“And on the subject of burning books: I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength or their powerful political connections or their great wealth, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and have refused to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles. So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.”

A Man Without a Country | Kurt Vonnegut (via lifeofliterature)

The Writing Crux

A lot of people write when they have nothing to say. There are two ways to fix this: write until you have something to say and then learn how to edit your work.

However, this advice comes with a warning: endurance and cutting require more thought/talent/courage than writing does.

Sometimes it’s a little like holding up a mirror to that awkwardly ugly part of your body. You know, the one with the mutant hair and the mole and the strange skin? Yep, that’s the one. Now take a good long look. Look until it’s not a joke and you’re not horrified. Look until you understand that part of you doesn’t define you and it isn’t an excuse for who you think you can be.

But don’t forget, it’s still a part of you.

Now go. Be fruitful. Sharpen your knives. Polish your mirrors. Write.

About Chekov’s Gun

Chekhov’s gun is a literary technique whereby an element is introduced early in the story, but its significance does not become clear until later in the narrative. The concept is named after Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, who mentioned several variants of the concept in letters. Chekhov himself makes use of this principle in Uncle Vanya, in which a pistol is introduced early on as a seemingly irrelevant prop and, towards the end of the play, becomes much more important as Uncle Vanya, in a rage, grabs it and tries to commit homicide.

The phrase “Chekhov’s gun” is often interpreted as a method of foreshadowing, but the concept can also be interpreted as meaning “do not include any unnecessary elements in a story.” Failure to observe the rule of “Chekhov’s gun” may be cited by critics when discussing plot holes.

More on Wikipedia.

“When I first began writing I felt that writing should go on I still do feel that it should go on but when I first began writing I was completely possessed by the necessity that writing should go on and if writing should go on what had commas and semi-colons to do with it what had commas to do with it what had periods to do with it what had small letters and capitals to do with writing going on which was at the time the most profound need I had in connection with writing.”

- Gertrude Stein

“A good poem is like a sacred mind-altering substance: you take it into your system, and it carries you beyond ordinary ways of understanding.”

- Kim Rosen

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