Monday Muse

March 21, 2011

*This week, with the grace of some god — or at the very least, much in the way of Nespresso — I will be working toward conquering ‘The Thing I Fear I Cannot Write” (a phrase I’ll attribute to E. Lockhart, though she may well have been quoting when she exhorted a room full of rapt, wide-eyed writers to tackle just that).

Hence, the Musing. With any luck, it shall ward off the Fear.

It seemed appropriate to kick off this feature with one from The Master himself; the first writer to show me the sublime thrill of fear as entertainment, and to date, the only one who has perfectly articulated for me – and recreated through art, time and again – the urge that humans have toward self-destruction, and how we are, essentially, our own worst demons (sometimes, even, in the best possible ways)….

I’m speaking of Stephen King, obvs.

But then, I couldn’t narrow it down to one. So here are a few of my favorites.

Have at it, writers.

“Fiction is the truth inside the lie.”

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”

“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”

“Stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel [crap] from a sitting position.”

“When asked, ‘How do you write?’ I invariably answer, ‘One word at a time,’ and the answer is invariably dismissed. But that is all it is. It sounds too simple to be true, but consider the Great Wall of China, if you will: one stone at a time, man. That’s all. One stone at a time. But I’ve read you can see that [mother] from space without a telescope.”

“If you write books, you go on one page at a time. We turn from all we know and all we fear. We study catalogues, watch football games, choose Sprint over AT&T. We count the birds in the sky and will not turn from the window when we hear the footsteps behind as something comes up the hall; we say yes, I agree that clouds often look like other things – fish and unicorns and men on horseback – but they are really only clouds. Even when the lightning flashes inside them we say they are only clouds and turn our attention to the next meal, the next pain, the next breath, the next page.
This is how we go on.”







6 Responses to “Monday Muse”

  1. Nova Says:

    Thanks for this post, Micol. The perfect thing to come across Monday morning!

  2. micolostow Says:

    Yes, I think we all need that extra boost from The Muse come Monday morning… 🙂

  3. Yes, excellent! King’s On Writing is still the only book I’ve read on, well, writing, not because I’m lazy or drunk (though I don’t deny either) but because I’m pretty sure no one else is going to sum it all up any better.

    You were excellent on the “Darkness” panel, by the way. I suspect The Master would have been nodding along the whole time.

    • micolostow Says:

      It really is the definitive book on writing, I think. Also, so many of his characters are writers that it’s fairly easy to come across good advice in his fiction, as well. He’s pretty much the be-all and end-all for me.

      Thanks for the kind feedback about the panel – I was sad to have to dash off before talking to ppl.

  4. Lily Golightly Says:

    Like like like!

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