Oct 22, 2014

Inspiring words by Rebecca Solnit

From "The Faraway Nearby" by Rebecca Solnit

as introduced by brainpickings

Like many others who turned into writers, I disappeared into books when I was very young, disappeared into them like someone running into the woods. What surprised and still surprises me is that there was another side to the forest of stories and the solitude, that I came out that other side and met people there. Writers are solitaries by vocation and necessity. I sometimes think the test is not so much talent, which is not as rare as people think, but purpose or vocation, which manifests in part as the ability to endure a lot of solitude and keep working. Before writers are writers they are readers, living in books, through books, in the lives of others that are also the heads of others, in that act that is so intimate and yet so alone.

The object we call a book is not the real book, but its potential, like a musical score or seed. It exists fully only in the act of being read; and its real home is inside the head of the reader, where the symphony resounds, the seed germinates. A book is a heart that only beats in the chest of another

I had started out in silence, written as quietly as I had read, and then eventually people read some of what I had written, and some of the readers entered my world or drew me into theirs. I started out in silence and traveled until I arrived at a voice that was heard far away — first the silent voice that can only be read, and then I was asked to speak aloud and to read aloud. When I began to read aloud another voice, once I hardly recognized, emerged from my mouth. Maybe it was more relaxed, because writing is speaking to no one, and even when you’re reading to a crowd, you’re still in that conversation with the absent, the faraway, the not-yet-born, the unknown and the long-gone for whom writers write, the crowd of the absent who hover all around the desk.

Have a good novel!

Oct 13, 2014


I made up my mind long ago to follow one cardinal rule in all my writing—to be clear. I have given up all thought of writing poetically or symbolically or experimentally, or in any of the other modes that might (if I were good enough) get me a Pulitzer prize. I would write merely clearly and in this way establish a warm relationship between myself and my readers, and the professional critics—Well, they can do whatever they wish.

From my close observation of writers… they fall into two groups: 1) those who bleed copiously and visibly at any bad review, and 2) those who bleed copiously and secretly at any bad review.

It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition.

Writing is a lonely job. Even if a writer socializes regularly, when he gets down to the real business of his life, it is he and his typewriter or word processor. No one else is or can be involved in the matter.

It's the writing that teaches you. It's the rotten stories that make it possible for you to write the good stories eventually. Do you think the story I wrote at the age of eleven was any good? Of course not. I had to keep writing after that, on and off, for ten years before I could write
“Nightfall.” Is that too long a time to struggle? Hell, it takes longer than that to learn to be a good surgeon, and being a good surgeon isn't nearly as exciting as being a good writer.

Thinking is the activity I love best, and writing to me is simply thinking through my fingers. I can write up to 18 hours a day. Typing 90 words a minute, I've done better than 50 pages a day. Nothing interferes with my concentration. You could put on an orgy in my office and I wouldn't look up. Well, maybe once.

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.

More quotes by Isaac Asimov

Have a good novel!

Oct 6, 2014

The Lascaux Prize in Short Fiction

The 2014 Lascaux Prize in Short Fiction contest has just opened for submissions. 

Like every year, participants are invited to send their stories, previously published or unpublished. Simultaneous submissions are accepted. 
The winner this year will receive $1,000 prize and the winning story will be published in The Lascaux Review. The winner and all finalists will be published in The 2015 Lascaux Prize Anthology. Two copies of the anthology will be supplied to every writer appearing in it. 
Entry fee is $10. Authors may enter more than once. 
Length should not exceed 10,000 words. All genres and styles are welcome.
Deadline for entries is 31 December. 
Have a good novel!