you become poetry

The Best Stuff I Read This Week

“Writing is impossible … Maybe it’s hopeless … But oh, god, at least it isn’t not writing.”

— Sarah Gailey / “Pep Talk from Sarah Gailey”


“the idea that writing is easy comes from the frank o’hara method. but it is in fact easy, especially if you don’t try to say more than you are thinking…”

— Bernadette Mayer / “Unconditional Death Is a Good Title”


” ‘Start small and work your way up,’ her therapist suggested. ‘Start by hating Officer Big Mac, a class traitor who is keeping the other residents of McDonaldland from getting the sandwiches that they need, and who when the revolution comes will have the burger of his head eaten for his crimes.’ “

— Patricia Lockwood / No One Is Talking About This


“And what do writers do? They write. Not, they write good stuff. Not, they write stuff that gets published. Not, they write stuff that gets prizes. They write.

To claim that mantle gives you a sense of legitimacy. You understand it’s not about prizes. Sometimes getting accolades feels great, but the best thing you can do is to understand that your writing is good whether anybody likes it or not. You don’t have to have an audience for it to be good. You know if it’s good. Once you have that, you can have a healthy relationship to your work because your work is not you. It’s a big part of you. If they took it away, you’d grieve.”

— John Darnielle / The Creative Independent interview


“I write only about two hours every day because that’s all the energy I have, but I don’t let anything interfere with those two hours, at the same time and the same place. This doesn’t mean I produce much out of the two hours. Sometimes I work for months and have to throw everything away, but I don’t think any of that was time wasted. Something goes on that makes it easier when it does come well. And the fact is if you don’t sit there every day, the day it would come well, you won’t be sitting there.”

— Flannery O’Connor / The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor


“The worst part of not writing is that writing always lingers at the edges of it … the story is waiting. It’s perched in the future somewhere and it wants to be real and I am the only one preventing that from happening.”

— Sarah Gailey / “Pep Talk from Sarah Gailey”


“Poetry is not a career — it is a state of being. You become poetry or are in a state of becoming with poetry.”

—Joy Harjo / Catching the Light

What I’m Listening To:

“Heaven is empty
Nobody’s there
I brought my camera
It stayed in its bag”

— Aldous Harding / “Heaven is Empty”

About istsfor manity

i'm a truncated word-person looking for an assemblage of extracted teeth in a tent full of mosquitoes (and currently writing a novel without writing a novel word) and pulling nothing but the difficult out of the top hat while the bunny munches grass in the hallway. you might say: i’m thee asynchronous voice over in search of a film....
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