For Friday, July 21, 2017:
“‘A poet’s work,’ [the satirist, Baal] answers. ‘To name the unnamable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world and stop it from going to sleep.'”
Salman Rushdie, THE SATANIC VERSES (pg. 100)
For Tuesday, July 18, 2017:
Great art flourishes on problems or anguish or prejudice. But the role of the writer must be very clear. The writer must not be on the side of oppression. In other words there must be no confusion. I write about prejudice; I write about wickedness; I write about murder; I write about rape; but I must not be caught on the side of murder or rape. It is as simple as that.
Chinua Achebe, in CONVERSATIONS WITH JAMES BALDWIN (1989)
For Friday, July 14, 2017:
Occasionally, in times of worry, I’ve longed to be stylish, but on second thought I say no – just let me be myself – and express rough, yet true things with rough workmanship.
Vincent van Gogh, to Theo van Gogh (1882)
For Tuesday, July 11, 2017:
I promise to keep fighting until the day that every girl can put on her uniform, pack up her books and walk to school without fear.
Malala Yousafzai, girls’ education advocate and Nobel laureate
For Friday, July 7, 2017:
Those who tell you ‘Do not put too much politics in your art’ are not being honest. If you look very carefully you will see that they are the same people who are quite happy with the situation as it is … What they are saying is don’t upset the system.
Chinua Achebe, CONVERSATIONS WITH JAMES BALDWIN (1989)
For Tuesday, July 4, 2017:
Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins. Republics … derive their strength and vigor from a popular examination into the action of the magistrates.
For Friday, June 30, 2017:
Never depart from the truth even though it seems banal at first… All movements painted by Picasso have been seen and felt; he is never theatrical. The Surrealists are theatrical. New York painting, the painting that wants to be or is fashionable, is theatrical. Theater is the image of life and Picasso sees life or rather reality! Keep your integrity. You will only count, for yourself and in your art, to the extent that you keep your integrity.
Louise Bourgeois, from her diaries
For Tuesday, June 27, 2017:
Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.
For Friday, June 23, 2017:
We need not fear a future elimination of the book. On the contrary, the more that certain needs for entertainment and education are satisfied through other inventions, the more the book will win back in dignity and authority. For even the most childish intoxication with progress will soon be forced to recognize that writing and books have a function that is eternal. It will become evident that formulation in words and the handing on of these formulations through writing are not only important aids but actually the only means by which humanity can have a history and a continuing consciousness of itself.
Hermann Hesse, ‘On Little Joys’ in MY BELIEF: ESSAYS ON LIFE AND ART
For Tuesday, June 20, 2017:
The act of writing, when it goes well, gives me a pleasure, a joy, unlike any other. It takes me to another place … where I am totally absorbed and oblivious to distracting thoughts, worries, preoccupations, or indeed the passage of time. In those rare, heavenly states of mind, I may write nonstop until I can no longer see the paper. Only then do I realize that evening has come and that I have been writing all day.