I'd like to begin this post with a big thanks to all who regularly read and to those who contribute via the comments and emails. I think what follows will speak to how fine those contributions are.
In a recent post, I quoted Alan Watts on advice to writers, with a tip o' the hat to Neil Gaiman. Reader reaction to the post was every bit as interesting as the quote itself, setting off a cascade of reaction that expanded and clarified some thought.
I also received a question from San Francisco via Scotland (thanks, Rita!) as to whether Watts really said this at all. As I've not been able to independently verify, I've sent a query off to Mr. Gaiman. We'll see.
If anyone else can confirm or refute, that would be just great.
Always so much harder to prove something didn't happen than it did, said the librarian to the world.
Ed pointed to Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones as another essential source of writing wisdom/inspiration. Here is a set of quotes from Goldberg on GoodReads that speak to the point.
Aditya conjures this great Charles Bukowski quote:
Bukowski explained the phrase in a 1963 letter to John William Corrington: "Somebody at one of these places [...] asked me: 'What do you do? How do you write, create?' You don't, I told them. You don't try. That's very important: 'not' to try, either for Cadillacs, creation or immortality. You wait, and if nothing happens, you wait some more. It's like a bug high on the wall. You wait for it to come to you. When it gets close enough you reach out, slap and kill it. Or if you like its looks you make a pet out of it."
Donna sent along this wonder full lecture of Watts on Haiku:
And Pat remembers a great poem by Gary Snyder:
How Poetry Comes to MeIt comes blundering over the
Boulders at night, it stays
Frightened outside the
Range of my campfire
I go to meet it at the
Edge of the light
Lyle has both a favorite Watts quote and a great Bukowski ancedote, the latter in reaction to Aditya's comment:
One of my favorite Alan Watts quotes, a very brief one, is a quick moment from an interview with Robert Wilson, given at the front of an edition of Zen and the Beat Way. The snippet of dialogue goes as follows:And the Buk:
Robert Wilson: What is Zen?
Alan Watts: [Soft chuckling.]
Robert Wilson: Would you care to enlarge on that?
Alan Watts: [Loud laughing.]
The item in one of the other comments here about Charles Bukowski ("Don't try") brought to mind another Bukowski moment, of sorts -- in The Poet Exposed (a book of photographs of poets by Chris Felver, who has photographed quite a few), the page for Charles Bukowski has no photo of Bukowski, only a photo reproduction of a short handwritten note that reads "No visitors," with Bukowski's signature at the bottom.
Finally, Merrill's deep reaction to Watts' "bird flying over us" provoked this reaction from me:
Full moon shadow the passing wing
idling away this night
of winter moon
translated by David G. Lanoue
Send a single haiku for the Wednesday Haiku feature. Here's how.
Go to the LitRock web site for a list of all 128 songs