Archive for the ‘Meaning’ Category

Two or Three Great and Simple Images

Posted: Sunday, November 27, 2011 in Art, Meaning
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‎”A man’s work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.” —Albert Camus

(Your editor, of course, wishes Camus had not insisted the masculine pronoun; otherwise, this quotation was too good not to post.)


Gretchen Rubin at The Happiness Project has worked through Flannery O’Connor‘s letters and found eight wonderful little gems of advice on writing fiction.Click here.  My favorite:

I know that the writer does call up the general and maybe the essential through the particular, but this general and essential is still deeply embedded in mystery. It is not answerable to any of our formulas.

Literary analysis is a wonderful thing, but if the story is a great story it will always ultimately evade analysis. And it will not be replicable by formula.

Excellent comments, too, after the post. Recommended.

Andrew Miller has a good article on how to create fictional characters in today’s Guardian. Click here. Very smart; well worth reading.


“No one writes for long without understanding that they are entering mystery and will never leave it.”

“At its simplest, its barest, characterisation is about a writer’s grasp of what a human being is. When we set out to write, we do not do so out of a sense of certainty but out of a kind of radical uncertainty. We do not set out saying: ‘The world is like this.’ But asking: ‘How is the world?'”

Henry David Thoreau was born on this date in 1817, so it seems worth mentioning you can read his truly wonderful book, Walden, beautifully formatted and annotated, for free. You can also download Walden as an audiobook for free here.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” –from Walden

In a better world, we would all read Walden (and Civil Disobedience!) pretty damn often.

“Busy men find life very short… the part of life we really live is small.” — Seneca, “On the Shortness of Life

Seneca’s thinking in “Shortness”  is, of course, how to live well even given the limits of time,  that we so often forget passes quickly. His meditations are a useful pleasure on a holiday like today–take a few minutes, read some chewy Stoic-y goodness and then take his good advice as permission to live a less harassed life.

(And, if you get interested in Seneca, check out this article in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.)


Posted: Friday, December 31, 2010 in Ancient Literature, Commonplace Book, Meaning, Poems, Poetry
Tags: , ,

To what shall
I liken the world?
Moonlight, reflected
In dewdrops,
Shaken from a crane’s bill.


These are the best books Bat Terrier has read this year. Of course, the year isn’t done, and this list might change. But so far, these books all look like contenduhs.

Click for reviews etc.

(Full disclosure: No books by friends listed here.)