John Gardner | On Becoming a Novelist | #31

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“The shoddy writer wants only publication. He fails to recognize that almost anyone willing to devote between twelve and fourteen hours a day to writing–and there are many such people, will eventually get published. But only the great writer will survive, the writer who fully understands his trade and is willing to take time and the necessary risks, always assuming, of course, that the writer is profoundly honest and at least in his writing, sane. Sanity in a writer is merely this: However stupid he may be in his private life, he never cheats in writing. He never forgets that his audience is, at least ideally, as noble, generous, and tolerant as he is himself (or more so), and never forgets that he is writing about people, so that to turn characters to cartoons, to treat his characters as innately inferior to himself, to forget their reasons for being as they are, to treat them as brutes, is bad art. Sanity also involves taste. The true writer has a great advantage over most other people: He knows the great tradition of literature, which has always been the cutting edge of morality, religion, and politics, to say nothing of social reform. He knows what the greatest literary minds of the past are proud to do and what they will not stoop to, and his knowledge informs his practice.” ― John Gardner
john-gardner-1933-1982
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 . including . 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

John Gardner | On Becoming a Novelist | #17

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“Novel-writing is not so much a profession as a yoga, or “way,” an alternative to ordinary life-in-the-world. Its benefits are quasi-religious—a changed quality of mind and heart, satisfactions no non-novelist can understand—and its rigors generally bring no profit except to the spirit. For those who are authentically called to the profession, spiritual profits are enough.” ― John Gardner, On Becoming a Novelist

john-gardner-1933-1982
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 . including . 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

John Gardner | On Becoming a Novelist | #16

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“Theoretically there’s no reason one should get [writer’s block], if one understands that writing, after all, is only writing, neither something one ought to feel deeply guilty about nor something one ought to be inordinately proud of.”

“The very qualities that make one a writer in the first place contribute to the block: hypersensitivity, stubbornness, insatiability, and so on. Given the general oddity of writers, no wonder there are no sure cures.” ― John Gardner, On Becoming a Novelist
john-gardner-1933-1982
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 . including . 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

John Gardner | On Becoming a Novelist | #15

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“When a writer first begins to write, he or she feels the same first thrill of achievement that the young gambler or oboe player feels: winning a little, losing some, the gambler sees the glorious possibilities, exactly as the young oboist feels an indescribable thrill when he gets a few phrases to sound like real music, phrases implying an infinite possibility for satisfaction and self-expression. As long as the gambler or oboist is only playing at being a gambler or oboist, everything seems possible. But when the day comes that he sets his mind on becoming a professional, suddenly he realizes how much there is to learn, how little he knows.” ― John Gardner, On Becoming a Novelist

john-gardner-1933-1982
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 . including . 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

John Gardner | On Becoming a Novelist | #14

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“Nothing is sillier than the creative writing teacher’s dictum “Write about what you know.” But whether you’re writing about people or dragons, your personal observation of how things happen in the world—how character reveals itself—can turn a dead scene into a vital one. Preliminary good advice might be: Write as if you were a movie camera. Get exactly what is there. All human beings see with astonishing accuracy, not that they can necessarily write it down.” ― John Gardner, On Becoming a Novelist
john-gardner-1933-1982
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 . including . 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

John Gardner | On Becoming a Novelist | #13

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“Daemonic compulsiveness can kill as easily as it can save. The true novelist must be at once driven and indifferent. Van Gogh never sold a painting in his life. Poe came close with poetry and fiction, selling very little. Drivenness only helps if it forces the writer not to suicide but to the making of splendid works of art, allowing him indifference to whether or not the novel sells, whether or not it’s appreciated. Drivenness is trouble for both the novelist and his friends; but no novelist, I think, can succeed without it. Along with the peasant in the novelist, there must be a man with a whip.” ― John Gardner, On Becoming a Novelist
john-gardner-1933-1982
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 . including . 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

Daphne Du Maurier | a love tribute

Daphne du Maurier, Writer, 1907 – 1989

I could fall in love with her now . this moment . looking into her eyes my heart calls as I fall into her eyes.

Not to mention she wrote Rebecca . The Birds . and much more . these just happen to be my favorites. If you want a touch of something more biographical I highly recommend the made for TV Film with Janet McTeer as Gertrude Lawrence (predominantly an actor on the stage) . Julie Andrews did a bio of Gertrude titled “Star” . The film I mean to mention is “Daphne” . Lead actor is Geraldine Somerville (played the Mother to Harry Potter . victim of Voldemort who also took Harry’s father.) Elizabeth McGovern (‘Downton Abbey’) is the wife of Daphne Du Maurier’s publisher . named Doubleday. they become friends . Daphne always wanted more. It’s a love story . filled with life till the end.

Look at her again . Look into her eyes . Daphne is beautiful and her story is hard and would be difficult to live through . but it gives one confidence . her creativity and her perseverance . stretching her imagination . getting around the sharp edges. One of the many brilliant female writers who need recognition . never to be forgot . there are some things we should never forget. – j.k


Romantic Scenes from ‘Daphne’ | Daphne Du Maurier & Gertrude Lawrence

You both give me so much. My life would be gone if I never found you. And an extra special thank you filled with love for Julie Andrews. Many different degrees of separation.