It's great to win a few prizes early on. It helps a writer to get noticed and to get some sales. It can also be a pain in the arse because it gets in the way of the quiet, contemplative time every writer needs, but which is particularly important when you are a new writer finding your own voice, and pursuing the things that interest you.
One of the problems with watching TV is that you've got a fairly low level of language operating all the time. Quite a small vocabulary and really no conceptual or abstract thinking. That's an issue. If you've got a wide vocabulary, you can learn. The complexities of grammar, in themselves, force you to think about time in a particular way. Force you to widen your outlook on the world.
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Growing up is difficult. Strangely, even when we have stopped growing physically, we seem to have to keep on growing emotionally, which involves both expansion and shrinkage, as some parts of us develop and others must be allowed to disappear...Rigidity never works; we end up being the wrong size for our world.
I didn't want to be in the teeming mass of the working class.[...] I didn't want to live and die in the same place with only a week at the seaside in between. I dreamed of escape - but what is terrible about industrialisation is that it makes escape necessary. In a system that generates masses, individualism is the only way out. But then what happens to community - to society?
I did not realize that when money becomes a core value, then education drives towards utility or that the life of the mind will not be counted as good unless it produces measurable results. That public services will no longer be important. That an alternative life to getting and spending will become very difficult as cheap housing disappears. That when communities are destroyed only misery and intolerance are left.
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Writing objects to the lie that life is small. Writing is a cell of energy. Writing defines itself. Writing draws its viewer in for longer than an instant. Writing exhibits boldness. Writing restores power to exalt, unnerve, shock, and transform us. Writing does not imitate life, it anticipates life.
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Life is fragmentary, and the pattern that creativity can offer is not one that is imposed, not something rigid, but rather something which can reveal the intrinsic patterns of that fragmentation. Things are in a perpetual dance, but there is an order. It's not really random at all.
There is still a popular fantasy, long since disproved by both psychoanalysis and science, and never believed by any poet or mystic, that it is possible to have a thought without a feeling. It isn't. When we are objective we are subjective too. When we are neutral we are involved. When we say 'I think' we don't leave our emotions outside the door. To tell someone not to be emotional is to tell them to be dead.
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For my part, I think we need more emotion, not less. But I think, too, that we need to educate people in how to feel. Emotionalism is not the same as emotion. We cannot cut out emotion - in the economy of the human body, it is the limbic, not the neural, highway that takes precedence. We are not robots...but we act as though all our problems would be solved if only we had no emotions to cloud our judgement.
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For me, language is a freedom. As soon as you have found the words with which to express something, you are no longer incoherent, you are no longer trapped by your own emotions, by your own experiences; you can describe them, you can tell them, you can bring them out of yourself and give them to somebody else. That is an enormously liberating experience...
i realize that the future, though invisible, has weight. We are in the gravitational pull of past and future. It takes huge energy -speed of light power- to break the gravitational pull. How many of us ever get free of our orbit? We tease ourselves with fancy notions of free will and self-help courses that direct our lives. We believe we can be our own miracles, and just a lottery win or Mr.right will make the world new.
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In this life you have to be your own hero. By that I mean you have to win whatever it is that matters to you by your own strength and in your own way. Like it or not, you are alone in a forest, just like all those fairy tales that begin with a hero who's usually stupid but somehow brave, or who might be clever, but weak as a straw, and away he goes (don't worry about the gender), cheered on by nobody, via the castles and the bears, and the old witch and the enchanted stream, and by and by (we hope) he'll find the treasure.
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Men will gamble and plot and fight and fall, all for the winning of a trophy. A woman's heart, a piece of land, a kingdom, a lordship, a contract, a ship, an egg -- it hardly matters the which or the what, as soon as it is seen to be desired by one, another will make a prize of it.
Yes, we are [friends] and I do like to pass the day with you in serious and inconsequential chatter. I wouldn't mind washing up beside you, dusting beside you, reading the back half of the paper while you read the front. We are friends and I would miss you, do miss you and think of you very often. I don't want to lose this happy space where I have found someone who is smart and easy and doesn't bother to check their diary when we arrange to meet.
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If the sun is shining, stand in it- yes, yes, yes. Happy times are great, but happy times pass- they have to- because time passes. The pursuit of happiness is more elusive; it is life-long, and it is not goal-centred. What you are pursuing is meaning- a meaningful life... There are times when it will go so wrong that you will be barely alive, and times when you realise that being barely alive, on your own terms, is better than living a bloated half-life on someone else's terms.
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It's better to think of my life like that"" part miracle, part madness. It's better if I accept that I can't control any of the things that matter. My life is a trail of shipwrecks and set-sails. There are no arrivals, no destinations; there are only sandbanks and shipwreck; then another boat, another tide.
Reading things that are relevant to the facts of your life is of limited value. The facts are, after all, only the facts, and the yearning passionate part of you will not be met there. That is why reading ourselves as a fiction as well as fact is so liberating. The wider we read the freer we become.
One of the many, many things I hate about war is how it trivializes the personal. The big themes, the broad sweep, the emergency measures, the national identity, all the things that a particular kind of man with a particular kind of power urge adores, these are the things that become important. War gives the lie to the personal, drowns it in meetings, alarms, sacrifices. The personal is only allowed to return as death.
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He: What's the matter with you? Me: Nothing. Nothing was slowly clotting my arteries. Nothing slowly numbing my soul. Caught by nothing, saying nothing, nothingness becomes me. When I am nothing they will say surprised in the way that they are forever surprised, "but there was nothing the matter with her.
We're here, there, not here, not there, swirling like specks of dust, claiming for ourselves the rights of the universe. Being important, being nothing, being caught in lives of our own making that we never wanted. Breaking out, trying again, wondering why the past comes with us, wondering how to talk about the past at all.
I had lines inside me, a string of guiding lights. I had language. Fiction and poetry are doses, medicines. What they heal is the rupture reality makes on the imagination. I had been damaged, and a very important part of me had been destroyed - that was my reality, the facts of my life. But on the other side of the facts was who I could be, how I could feel. And as long as I had words for that, images for that, stories for that, then I wasn't lost.
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I can't be a priest because although my heart is as loud as hers I can pretend no answering riot. I have shouted to God and the Virgin, but they have not shouted back and I'm not interested in the still small voice. Surely a god can meet passion with passion? She says he can. Then he should.
De ce sa scap? De prezent? Da, de acest prim-plan care-mi ascunde ce se intampla in perspectiva. Daca am spirit sau suflet, spuneti-i cum vreti, nu e unul singur, ci multiplu. Nu se poate multumi cu limitarea, el vrea spatiu. Poate sa locuiasca in numeroase trupuri schimbatoare, intrate in putrefactie, din viitor sau din trecut. (...) Otravita sau nu, mercurul ma face sa gandesc astfel. Daca-i dati drumul, va tremura in clone pe toata podeaua, dar il puteti aduna la loc si nu se va vedea nicio sutura, nicio urma c-ar fi fost imprastiat. Aveti o singura viata sau nenumarate vieti, depinde ce va doriti.' (pag 183)
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The Buddhists say there are 149 ways to God. I'm not looking for God, only for myself, and that is far more complicated. God has had a great deal written about Him; nothing has been written about me. God is bigger, like my mother, easier to find, even in the dark. I could be anywhere, and since I can't describe myself I can't ask for help.
Do you wake up as I do, having forgotten what it is that hurts or where, until you move? There is a second of consciousness that is clean again. A second that is you, without memory or experience, the animal warm and waking into a brand new world. There is the sun dissolving the dark, and light as clear as music, filling the room where you sleep and the other rooms behind your eyes.
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But where was God now, with heaven full of astronauts, and the Lord overthrown? I miss God. I miss the company of someone utterly loyal. I still don't think of God as my betrayer. The servants of God, yes, but servants by their very nature betray. I miss God who was my friend. I don't even know if God exists, but I do know that if God is your emotional role model, very few human relationships will match up to it. I have an idea that one day it might be possible, I thought once it had become possible, and that glimpse has set me wandering, trying to find the balance between earth and sky. If the servants hadn't rushed in and parted us, I might have been disappointed, might have snatched off the white samite to find a bowl of soup. As it is, I can't settle, I want someone who is fierce and will love me until death and know that love is as strong as death, and be on my side for ever and ever. I want someone who will destroy and be destroyed by me. There are many forms of love and affection, some people can spend their whole lives together without knowing each other's names. Naming is a difficult and time-consuming process; it concerns essences, and it means power. But on the wild nights who can call you home? Only the one who knows your name. Romantic love has been diluted into paperback form and has sold thousands and millions of copies. Somewhere it is still in the original, written on tablets of stone. I would cross seas and suffer sunstroke and give away all I have, but not for a man, because they want to be the destroyer and never the destroyed.
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Everyone who tells a story tells it differently, just to remind us that everybody sees it differently. Some people say there are true things to be found, some people say all kinds of things can be proved. I don't believe them. The only thing for certain is how complicated it all is, like string full of knots. It's all there but hard to find the beginning and impossible to fathom the end. The best you can do is admire the cat's cradle, and maybe knot it up a bit more.
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On the banks of the Euphrates find a secret garden cunningly walled. There is an entrance, but the entrance is guarded. There is no way in for you. Inside you will find every plant that grows growing circular-wise like a target. Close to the heart is a sundial and at the heart an orange tree. This fruit has tripped up athletes while others have healed their wounds. All true quests end in this garden, where the split fruit pours forth blood and the halved fruit is a full bowl for travelers and pilgrims. To eat of the fruits means to leave the garden because the fruit speaks of other things, other longings. So at dusk you leave the place you love, not knowing if you can ever return, knowing you can never return by the same way as this. It may be, some other day, that you will open the gate by chance, and find yourself again on the other side of the wall.
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Credeam ca vrea sa calatoreasca, dar imi spune adevaruri pe care le stiu deja, ca nu e nevoie sa plece de pe insula ca sa vada lumea, ca are destule mari si orase in minte. Daca e asa, daca toti le avem, atunci poate ca lumea aceasta, luna si stelele sunt si ele plasmuiri ale mintii, insa ale unei minti cu o deschidere mai larga decat a noastra. Chiar daca cineva ma gandeste, sunt liber sa fac ce vreau. Nu poate fi precum sahul universul acesta care parca s-a gandit la toate, ci mai degraba ca un teatru cu decoruri miscatoare, unde putem trece si prin pereti, daca vrem, dar nu o facem. Caci ramanem fideli propriului sentiment al dramaticului.' (pag 148)
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Bigger questions, questions with more than one answer, questions without an answer are the hardest to cope with in silence. Once asked they do not evaporate and leave the mind to its serener musings. Once asked they gain dimension and texture, trip you on the stairs, wake you at night-time. A black hole sucks up its surroundings and even light never escapes. Better then to ask no questions? Better then to be a contented pig than an unhappy Socrates? Since factory farming is tougher on pigs than it is on philosophers I'll take a chance.
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When I say 'I will be true to you' I am drawing a quiet space beyond the reach of other desires. No-one can legislate love; it cannot be given orders or cajoled into service. Love belongs to itself, deaf to pleading and unmoved by violence. Love is not something you can negotiate. Love is the one thing stronger than desire and the only proper reason to resist temptation... When I say 'I will be true to you' I must mean it in spite of the formalities, instead of the formalities.
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Who taught you to write in blood on my back? Who taught you to use your hands as branding irons? You have scored your name into my shoulders, referenced me with your mark. The pads of your fingers have become printing blocks, you tap a message on to my skin, tap meaning into my body.
Explore me, ' you said and I collected my ropes, flasks and maps, expecting to be back home soon. I dropped into the mass of you and I cannot find the way out. Sometimes I think I'm free, coughed up like Jonah from the whale, but then I turn a corner and recognise myself again. Myself in your skin, myself lodged in your bones, myself floating in the cavities that decorate every surgeon's wall. That is how I know you. You are what I know.
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She arches her body like a cat on a stretch. She nuzzles her cunt into my face like a filly at the gate. She smells of the sea. She smells of rockpools when I was a child. She keeps a starfish in there. I crouch down to taste the salt, to run my fingers around the rim. She opens and shuts like a sea anemone. She's refilled each day with fresh tides of longing.
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You have a dress with a decolletage to emphasise your breasts. I suppose the cleavage is the proper focus but what I wanted to do was to fasten my index finger and thumb at the bolts of your collar bone, push out, spreading the web of my hand until it caught against your throat. You asked me if I wanted to strangle you. No, I wanted to fit you, not just in the obvious ways but in so many indentations.
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The tamer my love, the farther away it is from love. In fierceness, in heat, in longing, in risk, I find something of love's nature. In my desire for you, I burn at the right temperature to walk through love's fire. So when you ask me why I cannot love you more calmly, I answer that to love you calmly is not to love you at all.
No. Take the heart first. Then you don't feel the cold so much. The pain so much. With the heart gone, there's no reason to stay your hand. Your eyes can look on death and not tremble. It's the heart that betrays us, makes us weep, makes us bury our friends when we should be marching ahead. It's the heart that sickens us at night and makes us hate who we are. It's the heart that sings old songs and brings memories of warm days.
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