The revolutionary truth behind Radclyffe Hall's 'The Well of Loneliness'
Whether you’re an aspiring writer, an avid reader, or none of the above you can’t help but admit the power and influence the written word has on us all. Writing can be cathartic, informative, distracting, devastating, connecting, and everything in-between.
I love writing and words and all the ways in which they can effect our lives so much (seriously) that I’m at a complete and total loss for them right now.
So, I’m just going to let these fifteen quotes from famous authors do the rest of the talking.
“If I waited for perfection…I would never write a word.” —Margaret Atwood
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” —Maya Angelou
“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.” —Joan Didion
“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”—Virginia Woolf
“Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.” —Enid Bagnold
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” —Anaïs Nin
“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” —Sylvia Plath
“When I’m writing I know I’m doing the thing I was born to do.” —Anne Sexton
“I am writing all this down in blue ink, so as to remember that all words, not just some, are written in water.” —Maggie Nelson
“In the diary you find proof that in situations which today would seem unbearable, you lived, looked around and wrote down observations, that this right hand moved then as it does today.” —Franz Kafka
“A person who writes a book willfully appears before the populace with his pants down.” —Edna St. Vincent Millay
“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.” —William Faulkner
“Who am I? I’m just a writer. I write things down. I walk through your dreams and invent the future. Sure, I sink the boat of love, but that comes later. And yes, I swallow glass, but that comes later.” —Richard Siken
“Not all poetry wants to be storytelling. And not all storytelling wants to be poetry. But great storytellers and great poets share something in common: They had something to say, and did.” —Sarah Kay
“The secret to being a writer is that you have to write. It’s not enough to think about writing or to study literature or plan a future life as an author. You really have to lock yourself away, alone, and get to work.” —Augusten Burroughs
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A few basic things we, as mammals, need to continue living: air, water, and food. Humans love food, and we’ve learned to garnish and bedazzle our meals way beyond the means our early ancestors knew how to do so. Writers are humans too, and by that logic one can deduce that they ate food as well as you and I do. Here are some tasty literary quotes to get your stomach moaning and groaning for grub!
1. “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
-Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
2. “After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.”
-Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance
3. “What I say is that, if a man really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow.”
-A.A. Milne, Not That It Matters
4. “As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.”
-Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
5. “Mr Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liverslices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencods’ roes. Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine.”
-James Joyce, Ulysses (this one might do the opposite of making one hungry though)
6. “I am at the moment writing a lengthy indictment against our century. When my brain begins to reel from my literary labors, I make an occasional cheese dip.”
-John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces
7. “You can’t just eat good food. You’ve got to talk about it too. And you’ve got to talk about it to somebody who understands that kind of food.”
-Kurt Vonnegut, Jailbird
8. “The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.”
-Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume
9. “The cucumber and the tomato are both fruit; the avocado is a nut. To assist with the dietary requirements of vegetarians, on the first Tuesday of the month a chicken is officially a vegetable.”
-Jasper Fforde, Shades of Grey
So there you have it. Nine quotes to get you in the mood for some breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or snacks in between. Go on, treat yourself!
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Virginia Woolf may not have written adventure novels that sprawl across continents, but she still put a great deal of care in her settings. Often, that setting is London. Of her ten novels, only half take place mostly in London, though all make regular mention of it. If you don’t believe me, take Londonist’s word for it, because they’ve completely mapped out Woolf’s ten novels. Everywhere she mentions gets a little pin on Google Maps, along with a reference to where it was mentioned in which book. Check that map out here!
One thing that immediately sticks out is that, though Woolf is known for her characters’ rich interiority, her books are surprisingly globetrotting. Eight novels make mention of Paris, Rome, and Venice, while Jacob’s Room alone goes through India, Myanmar, and Singapore.
Of course, most of her work takes place in London, but even then you can see some interesting tendencies. For one, Woolf rarely ventures outside of the West End. She mentions the East End only four times and they are mostly depictions of a low quality of life. Still, Woolf is a true Londoner as the map verifies.
Londonist’s breakdown goes into depth on what locations are mentioned with frequency, etc., so check that out here!
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Virginia Woolf, one of the greatest and most quotable writers of all time. In the essay Feminism: From Mary Wollstonecraft To Betty Friedan, Bhaskar A. Shukla describes her as ‘arguably the major lyrical novelist in the English language. Her novels are highly experimental: a narrative, frequently uneventful and commonplace, is refracted—and sometimes almost dissolved—in the characters’ receptive consciousness. Intense lyricism and stylistic virtuosity fuse to create a world overabundant with auditory and visual impressions.’ So here are ten quotes that exemplify her talents and will inspire you endlessly!
1. As a woman I have no country. As a woman my country is the whole world.
2. Really I don’t like human nature unless all candied over with art.
3. The truth is, I often like women. I like their unconventionality. I like their completeness. I like their anonymity.
4. It is the nature of the artist to mind excessively what is said about him. Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others.
5. I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.
6. Books are the mirrors of the soul.
7. Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.
8. Well, I really don’t advise a woman who wants to have things her own way to get married.
9. I am made and remade continually. Different people draw different words from me.
10. So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say.
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