Categories
Writing

Notebooks are ‘a forgotten account with accumulated interest’

Listening seeds ideas. Overheard dialogue, especially misheard words, are auditory stimulants for the imagination. Said Joan Didion in her essay “On Keeping a Notebook:”

“See enough and write it down, I tell myself, and then some morning when the world seems drained of wonder, some day when I am only going through the motions of doing what I am supposed to do… on that bankrupt morning I will simply open my notebook and there it will all be, a forgotten account with accumulated interest, paid passage back to the world out there…”

From the dull to the senseless, an ambient awareness latches on to snippets of interestingness in any conversation. The journal archives and then whispers for a second look. Simply rereading our notes gives them a new form, turning the slightest quip into a saintly significance.

All writing is thinking.

“I don’t know what I think until I try to write it down.”

Joan Didion
Categories
Arts Creativity Quotes

Why simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” wrote Leonardo Da Vinci. He would paint over work that didn’t meet up with his expectations. Not surprisingly, Steve Jobs adopted da Vinci’s maxim in designing Apple computers.

Simplicity is the reduction of complexity. It unclutters the multiplicity of crayons and fence-sitting gray space in the middle and replaces objects with mere black and white.

Simplicity comes from revision

Simplicity retains the essence and deletes the rest. Take a look at the sequence of Picasso’s drawing of a bull. He pairs down the bull from full detail down to its fundamental shape.

The simplicity of design directly relates to the clarity of design — retained and kept implicit is the main thing which gets featured in the work.

'Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication'

Only when we remove the excess can we appreciate the beauty of simplicity. What results only appears natural because all the explaining was wiped our during reduction.

The experts know what to ignore.

Categories
Creativity Life & Philosophy Writing

Don’t hold that thought 💬✒️

When in doubt, speak up. Talking is a tool for excavating thoughts—microphone in hand or not. It’s only after the speaking occurs do the words begin to flow.

The same goes for writing. One doesn’t need an audience in order to do it. The movement of the pen gears the brain into motion so that words hit the top of the tongue at precisely the right time.

“The pen is the tongue of the mind.”

Horace

Speaking and writing cue the neural pathways. They lay the groundwork for ideas to germinate and bloom.

Chatter, whether external or internal, are the firsts step in solidifying beliefs and discovering something interesting to say. The real enemy is a chattering brain that hesitates and never spits it out.

Inspiration and perfection are for amateurs–start before you’re ready.

Categories
Books Quotes

Emil Cioran: “We are all geniuses when we dream…”

The Temptation to Exist

“Anyone can escape into sleep, we are all geniuses when we dream, the butcher’s the poet’s equal there.”

Emil Cioran, The Temptation to Exist
Categories
Books Writing

‘Good work only comes through revision’

After a lifetime of hounding authors for advice, I’ve heard three truths from every mouth: (1) Writing is painful— it’s ‘fun’ only for novices, the very young, and hacks; (2) other than a few instances of luck, good work only comes through revision; (3) the best revisers often have reading habits that stretch back before the current age, which lends them a sense of history and raises their standards for quality.”

THE ART OF MEMOIR BY MARY KARR
Categories
Books Productivity & Work Quotes Writing

‘The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it’

'The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it'

“Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it. The more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That’s why we feel so much resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there’d be no resistance.”

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
Categories
Books Quotes Writing

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

“Reading is the creative center of a writer’s life. I take a book with me everywhere I go, and find there are all sorts of opportunities to dip in. The trick is to teach yourself to read in small sips as well as in long swallows. Waiting rooms were made for books—of course! But so are theater lobbies before the show, long and boring checkout lines, and everyone’s favorite, the john. You can even read while you’re driving, thanks to the audiobook revolution. Of the books I read each year, anywhere from six to a dozen are on tape. As for all the wonderful radio you will be missing, come on—how many times can you listen to Deep Purple sing “Highway Star”?

Reading at meals is considered rude in polite society, but if you expect to succeed as a writer, rudeness should be the second-to-least of your concerns. The least of all should be polite society and what it expects. If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway.”

Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Categories
Arts Books Writing

‘The writer feeds his book’

The writer feeds his book, he strengthens the parts of it which are weak, he protects it, but afterwards it is the book that grows, that designates its author's tomb and defends it against the world's clamour and for a while against oblivion. #quotes #proust

The writer feeds his book, he strengthens the parts of it which are weak, he protects it, but afterwards it is the book that grows, that designates its author’s tomb and defends it against the world’s clamour and for a while against oblivion.

Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time
Categories
Books Quotes Writing

Abraham Lincoln on writing

“Writing, the art of communicating thoughts to the mind, through the eye— is the great invention of the world.”

Abraham Lincoln
Categories
Arts Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work Tech

Brian Eno: ‘Try not to get a job’

What would the world look like if everyone was guaranteed a basic income?

For musician Brian Eno, that society would put a lot more emphasis on time well spent.

“Try not to get a job. Try to leave yourself in a position where you do the things you want to do with your time and where you take maximum advantage of wherever your possibilities are.”

Brian Eno

Of course, not everyone can afford to remain jobless; the harsh reality is that work pays the bills and keeps us alive. But as more jobs get outsourced to robots and artificial intelligence, humans will need new ways to think about their responsibility.

What will we do when there’s no work to be done?

Work defines who we are. It forms the nucleus of our identity. However, a jobless world may encourage more innovative thinking about ourselves and our role in a secular, globalized world.  Perhaps it’ll compel some people to pursue more passionate work, the type of vocations that choose them instead of the other way around.

In such a world, we’ll be makers instead of cogs, thinkers instead of algorithmic lemmings. Writes Oliver Burkeman in The Antidote: “There is a positive correlation between the fear of death and the sense of unlived life.”

To work on something we actually enjoy is to live.