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Writing Advice?

“ doesn't become an artist overnight. You have to be carbonized and mineralized in order to work upwards from the last common denominator of the self. " — Henry Miller (1891 - 1980)


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Advice? I don't have advice. Stop aspiring and start writing. If you're writing, you're a writer. Write like you're a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there's no chance for a pardon. Write like you're clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you've got just one last thing to say, like you're a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God's sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we're not alone. Write like you have a message from the king. Or don't. Who knows, maybe you're one of the lucky ones who doesn't have to. 

— Alan Watts (1915 - 1973)

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The Kind of writing that can be done.

From 'Green Hills of Africa" by Ernest Hemingway

     'Do you think your writing is worth doing -- as an end in itself?'
     'Oh, yes.'
     'You are sure?'
     'Very sure.'
     'That must be very pleasant.'
     'It is,' I said. 'It is the one altogether pleasant thing about it.'
     'This is getting awfully serious,' my wife said.
     'It's a damned serious subject.'
     'You see, he is really serious about something,'
     Kandisky said. 'I knew he must be serious on something besides kudu.'
     'The  reason  everyone  now  tries  to avoid  it, to  deny  that  it is important,  to  make  it  seem. vain to try to do it,  is  because  it is so difficult. Too many factors must combine to make it possible.'
     'What is this now?'
     'The kind of writing that can be done. How far prose can be carried  if anyone is serious enough and has luck. There is a fourth and fifth dimension that can be gotten.'
     'You believe it?'
     'I know it.'
     'And if a writer can get this?'
     'Then nothing else matters. It is more  important than anything he  can do. The chances  are,  of course, that he  will  fail. But there is a chance that he succeeds.'
     'But that is poetry you are talking about.'
     'No.  It  is much more difficult than poetry.  It  is a  prose that has never  been written.  But  it can  be  written,  without tricks and  without cheating. With nothing that will go bad afterwards.'


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Recommended reading...

How Does A Poem Mean?
by John Ciardi  (also applies to prose)


Henry Miller's Eleven Commandments


So You Want To Be A Writer

by Charles Bukowski


Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft

by Janet Burroway


The Writing Life 

by Annie Dillard

Making Shapely Fiction 

by Jerome Stern 

The Forest for the Trees: An Editor's Advice to Writers 

by Betsy Lerner

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft 

by Stephen King


More to come... 

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