(i) [I] don’t like to write, but [I] like having written. (ii) I like having written a book, but I can’t say I enjoy the actual work. (iii) I enjoy having written. (iv) I loathe writing, but I love having written. (v) Most writers don’t like writing; they like having written.
— Frank Norris (i)
quoted in The Bellman (1915)
— Cornelia Otis Skinner (ii)
quoted in Lubbock Avalanche Journal (1964)
— Clive Barnes (iii)
quoted in Wall Street Journal (1968)
— Irene Kampen (iv)
quoted in Press Telegram (1976)
— Gloria Steinem (v)
as attributed, in Idaho State Journal (1976)
There is a disconnect between the marvellous reality, extraordinary of the ordinary, of the lives we lead and the dulling density, the prosaic paucity of the minutiae of what we see as ‘work’. In reality, there are possibilities of magical beauties in the cafés, in angled augmentations of sunlight slaking the surfaces of walls, in the lived lives of breathing trees seen in all the in-betweens. Look, says the Muse, with fingers at the nape of your neck. There is the sudden comprehension of truths.
We can sense a great onslaught of words. Every one makes sense, in its own way. Together, they have a gathered integrity, perplexity, connected wholeness. We can sit and consider all the words that might be integral to some space, some time, some space-in-time, or space-time: the whole is it. Some days, some times or situations, we live in atomic moments. Words take on quantum satisfaction: everything, like now, fits, somehow.
We can practice the art of instancy in the looking or the being seen. Even the nature of the urban — its fabric and its flesh — can sense us. We can be aware of moments and how they play us, and how they play through us, whispering. All the instances we ever may experience, if we practice seeing, are neutrino particles in their rush: all this flow of interwoven sensory snapshots of so much more than photographic sheen.
From the whisper edge of the succinct, where moments play at the periphery of perception, where descriptions hang in space, there is the faint and furious burn of the suddenly known: the precision selection of a strand of words presents itself — a perceptive sudden connection to the world. The marvellous reality may be seen in densely drenched consideration and delineation. If we practice the art of instancy, we can capture the air itself in words.
Yet, in paucity, conversely, what can we know if we’re sunk in the sea sands of what we see as ‘work’? Our lungs are filled with saltwater and, instead of breathing words, we hardly breathe at all. Words, tangible or ethereal-ephemeral, cannot be seen as ‘work’: worked and woven, yes, but never ‘work’.
Reference (for all article epigraph quotes):
Quote Investigator (2014), Don’t like to write, but like having written [Online]. Available from: www.quoteinvestigator.com/2014/10/18/on-writing (Accessed Mar 6, 2016).