A Eulogy for Cursive

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‘It’s just easier to use this thing, that’s all.’

This here, this electric diary: I’ve grown used to it. Yes, writing in long-hand is nice, too. There’s a magical connection between your hand holding the pen and the pen scribbling forth, marking trails of words on blank pages like tattoos staining virgin skin. And it’s been so much a part of who we are that it won’t go away any time soon.  But fingertips tapping keys, clicking together this appearing stream: it’s not ink but then it is permanent (if still not fireproof).  So I’ll go with this new thing now. How innocent and simple this decision is, and how clear the rationale behind it. Continue reading

Get It

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Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
                            T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

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The Path

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Your most difficult challenge as a writer will be one of motivation–why do you write?  Every serious writer must ask this question, in that dark night of the soul, as Rilke once advised to a young poet, and every writer must face the answer.  What you’ll find when you ask this question (slowly you must ask yourself into a mirror and quickly you must answer) is that there is some sort of goal involved–fame, fortune, publication, recognition from other published and/or artistic writers, love, lust, power, a job, etc.  When we begin treading the path, we have a focal point in the distance that motivates us–a tall tree, a mountain, even climbing up the mountain itself.  But here’s the thing–you’re never going to get to that tall tree, that mountain, or even the top of that mountain.  Not the way you think, anyway.

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Clarity

 

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All literature is about being as clear as possible.  This is an art form of smoky images and emotions, of myths and legends.  Deciphering from a written language, we conjure in our minds the setting, the characters, the actions; and within all of this is its either plain or complex style of language.  Every piece of literature that has been produced and ever will falls prey to being boring and bland to the casual onlooker.  Literature doesn’t have the advantages of the visual to show itself right away–it must be worked for.  And because it can always be whittled down to just blocks of words, it is clarity that separates inspiring, meaningful, and artistic work from the rest.  If a work is clear, it rises out above the page it is printed on and catches us in the dream it is weaving.  Then we miss our train stop and love the book for that. Continue reading

Quote #431

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“Tip #4: Professionalism is not enough; or the Good is the Enemy of the Great

“What is required in our field, more than anything else, is the continuous transgression. Professionalism does not allow for that because transgression has to encompass the possibility of failure, and if you’re professional, your instinct is not to fail, it is to repeat success. Professionalism is a limited goal.”

Milton Glaser