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"After a war, there is a moment of hushed silence -- a moment of survivorís relief, you would think, that no one wants to disturb. But itís perhaps just as much a moment of frozen awe of what happened and fear of whatís next. In other words, itís a moment precisely poised between guilt and hope. People here in New York can certainly relate to this -- itís the moment we all experienced just after the 9/11 attacks, when, somewhere under the stupefaction of simple shock, we were all suddenly immersed in a deep sense of human responsibility that emanated both forward and backward."
Jessa Crispin and Dennis Loy Johnson
I lean against the dirty wall and write this in my notebook, and then three seconds later itís clear that itís a wrong thought, of course not really original, definitely not really true, and Iím still looking at the empty tracks because the G train never comes, and I want to figure out, before the party, all the things that writing really is, and all the things that writing really does, or I want to stop thinking about it at all, the way sometimes you want to stop re-imagining someoneís face after youíre not going to see them again.
"I write a great deal about breakups because I've had a number of breakups, and I write about reconciliations too, because I've had a number of those too. What can I say? I write about the emotional life as I've experienced it and as I see it. I write about extreme emotional moments, and extreme psychological moments, not only because they exist and I find them interesting, but because I've lived them."
Sean P. Carroll
"I donít even think I believe in objectivity anymore. No matter how hard you try to gather facts, thereís always a motivation behind the reasons we choose one source over another, and our sources have prejudices and biases too."
Authors donít have last readers when they write diligently about places where people are, and will continue to be, because people like to see themselves and the place where they live reflected back, even in elfin miniature. (This is why, incidentally, I prefer to stay in the world of thoughts and emotions and psychological architecture, because I think that everyone lives there.)
"Something that troubled me after 9/11 was the way many people talked about the irrelevance of fiction in the wake of such a disaster. There was a turn to nonfiction as if from now on it would be a surer, more reliable way of telling us the truth about the world. ... What I believe is that literature, with or without hope, delivers more truth than any government report."
"Iím envious of poets. I feel they are beyond me in the valences they give to language, and I only try to capture their ability to write so beautifully. I think there was a special pressure here to write somewhat poetic prose, give the compression and brevity."
At the holidays, I am reminded of the way that chimpanzees and bonobos reunite with each other after time apart. These apes live in what we primatologists call ďfission-fusion communities,Ē meaning that the larger social unit is constantly breaking up into small parties, with three apes together now, two leaving to join four more, the one left behind rushing over to join three others. Itís like that for humans at the holidays, I think.
Barbara J. King
"I channeled these poems from someplace either completely outside or hidden very deep inside myself. Iím not sure which. Or maybe the answer is both, same thing. The next day or week when Iíd go back to a poem to edit, I almost never remembered what I wrote. The editing process was where all the conscious decisions happened. Iím not claiming to have blacked out and I certainly didnít use alcohol or drugs while writing. I always had a very clear memory of writing, just not of what."
I have spent the past few months combing the catalogs looking for nonfiction that will appeal to teens, even if they're not the intended audience. The end result is a collection of titles ranging from a picture book stunner on Jimi Hendrix (the images must be seen to be believed), to Edith Wharton as literary rock star, to the ďnotorious Benedict Arnold,Ē whose story is a lot more complex then you might think.
"In all my time of writing and reading and talking over poems, be they my own or others', I haven't been able to articulate very well how this thinking proceeds. I'm not really sure at all that these poems are mine, that they are even things I have done."