While I’m not one to be motivated by Inspirational Quotes, (Dream Big, Aim High, You Can Do It, Whee! I’m all better now!) I do very much enjoy reading what artists in varying fields have to say about their craft. I like hearing about process from the horse’s mouth and by gum, it inspires me.
One of my favourite writerly quotes comes from Mark Twain, which I’ve used here before:
The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter – it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning. – Mark Twain
It’s a beautiful quote and makes me feel special. It makes me feel like a writer. Makes me want to write about bugs and weather patterns. Is that dorky? Yeah it is.
Maybe it’s because I don’t believe I say much on an inspirational level. And that’s not a put down of my writing, it’s that my way of writing over these pages is very casual and pretty colloquial. I’m nearing 40 and use words like ‘cool’ and ‘sweet’ to describe an emotional reaction to writing. These words will not go down in history. These types of words will not be used in someone’s favourite quote down the pipe: ‘Lindsay thinks characters development is sweet.’
For example, I read this post over on the catching days blog. It talks about Henri Matisse who said a rather remarkable thing in terms of process:
“…I continually react until my work comes into harmony with me. As someone who writes a sentence, reworks it, makes new discoveries…At each stage, I reach a balance, a conclusion. At the next sitting, if I find that there is a weakness in the whole, I make my way back into the picture by means of the weakness-I re-enter through the breach-and I reconceive the whole.”
Well. Don’t I love the concept of using a weakness in a work as a door instead of a wall. Why do we always consider weakness a problem instead of just part of the process? If I could actually bring this concept of action into my life, let alone my work, how great would my life and my work be? I love this notion and want to splash these words over every hand out I ever make for the next fifty years.
Sigh. How come I never say stuff like that? Why does my vocabulary consist of words such as cool, sweet and let’s not forget – dude. I am not a surfer. I do not live in California. I am well aware it’s not 1982 and this is not Ridgemont High.
Ah well. At least we’ve got Twain and Matisse. Dude.