The Prompter Room

 

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

 

Hermann Hesse

The Prompter Room

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.

Oliver Sacks

The Prompter Room

For Friday, June 16, 2017:

 

The subject of autobiography is always self-definition, but it cannot be self-definition in the void.  The memoirist, like the poet and the novelist, must engage with the world, because engagement makes experience, experience makes wisdom, and finally it’s the wisdom – or rather the movement toward it – that counts … The poet, the novelist, the memoirist – all must convince the reader they have some wisdom, and are writing as honestly as possible to arrive at what they know.  To the bargain, the writer of personal narrative must also persuade the reader that the narrator is reliable.

Vivian Gornick

THE SITUATION AND THE STORY: THE ART OF PERSONAL NARRATIVE

 

 

 

The Prompter Room

For Tuesday, June 13, 2017:

 

BOOKS FEED AND CURE AND

CHORTLE AND COLLIDE

 

In all this willful world

of thud and thump and thunder

man’s relevance to books

continues to declare.

 

Books are meat and medicine

and flame and flight and flower,

steel, stitch, and cloud and clout,

and drumbeats in the air.

 

Gwendolyn Brooks, ‘Book Power’

 

 

The Prompter Room

For Friday, June 9, 2017:

 

It is remarkable, the character of the pleasure we derive from the best books … There is some awe mixed with the joy of our surprise, when this poet, who lived in some past world, two or three hundred years ago, says that which lies close to my own soul, that which I also had wellnigh thought and said.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, ‘The American Scholar,’ ESSAYS AND LECTURES

The Prompter Room

For Tuesday, June 6, 2017:

 

Nothing else does quite as much [as imagination] for most people, not even the other arts.  We are a wordy species.  Words are the wings both intellect and imagination fly on.  Music, dance, visual arts, crafts of all kinds, all are central to human development and well-being, and no art or skill is ever useless learning; but to train the mind to take off from immediate reality and return to it with new understanding and new strength, nothing quite equals poem and story.

Ursula LeGuin

WORDS ARE MY MATTER: WRITINGS ABOUT LIFE AND BOOKS, 2000-2016, WITH A JOURNAL OF A WRITER’S WEEK