Friday, August 21, 2015

Writing is ...

My American Heritage College Dictionary defines writing as "the act of one who writes." I guess that's OK for a dictionary, but I am much more interested in how writers themselves define the word. Culled from Jon Winokur's book Writers on Writing, here is what several writers have said writing is.

Carlos Fuentes
Carlos Fuentes: "... a struggle against silence."

Goethe: "... busy idleness."

J.P. Donleavy: "... turning one's worst moments into money."

William Styron: "... a form of self-flagellation."

Gustave Flaubert: "... a dog's life, but the only life worth living."

Roland Barthes: "... the science of the various blisses of language."

Allen Ginsberg: "... a yoga that invokes Lord mind."

Nadine Gordimer
Nadine Gordimer: "... making sense of life."

Jean Grenier: "... putting one's obsessions in order."

John McPhee: "... a suspension of life in order to re-create life."

Pete Hamill: "... the hardest work in the world not involving heavy lifting."

Erica Jong: "... one of the few professions left where you take all the responsibility for what you do."

Violette Leduc: "... to inform against others."

Henry Miller: "... a voyage of discovery."

Francoise Sagan
Francoise Sagan: "... just having a sheet of paper, a pen and not a shadow of an idea of what you're going to say."

Thomas Sanchez: "... a horseback ride into heaven and hell and back. I am grateful if I can crawl back alive."

Logan Pearsall Smith: "... the art of making people real to themselves with words."

John Steinbeck: "... the clumsy attempt to find symbols for the wordlessness."

Laurence Sterne: "... but a different name for conversation."

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