John Gardner On Life and Writing #8

Quote about John Gardner: “The late John Gardner once said that there are only two plots in all of literature. You go on a journey or a stranger comes to town. Since women, for many years, were denied the journey, they were left with only one plot in their lives — to await the stranger. Indeed, there is essentially no picaresque tradition among women novelists. While the latter part of the twentieth century has seen a change of tendency, women’s literature from Austen to Woolf is by and large a literature about waiting, usually for love.” ― Mary Morris, The Illustrated Virago Book of Women Travellers


john-gardner-on-becoming-a-novelist-cover“An excellent plumber is infinitely more admirable than an incompetent philosopher. The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity, and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity, will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water. ”
– John Gardner

Quote about John Gardner: “It was [John Gardner’s] conviction that if the words in the story were blurred because of the author’s insensitivity, carelessness, or sentimentality, then the story suffered from a tremendous handicap. But there was something even worse and something that must be avoided at all costs: if the words and the sentiments were dishonest, the author was faking it, writing about things he didn’t care about or believe in, then nobody could ever care anything about it.” ― Raymond Carver, Call If You Need Me: The Uncollected Fiction and Other Prose


John Gardner (1933–1982) was born in Batavia, New York. His critically acclaimed books include the novels Grendel, The Sunlight Dialogues, and October Light, for which he received the National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as several works of nonfiction and criticism such as On Becoming a Novelist. He was also a professor of medieval literature and a pioneering creative writing teacher whose students included Raymond Carver and Charles Johnson. When I worked at Bennington College in Southern VT I would often see him walking across the campus during the Summer Writing Workshops. Or when his white hair was flowing as he rode his beloved motorcycle on campus or away.  –  j.kiley

Weekly Writing Prompt #86

Weekly Writing Challenge
Poetry and/or Flash Fiction
Apr 24th – #86

DOOR Template Instructions=====================

(5) Words: | STRIKE | SCORE | RACE | TAKE | READ |

*A brilliant idea has been brought to my attention regarding the (5) word prompt. Please feel free to substitute any of the words with a synonym.🎈 🎭 ✨

Poetry Suggestions

Haiku (5 – 7 – 5)
Tanka (5 – 7 – 5 – 7 – 7)
Shadorma (3 – 5 – 3 – 3 – 7 – 5)
6 lines – no rhymes – multiple stanzas [your choice] – just follow meter
Villanelle (19 line poem[no word limit]–2 repeating rhymes & 2 refrains)… Excellent example is Dylan Thomas’s “Do not go gentle into that good night”
Nonet (9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1) progression downward of syllables
Cinquain (2 – 4 – 6 – 8 – 2) five-line poem on any theme – syllables
’28’ Form (4 x 7) or (7 x 4) lines & syllables or lines
Free Verse – No Limitations
See [POETRY PAGE] for further instructions

Fictional Suggestions

Flash Fiction (500 – 300 words)
Any Genre: Mystery – Sci-Fi – Fantasy – Horror – Literary

***One main character
***Room for one scene
***Main conflict in first sentence
***Room for a single plot
***Room for a single, simple theme
***SHOW anything related to the main conflict
***TELL the backstory; don’t “show” it
***Save the twist until the end
***Eliminate all but essential words

Use your best judgement

Proust: ‘Regret’

“Remembrance of Things Past”
Apr 23rd Part #95


“For, like desire, regret seeks not to be analysed but to be satisfied. When one begins to love, one spends one’s time, not in getting to know what one’s love really is, but in making it possible to meet next day. When one abandons love one seeks not to know one’s grief but to offer to her who is causing it that expression of it which seems to one the most moving. One says the things which one feels the need of saying, and which the other will not understand, one speaks for oneself alone. I wrote: ‘I had thought that it would not be possible. Alas, I see now that it is not so difficult.’ I said also: ‘I shall probably not see you again;’ I said it while I continued to avoid shewing a coldness which she might think affected, and the words, as I wrote them, made me weep because I felt that they expressed not what I should have liked to believe but what was probably going to happen.”
― Marcel Proust, In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower

ghost of proust at grave

You Have The POWER

‘You Have The POWER’ © j.kiley ’17

Painting of Emily Dickinson – Unknown

We don’t even have to attribute Emily Dickinson’s lines anymore. She’s become one of the most poignant icons of our new century – a full-blooded renegade – rather than a reclusive spinster with red hair – or a helpless agoraphobic trapped in a room in her father’s house. – Jerome Charyn, The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson (passage not from his book)

It has been told – Emily once invited a young woman into her bedroom/writing room – pretended to lock the door with an invisible key. She stated: “This is Freedom.” Her room (quite like Virginia Woolf later writing the book ‘A Room of One’s Own’) is where she was able to be free to think. Her intellect far surpassed the men of her day – even though women were not given the freedom to do any in depth studying. She was born a natural Genius – overflowing in ideas coming out of her unimaginable depths of perception. – j.kiley ’17

Star Wars: The Last Jedi | official teaser

Holiday Season will bring reminders of Carrie Fisher. She is to appear tamper proof. Her performance stands untouched . un-CGI’d . I can’t wait. The (Original ) Star Wars & now the new Episodes show promise. ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ showed the life is alive with the FORCE. Watching TFA was Such Fun! I loved every moment. Seeing Leia and Han hugging brought tears to my eyes. The anticipation of watching ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ has me over-flowing with pure enthusiasm.

After viewing the trailer . one question in particular peaked my curiosity . when Luke (at least I am making an assumption it is him . who else? I could be wrong but then who else?) turned and spoke . “I only know one truth. It’s time for the Jedi to End.” A rather piquant thing to say. Why did he say this? And to whom? – j.kiley

Star Wars: The Last Jedi | Official Teaser

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Arriving in your galaxy December 15 2017

Standing In Solidarity Against An Insane Foe

Être en solidarité contre un ennemi fou. Il perturbe la liberté en volant de façon inattendue l’innocence. Enlever l’avenir de la vie des gens. Réduire le sentiment de sécurité à ses racines. A quoi bon perpétuer une telle vilie? Laisse la terre en paix. Trouvez votre propre monde. pas ici . N’importe où, mais ici.

Standing in solidarity against an insane foe. It disturbs freedom by unexpectedly stealing innocence. Taking away the future from people’s lives. Cutting off a sense of safety at its roots. What right has anyone to perpetuate such vileness? Leave Earth in Peace. Find your own world . not here . any place else but here.
– j.kiley ’17