Archive for the 'Aphorisms' Category

U. Writing Quotes A – Z: #JohnUpdike. ‘Try to develop actual work habits, and even though…

June 14, 2018


… you have a busy life, try to reserve an hour, say – or more – a day to write. Some very



good things have been written on an hour a day.’

– John Updike


V. Writing Quotes A – Z: #PaulValery. ‘Serious people have few ideas. People with ideas…

June 13, 2018

… are never serious.’ – Paul Valery



W: Writing Quotes #evelynwaugh ‘There is a great deal to be said for the Arts. For one thing they offer the only career…

June 13, 2018


… in which commercial failure is not necessarily discreditable.’

Evelyn Waugh


X Writing Quotes A – Z: ‘If, while observing the boundless universe, the writer is able to scrutinise his own self as well as others…

June 10, 2018


… the resulting incisiveness of his observations will far surpass objective descriptions of reality.’


Gao Xingjian




Writing Quotes A – Z




Y. Writing Quotes A – Z: ‘I could say that all my books were conceived by the time I was twenty…

June 10, 2018


… although they were not to be written for another thirty or forty years. But perhaps this is true of most writers – the emotional storage is done very early on.’

Marguerite Yourcenar




William Zinsser


Writing Quotes A-Z

Writing Quotes A – Z beginning with Z: “I almost always urge people to write in the first person.

June 10, 2018


… Writing is an act of ego and you might as well admit it.”

William Zinsser




Rochefoucauld no 29. — The evil that we do does not attract to us…

April 8, 2018


… so much persecution and hatred as our good qualities.






editors, agents, publishers lend me your eyes! Short story [1240 words] for end of term: Pointing the finger by Gar O’Dwyer. plz advise!

March 25, 2018

This is a rough 2nd draft. Any feedback / advice / suggestions gratefully received.

Pointing the finger – (1242 words)

A metaphor. How to describe the arms  being raised of many individuals, rising to point at the figure up on, upon, the apex of the dark grey roof of the old Georgian house. Describing this was the task I had set myself. That was actually what I was writing when that question arose once more: What are you writing about? Really? This question? How do you answer? It always really did my head in. I had a figure on the roof, a character fleeing, or returning, or trespassing, or all three. What the hell is s/he doing up there? Of course I am not just writing about that. But what then am I really writing about? I’m writing about…

A community gives away its soul by the colour of the roofs of its buildings. As such I’m convinced that all nations flags should reflect this. They should be roof coloured. England shall lead the way with the creation of a mostly grey flag with patches of moss green at its dampest corner. Sweden will have a red flag. I’ll let you come up with ideas for other countries.

The hands rose and fell like the heads of birds at a watering hole. Toooo much? The awkwardness of ‘watering hole.’ It sounds too much like a rattling train carriage.

The hands rise and fall like the sleek black heads of crows a-flock a field, squawking and cawing between their gleaning piston like dips at the furrowed earth, select instinctively selecting the morsels to sustain them for the next few days of fight, romance, competition and puzzle solving. You know, life on earth.

A swarm, a gaggle, a… birds of a feather, flocking… One-second beaks down pecking at their prey, the next, extended neck, beak poking at the air, eyes darting, dangers assessed, harvesting in fear, constantly alert for ‘It’. The enemy. Why?

Why could I not reach an answer to that question: What are you writing about? What was I writing about? Why is the question so tough? Too tough. Then the epiphany. The answer. The discovery. I was writing about…

My novel was written and at re-editing stage. A middle, a beginning, and an end. Why could I not for the life of me fathom what the hell it was about? Why did I have no answer to that question? What the f*** are you writing about? Answer! What are your themes? Themes? What is it about in one line? 50 words? I don’t know! For weeks I asked myself this question, and could only answer: I don’t know!

Then as I said the epiphany had come. It came as I thought about a way of describing the figure on the roof; the grey roof with a corner of moss green. I knew what it was about. I pictured the crowd’s arms rising, pointing, , at the character on the roof and falling again. That was it. I knew. But there was more. Multiply epiphanies surged through my organism. Waves of euphoria tinged with a sense of enlightenment, tinged with a sense of, Is that all there is to art?

Something flushed through me, out from my chest, my head, all the way to my extremities. I was on fire. I was in the Zone. I was like a surfer on the crest of a swell. Metaphor. Waxing and waning. The rush. Let me stop there. I have wandered off track too far. What was it about? My writing? Did I want to actually know? Do you really actually want to know? I’ll end here then. Without a conclusion, just a question. That is the fashion ‘these days,’ the open ended ending, ending on a question. What do you think happened? Pah! So weak. It happens a lot in films too. e.g. [list of films.] A late modern fashion that seeks to signify a more refined intellect and sensibility. There is good and bad pretension. I’ll let you decide which category this falls into! Maybe in the case of film, no one ever gets anymore to the end of a script, leaving what might once have been radical gesture, pose, to be a stylistic unquestioned trope signifying status (superiority) and tribal allegiance of a self selecting elite. As I digress, to discuss this late modern fashion for inconclusive endings, a smart arse, smug fear of coming down on one side or another, I ‘suddenly’ realise (Oh why are there not more words for suddenly, in English!?) I suddenly realise that I have no story in this story! Whaaaaat! Wrong. There is a story. It is a story about someone, me, probably, writing a story and as they do so, they ask themselves: ‘What am I really writing about? And realising that they just don’t know what they are really writing about. In one way this would actually amount to them (me) not knowing who they really are. One theme of the novel. Who am I? What can we discover about ourselves? Time for a mysterious death maybe?

I’m twisting your melon man! Or as I like to say, just messing with your mangoes; or I’m just twisting your turnips, dude. 

Here the manuscript ended…


     Got you again! lol. Can I say lol? It was more a sharp loud shriek to be honest. So here goes. The epiphany. Though it no longer seems so woah! now, today, rereading. But I’ve got thus far. I must go on. Done the build up (really?) Yes. A character writes a story and realises he doesn’t know what he is writing about. S/he begins a quest to find the truth… on the quest s/he has an epiphany.

[Insert epiphany here.]

So the epiphany is here. Near the end. But not the end in terms of structure. No.

[p.t.o for the epiphany]

Here it is. I was writing about predators. Do you love it? I was writing about predators. Who wasn’t? * Was this the epiphany worth waiting for? We don’t really want to know who we are. No. We want to know who wants something from us? And why? Who is who? Not who am I? But, Who are you? And why are you fucking with me? Doorbell. Bollocks…

I’m back in the room. From narcissists, to thrill killers, from pick pockets to rapists, from meek and mild Matilda, to vile voracious Ted Bundy: we are all on the predator spectrum. We all have predator traits to some degree. And then it happened: The ultimate epiphany; the multiply epiphany, the transcendental epiphany of ecstasy, the epiphany that keeps on giving. [This is why I write. For the epiphany.] Isn’t that what all storytelling is / was / has been about? Beware! Predators at work. All Art in fact is about this central concern, conceit. It is the key to our creativity. I am bathed in euphoric contentment; a mini high, a tentative bliss, at the very idea. I understand. All art is about predation.

I returned to listening to the lecture playing in the background as I came out the other side of the epiphany. On the roots of Romanticism. A lecture given by Isaiah Berlin to a lecture hall full of attentive listeners in Cambridge, some decades past.

Questions. Where was he on the predator spectrum? Where was I?

I needed a title for this small essay slash story. I closed my eyes to focus on what the philosopher was telling us… But before long I was gone…




3 shows in October for @DalstonBallet Co. and our take on #music n #performance with our nu Visiting Associate Artists.

September 28, 2016


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Don’t write about what you know. Write about yourself.

December 11, 2014



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