Friday, July 21, 2017

John Gardner

Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.
― John Gardner

True happiness involves the full use of one's power and talents.
― John Gardner

Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.
― John Gardner

“Self pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.”
― John Gardner

“When I was a child I truly loved:
Unthinking love as calm and deep
As the North Sea. But I have lived,
And now I do not sleep.”
― John Gardner, Grendel

“I understand that the world was nothing: a mechanical chaos of casual, brute enmity on which we stupidly impose our hopes and fears. I understood that, finally and absolutely, I alone exist. all the rest, I saw, is merely what pushes me, or what I push against, blindly - as blindly as all that is not myself pushes back. I create the whole universe, blink by blink.”
― John Gardner, Grendel

“They watch on, evil, incredibly stupid, enjoying my destruction.

'Poor Grendel's had an accident,' I whisper. 'So may you all.”
― John Gardner, Grendel

“We read five words on the first page of a really good novel and we begin to forget that we are reading printed words on a page; we begin to see images.”
― John Gardner, On Becoming a Novelist

“People will tell you that writing is too difficult, that it's impossible to get your work published, that you might as well hang yourself. Meanwhile, they'll keep writing and you'll have hanged yourself.”
― John Gardner

“As every writer knows... there is something mysterious about the writer's ability, on any given day, to write. When the juices are flowing, or the writer is 'hot', an invisible wall seems to fall away, and the writer moves easily and surely from one kind of reality to another... Every writer has experienced at least moments of this strange, magical state. Reading student fiction one can spot at once where the power turns on and where it turns off, where the writer writes from 'inspiration' or deep, flowing vision, and where he had to struggle along on mere intellect.”
― John Gardner, On Becoming a Novelist

“I couldn't go on, too conscious all at once of my whispering, my eternal posturing, always transforming the world with words--changing nothing.”
― John Gardner, Grendel

“As a rule of thumb I say, if Socrates, Jesus and Tolstoy wouldn't do it, don't.”
― John Gardner

“There is no limit to desire but desire's needs.”
― John Gardner, Grendel

“The primary subject of fiction is and has always been human emotion, values, and beliefs.”
― John Gardner, The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers

“Talking, talking. Spinning a web of words, pale walls of dreams, between myself and all I see.”
― John Gardner, Grendel

“So childhood too feels good at first, before one happens to notice the terrible sameness, age after age.”
― John Gardner, Grendel

“Nothing can be more limiting to the imagination than only writing about what you know”
― John Gardner

“One must be just a little crazy to write a great novel. One must be capable of allowing the darkest, most ancient and shrewd parts of one’s being to take over the work from time to time.”
― John Gardner

“Find a pile of gold and sit on it.”
― John Gardner, Grendel

“I look down past the stars to a terrifying darkness. I seem to recognize the place, but it's impossible. "Accident," I whisper. I will fall. I seem to desire the fall, and though I fight it with all my will I know in advance I can't win. Standing baffled, quaking with fear, three feet from the edge of a nightmare cliff, I find myself, incredibly, moving towards it. I look down, down, into bottomless blackness, feeling the dark power moving in me like an ocean current, some monster inside me, deep sea wonder, dread night monarch astir in his cave, moving me slowly to my voluntary tumble into death.”
― John Gardner, Grendel

“I cannot believe such monstrous energy of grief can lead to nothing!”
― John Gardner, Grendel

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