Don't be scared, " Willa Mae said. I looked at her. "Aren't you scared?" Willa Mae looked at me and said, "Shoot. Only thing I'm afraid of is that I'm going to do something I'll regret." "Being scared is just one more thing to turn into what you want it to be, " Willa Mae said. "The thing with fear is, it's like anger. You've got to change it into something else. Make it your weapon. Some can just turn it into smarts. The best of 'em can turn fear and anger into love." She looked out toward our neighborhood. "I'm not there yet.
I think irony precludes really feeling deeply about anything. I just didn't want to be that kind of writer who found nothing that wasn't worth indictment. I admire Willa Cather so much because she was unafraid to have big feelings and put them on the page. I just want to be able to believe in things.
It loved to happen, " she repeated. "Isn't that it? What you were saying to Mum the other night? You know, " she insisted when Willa must have looked blank. Louie lowered her voice. "About love and everything. You said it just happens, it isn't something you plan for or know about. It comes from outside and changes everything. It loved to happen. Like you and me.
Write about winter in the summer. Describe Norway as Ibsen did, from a desk in Italy; describe Dublin as James Joyce did, from a desk in Paris. Willa Cather wrote her prairie novels in New York City; Mark Twain wrote Huckleberry Finn in Hartford, Connecticut. Recently, scholars learned that Walt Whitman rarely left his room.
... I was reminded of a remark of Willa Cather's, that you can't paint sunlight, you can only paint what it does with shadows on a wall. If you examine a life, as Socrates has been so tediously advising us to do for so many centuries, do you really examine a life, or do you examine the shadows it casts on other lives? Entity or relationships? Objective reality or the vanishing point of a multiple perspective exercise? Prism or the rainbows it refracts? And what if you're the wall? What if you never cast a shadow or rainbow of your own, but have only caught those cast by others?