I am a writer. I create innovative creative and business writing courses. I inspire others to tell their stories. My company's name is Writers Write. My email address is email@example.com
Happy Birthday, Richard Harding Davis, born 18 April 1864, died 11 April 1916
The secret of good writing is to say an old thing in a new way or to say a new thing in an old way.
All through the night, like the tumult of a river when it races between the cliffs of a canyon, in my sleep I could hear the steady roar of the passing army…. This was a machine, endless, tireless, with the delicate organization of a watch and the brute power of a steam-roller.
No civilized person ever goes to bed the same day he gets up.
Davis was a journalist and writer of fiction and drama. He was best known as the first American war correspondent to cover the Spanish-American War, the Second Boer War, and the First World War. His writing played a major role in the evolution of the American magazine. His books include Soldiers of Fortune, Cinderella and Other Stories, and The Amateur.
When the enemy has no face, society will invent one.
Divorced men are more likely to meet their car payments than their child support obligations.
Feminism’s agenda is basic: It asks that women not be forced to “choose” between public justice and private happiness. It asks that women be free to define themselves — instead of having their identity defined for them, time and again, by their culture and their men.
As it turns out, social scientists have established only one fact about single women’s mental health: employment improves it.
The media and the rest of popular culture weren’t recording people’s reactions to 9/11; they were forcing made-up reactions down people’s throats.
The women’s movement hit my neighbourhood like a freight train. Everybody got divorced. You wonder what would have happened to women if the suburbs hadn’t been built.
The system of heroism depends on women to be weak so men can be strong.
Faludi is an American humanist, journalist and author. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 1991 and a National Book Critics Circle Award in 1992 for Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women.
All writing is presumption of course, since no one knows what it is like to be another human being.
What we remember from childhood we remember forever - permanent ghosts, stamped, inked, imprinted, eternally seen.
Because if I don’t start, I won’t get going. And sometimes starting is so difficult. Because it’s all chaos… It could be a scene in your mind or it could be some kind of tendril that you can barely define. So I have to force it. And then after – and this is real compulsion, real self-flagellation – it kind of takes off. But there’s a lot of agony before. And sometimes during. And sometimes all through. But just before the end and revelations start coming, that’s the joy. But mostly its hell.
Advice to aspiring poets: Poetry is not letter-writing cut up into lines. Become familiar with the poets that are the infrastructure of literature; read, read, read.
After a certain number of years, our faces become our biographies.
If we had to say what writing is, we would have to define it essentially as an act of courage.
Writers’ invisibility has little or nothing to do with Fame, just as Fame has little or nothing to do with Literature. (Fame merits its capital F for its fickleness, Literature its capital L for its lastingness.)
To imagine the unimaginable is the highest use of the imagination.
Writers are very dangerous people. You shouldn’t know them.
If I could do it again, I would step out of the furnace now and then. I’d run around and find reviews to write, articles; I’d scurry and scrounge. I’d try to build a little platform from which to send out a voice. I’d do, in short, what I see so many writers of your generation doing: Chasing a bit of work here, a bit there, publishing, getting acquainted.
Ozick is an American-Jewish short story writer, novelist, and essayist
Happy Birthday, Diane Middlebrook, born 16 April 1939, died 15 December 2007
When I get inside the book I lose all my bearings.
Read the journals, letters, and autobiographies of writers you admire. Plath avidly read the diaries of Virginia Woolf; and Plath herself produced one of the great writer-journals of our century — The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath shows the slow arc of the writer-in-the making.
Absolute silence. I’ve had arguments – kind of impolite ones – with my students. I don’t think that writers can write when some other art form is in the background. Writing demands so much of your attention that anything in the background is an interruption.
With a biography there is no straight line; all is muddled. You don’t know what you know, you don’t know what you don’t know; if you find anything you make a note about it because some day it may find its partner. You have to have very good ways of keeping track of what you have found and where you have put it.
Your readers expect a story, a story that answers the question, “So what, why do we care about what this person has done?”
I also strongly recommend outlining your own work after it is written, because then you can see where the logic is breaking down, or where you repeat yourself. Shrinking it down improves it.
I drink a pot of coffee first: that’s my drug; it makes me feel elated and smart.
Middlebrook was an American biographer, poet, and teacher. She is best known for her biographies of poets Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath.
Happy Birthday, Tracy K. Smith, born 16 April 1972
Once I started writing all the time and interacting with poets, I made a conscious decision to identify myself as a poet. It’s funny how much a single word can provide focus and direction.
I am very conscious of the vulnerability of beginning writers. I push my students toward a more rigorous sense of craft and a more daring use of material and observation.
A question is a pursuit, an invitation to envision and explore a series of possibilities, to struggle and empathize and doubt and believe. The question moves, whereas our sense of what an answer is can often be static, a stopping point.
I see my responsibility to my material as a matter of writing toward the truth. And the truth is many different things at once — many different truths.
For me, a poem is an opportunity to kind of interrogate myself a little bit.
I think humans have always felt watched back by whatever is out there flickering in the distance. What excites me is what the imagination creates not simply in explanation of what is there, but also to explain or justify the feeling of awe and attachment that the heavens inspire. Sometimes those answers set beautiful things into motion: compassion, hope, a desire to create something that will last.
I always encourage my students to seek analogies between their outside interests and their process as poets. Everything should make its way into the poems, because everything makes a mark upon the poet.
Smith is an African-American poet and educator. She won the Pulitzer Prize for a 2011 collection, Life on Mars.
Happy Birthday, Tomas Tranströmer, born 15 April 1931
In the middle of life, death comes to take your measurements. The visit is forgotten and life goes on. But the suit is being sewn on the sly.
Don’t be ashamed because you’re human: be proud! Inside you, vaults behind vaults open endlessly. You will never be finished, and that’s as it should be.
We are at a party that doesn’t love us.
A person shows himself for an instant as in a photograph but clearer and in the background something which is bigger than his shadow.
We always feel younger than we are. I carry inside myself my earlier faces, as a tree contains its rings. The sum of them is me. The mirror sees only my latest face, while I know all my previous ones.
Tired of all who come with words, words but no language, l went to the snow-covered island. The wild does not have words. The unwritten pages spread out on all sides! I come upon the tracks of roe deer in the snow. Language but no words.
The small things I love, have they any weight?
Tranströmeris a Swedish poet, psychologist and translator. His poetry has been translated into over 60 languages. He is the winner of the 1990 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Happy Birthday, Helene Hanff, born 15 April 1916, died 9 April 1997
I do love second-hand books that open to the page some previous owner read oftenest.
I love inscriptions on flyleaves and notes in margins, I like the comradely sense of turning pages someone else turned, and reading passages someone long gone has called my attention to.
If you happen to pass by 84 Charing Cross Road, kiss it for me? I owe it so much.
84, Charing Cross Road was no best seller, you understand; it didn’t make me rich or famous. It just got me hundreds of letters and phone calls from people I never knew existed; it got me wonderful reviews; it restored a self-confidence and self-esteem I’d lost somewhere along the way, God knows how many years ago. It brought me to England. It changed my life.
History, as they say, is alive and well and living in London.
Hanff was an American writer, best known as the author of 84, Charing Cross Road, which was adapted for stage, television and film.
Happy Birthday, Bruce Sterling, born 14 April 1954
We’re so intelligent now that we’re too smart to survive. We’re so well informed that we lost all sense of meaning. We know the price of everything, but we’ve lost all sense of value. We have everyone under surveillance, but we’ve lost all sense of shame.
Forget trying to pass for normal. Follow your geekdom. Embrace nerditude.
The future is unwritten. there are best case scenarios. There are worst-case scenarios. both of them are great fun to write about if you’ re a science fiction novelist, but neither of them ever happens in the real world. What happens in the real world is always a sideways-case scenario. World-changing marvels to us, are only wallpaper to our children.
If poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world, science fiction writers are its court jesters. We are Wise Fools who can leap, caper, utter prophecies, and scratch ourselves in public. We can play with Big Ideas because the garish motley of our pulp origins make us seem harmless.
In a world so redolent with wonder, how can we allow ourselves to conduct our daily lives with so little insight, such absence of dignity?
Sterling is an American science fiction author who is best known for his novels and his work on the Mirrorshades anthology. This work helped to define the cyberpunk genre
Happy Birthday, Mireille Guiliano, born 14 April 1946
I can never leave a book store without buying a book. I read four or five at a time.
We only have one body, and you have to show respect for it.
Make treating yourself a priority and always remember your life is happening now. Don’t put off all your dreams and pleasures to another day. In any balanced personal definition of success there has to be a powerful element of living life in the present.
French women typically think about good things to eat. American women typically worry about bad things to eat.
Since the pleasure of most foods is in the first few bites, eat one thing on your plate at a time, at least at the start of the meal when you can concentrate and enjoy the full flavors.
Don’t let a busy life or electronic communication gadgets be your excuse for excess solitude - it’s a talent, but a rare one, to make yourself laugh.
Intelligence, knowledge or experience are important and might get you a job, but strong communication skills are what will get you promoted.
Guiliano is a French-American author. She is the author of five books including French Women Don’t Get Fat, and most recently, French Women Don’t Get Facelifts.
Scrabble Day is celebrated on 13 April. Its creator, Alfred Mosher Butts, was born 13 April 1899. Approximately 150 million Scrabble sets have been sold worldwide.
Nine Literary Scrabble Quotes
Remember, when you don’t know what to do, it never hurts to play Scrabble. It’s like reading the I Ching or tea leaves. ~Kelly Link
Palindrome as well. My sister’s name is Hannah. Father liked word games. He was fourteen times World Scrabble Champion. When he died, we buried him at Queenzieburn to make use of the triple word score. ~Jasper Fforde
Jeff is the annoying kind of Scrabble player who plays a lot of obscure two-letter words that shouldn’t count but for whatever reason are considered legitimate. My father is the annoying kind of Scrabble player who takes hours with his turn and then plays deliberately misspelled words that no one has the heart to call him out on. I am the perfect Scrabble player, both serious and considerate. Obviously I lost by a lot. ~Bennett Madison
Children are the most desirable opponents at scrabble as they are both easy to beat and fun to cheat. ~Fran Lebowitz
They obey their mothers. They don’t go into a dark cellar without expecting to be strangled by a zombie. They bless themselves constantly. And us, what do we do? We watch television and play Scrabble. So there it is, children of light and darkness. ~Don DeLillo
She was sitting by herself at a card table with a Scrabble game half finished, an empty coffee cup beside her, looking annoyed as hell. ~Mickey Spillane
The thing Richie remembered about Jimmy Cullum, a quiet little boy who also wore spectacles, was that he liked to play Scrabble on rainy days. Not going to be playing Scrabble any more, Richie thought, and shivered a little. ~Stephen King
The thoughts that came to her, of Jeffrey, were not really thoughts at all — they were more like alterations in her body. This could happen [in] the middle of Monopoly games, Scrabble games, card games. She went right on talking, listening, working, keeping track of the children, while some memory of her secret life disturbed her like a radiant explosion. ~Alice Munro
Brian says you’re very competitive…. He said he wouldn’t want to play Scrabble with you. ~Jonathan Franzen
Happy Birthday, Seamus Heaney, born 13 April 1939, died 30 August 2013
I can’t think of a case where poems changed the world, but what they do is they change people’s understanding of what’s going on in the world.
Debate doesn’t really change things. It gets you bogged in deeper. If you can address or reopen the subject with something new, something from a different angle, then there is some hope…. That’s something poetry can do for you, it can entrance you for a moment above the pool of your own consciousness and your own possibilities.
If you have the words, there’s always a chance that you’ll find the way.
Poetry cannot afford to lose its fundamentally self-delighting inventiveness, its joy in being a process of language as well as a representation of things in the world.
I’ve always associated the moment of writing with a moment of lift, of joy, of unexpected reward.
Heaney was an Irish poet, playwright, translator, and lecturer. He won the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Happy Birthday, John Braine, born 13 April 1922, died 28 October 1986
To be shockingly original with your first novel, you don’t have to discover a new technique: Simply write about people as they are and not as the predominantly liberal and humanist literary establishment believes that they ought to be.
If the original of any of your characters would win a libel case against you, you have failed to create a real character.
Writing’s not always a pleasure to me, but if I’m not writing every other pleasure loses its savour.
Being a writer in a library is rather like being a eunuch in a harem.
There isn’t, unfortunately, any way of discovering whether you can write a publishable novel except by writing it.
The worst that can happen to the writer who tries and fails – unless he has inflated or mystical notion of what it is to be a novelist – is that he will discover, for him, writing is not the best place to seek joy and satisfaction. More people fail at becoming successful businessmen than fail at becoming artists.
Solitude and quiet are highly desirable, but the lack of them is no barrier to writing… The will to work builds all the seclusion that one needs.
Braine was an English novelist, associated with the Angry Young Men movement. His novels include Room at the Top, The Crying Game, and The Jealous God. He also wrote Becoming a Writer and How to Write a Novel.
Happy Birthday, Beverly Cleary, born 12 April 1916
I didn’t start out writing to give children hope, but I’m glad some of them found it.
I had a very wise mother. She always kept books that were my grade level in our house.
One rainy Sunday when I was in the third grade, I picked up a book to look at the pictures and discovered that even though I did not want to, I was reading. I have been a reader ever since.
I was a great reader of fairy tales. I tried to read the entire fairy tale section of the library.
Quite often somebody will say, What year do your books take place? and the only answer I can give is, In childhood.
I don’t necessarily start with the beginning of the book. I just start with the part of the story that’s most vivid in my imagination and work forward and backward from there.
I was a very observant child. The boys in my books are based on boys in my neighbourhood growing up.
Cleary is an American author of books for young adults and children. She has sold 91 million copies worldwide. She won the 1981 National Book Award for Ramona and Her Mother and the 1984 Newbery Medal for Dear Mr. Henshaw.
Pain is filtered in a poem so that it becomes finally, in the end, pleasure.
I is for immortality, which for some poets is a necessary compensation. Presumably miserable in this life, they will be remembered when the rest of us are long forgotten. None of them asks about the quality of that remembrance—what it will be like to crouch in the dim hallways of somebody’s mind until the moment of recollection occurs, or to be lifted off suddenly and forever into the pastures of obscurity. Most poets know better than to concern themselves with such things. They know the chances are better than good that their poems will die when they do and never be heard of again, that they’ll be replaced by poems sporting a new look in a language more current.
A great many people seem to think writing poetry is worthwhile, even though it pays next to nothing and is not as widely read as it should be.
A life is not sufficiently elevated for poetry, unless, of course, the life has been made into an art.
From the reader’s view, a poem is more demanding than prose.
Poetry is, first and last, language - the rest is filler.
Strand is a Canadian-born American poet, essayist, and translator. He was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1990.