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.”