shy). Back then, I got labeled “the sad girl.” Is this like that? The bubbly, effervescent girls will succeed as writers too?"
Cris Mazza in this essay on The Nervous Breakdown. The essay was published several months back. I got the link from this post about age discrimination in publishing by Mazza on VIDA’s Her Kind blog.
Two of my anxieties when it comes to the PR aspect of existing in the world as a literary fiction writer - 1) being “old” (a woman over thirty) and 2) not having a fun/quirky/not boring persona.
Appropriate that someone reblogged this today.
It’s almost conference season, so out come my anxieties!