Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Archive for the ‘Quote of the Day’ Category

Quote of the Day

leave a comment »

The writer is one who, embarking upon a task, does not know what to do…The not-knowing is crucial to art, is what permits art to be made. Without the scanning process engendered by not-knowing, without the possibility of having the mind move in unanticipated directions, there would be no invention…Writing is a process of dealing with not-knowing, a forcing of what and how…The not-knowing is not simple, because it’s hedged about with prohibitions, roads that may not be taken. The more serious the artist, the more problems he takes into account and the more considerations limit his possible alternatives—a point to which I shall return.

Donald Barthelme, “Not-Knowing”

Written by nevalalee

October 17, 2017 at 7:30 am

Quote of the Day

leave a comment »

Yes, it is crazy, to sit savoring…impossibilities, while headlines yell at you and the wolf whuffs through the keyhole. Yet now and then it cannot harm you, thus to enjoy a short respite from reality…You are doubly blessed, to possess in this troubled life both the capacity and the wherewithal to forget it for a time.

M.F.K. Fisher, How to Cook a Wolf

Written by nevalalee

October 16, 2017 at 7:30 am

The problem of painting

leave a comment »

I am interested…only in the problem of painting, of how to make a better painting according to certain laws that are inherent in the making of a good picture—and not at all in private extraversions or introversions of specific individuals…When a painting is evolved from imaginative principles I am strongly inclined to turn away because I have greater faith that intellectual clarity is better and more entertaining than imaginative wisdom or emotional richness. I believe in the theoretical aspects of painting because I believe it produced better painting, and I think I can say I have been a fair exponent of the imaginative idea.

I have come to the conclusion that it is better to have two colors in right relation to each other than to have a vast confusion of emotional exuberance in the guise of ecstatic fullness or poetical revelation—both of which qualities have, generally speaking, long since become second-rate experience. I had rather be intellectually right than emotionally exuberant, and I could say this of any other aspect of my personal experience.

Marsden Hartley, “Art and the Personal Life”

Written by nevalalee

October 15, 2017 at 7:30 am

The third thought

with one comment

[Improv teacher Del Close said] to always go to your third thought. Sounds really simple, but when you’re onstage, your first thought is knee-jerk. Your second thought is usually okay, but not great. Del would make you stay in a scene until you found your third thought, which was a little above and beyond what most other teachers would suggest. Basically, he wanted your third thought for your character choice, your third thought for your premise or your scene, your third thought for your heightened move…Another lesson was to always play to the top of your intelligence. If you treat the audience like poets and geniuses, that’s what they will become.

Adam McKay, in an interview with Mike Sacks in Poking a Dead Frog

Written by nevalalee

October 14, 2017 at 7:30 am

Quote of the Day

leave a comment »

Written by nevalalee

October 13, 2017 at 7:30 am

Posted in Quote of the Day

Tagged with ,

Quote of the Day

leave a comment »

Written by nevalalee

October 12, 2017 at 7:30 am

Quote of the Day

leave a comment »

One thing that surprises me in retrospect is that, as opposed to most young poets I have known, I began by revising. I would work on a terrible long poem about the “Night Wanderer”—which was me being romantic, walking around the streets of the city at night. I would come to the last line and then go back to the first line and start rewriting it…I began revising right away. It has become a way of life, revising poems. I don’t write poems; I revise them.

Donald Hall, in an interview with Ernest Hilbert

Written by nevalalee

October 11, 2017 at 7:30 am

%d bloggers like this: