Saturday, August 2, 2008

Quotes: On "Those Creative Types," and on Risk Taking

"Not to disappoint you, but my troubles are nothing--not for an author, at least. Common blots aside, I have none of the usual Big Artillery: I am not penniless, brilliant, or an orphan; have never been to war, suffered starvation or lashed myself to a mast. My health is adequate, my wife steadfast, my son decent and promising. I am not surrounded by people who don't understand me! on Page One I don't even live in interesting surroundings, such as in a hospital for the insane, or on a tramp steamer, or in at the outset it's flat old Minnesota and I am sitting on the porch of my comfortable farmhouse, composing the flaccid middle of my seventh novel in five years. Seven novels, you exclaim--quite right, but then I didn't finish any of them. I'm grateful for that, and you should be too."

--Leif Enger, So Brave, Young, and Handsome, p. 1
(listen to Leif at the Tattered Cover bookstore)
"When we see the terms artist and creative, we tend to think of the most flamboyant representatives of these two categories....But some of the most creative people do not look artistic at all. They work long hours and are quite practical and unromantic. Have you talked lately with someone who organizes relief efforts after an earthquake has ripped apart an entire region? You don't get any more creative than that, and yet such people appear to be more pragmatic than creative. Forget about such stereotypes...Maybe you have an artistic temperament and maybe you don't. That really doesn't matter. What is important is that you discover your creative gifts and develop them."

--Vinita Hampton Wright, The Soul Tells a Story, p. 22-23
"Much of the creative flatness that surrounds us exists precisely because people have been willing to nurture one part of life but not another....So prepare yourself for full-life engagement. You can embrace this work and never be bored again. Or you can resist [full immersion in it] and suffer one of two fates: you yourself will become numb and boring, or you will exist in that nerve-jangling tension of never quite saying yes or no."

--Vinita Hampton Wright, The Soul Tells a Story, p. 21-22

Disclaimer: I have not read far enough into So Brave, Young, and Handsome yet to ensure that Vinita's diagnosis for Enger's character is correct--but it seems from the back cover like he's going to have to be more adventurous in the rest of the book, so it's a guess. If you want to know if this is the correct diagnosis, read the book yourself, or ask me once I'm done. :)

No comments: