The Prompter Room

For Tuesday, December 12, 2017:


Children speak the language of the flowers and understand the whispers of the wind.  They’re in tune with the subtle songs of the forest; they can listen to the trees, interpret the chatter of the rivers, and intuit the meaning of each sparkle of sun.

Our job isn’t to correct that, but to nurture it, to preserve it, and perhaps even remember it ourselves.

Cristen Rodgers, meme on Facebook (


The Prompter Room

For Friday, December 8, 2017:


Word-work is sublime … because it is generative; it makes meaning that secures our difference, our human difference – the way in which we are like no other life.

We die.  That may be the meaning of life.  But we do language.  That may be the measure of our lives.

Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize acceptance speech, December 7, 1993

The Prompter Room

For Tuesday, December 5, 2017:


What is the art form of myth? Principally it is drama; yet for all its concern with preternatural forces and characters, it is realistic drama that … tells of “origins and destinies”… Knowing through art has the function of connecting through metaphor what before had no apparent kinship [and] the art form of the myth connects the daemonic world of impulse with the world of reason by a verisimilitude that conforms to each.

Jerome Bruner, ‘Myth and Identity,’ ON KNOWING: ESSAYS FOR THE LEFT HAND

The Prompter Room

For Friday, December 1, 2017:


There are, it seems, two muses: the Muse of Inspiration, who gives us inarticulate visions and desires, and the Muse of Realization, who returns again and again to say “It is yet more difficult than you thought.” This is the muse of form. It may be then that form serves us best when it works as an obstruction, to baffle us and deflect our intended course. It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.

Wendell Berry



The Prompter Room:

For Friday, November 24, 2017:


The arts are encroaching one upon another, and from a proper use of this encroachment will rise the art that is truly monumental.  Every man who steeps himself in the spiritual possibilities of his art is a valuable helper in the building of the spiritual pyramid which will some day reach to heaven.


The Prompter Room

For Tuesday, November 21, 2017:



The gears of poverty, ignorance, hopelessness, and low self-esteem mesh to create a kind of perpetual failure machine that grinds down dreams from generation to generation. We all bear the cost of keeping it running. Illiteracy is its linchpin…. Frederick Douglass taught that literacy is the path from slavery to freedom. There are many kinds of slavery and many kinds of freedom. But reading is still the path.

Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan, ‘The Path to Freedom’ in THE DEMON-HAUNTED WORLD: SCIENCE AS A CANDLE IN THE DARK

The Prompter Room

For Friday, November 17, 2017:


“They were nothing more than people, by themselves.  Even paired, any pairing, they would have been nothing more than people by themselves.  But all together, they have become the heart and muscles and mind of something perilous and new, something strange and growing and great.

“Together, all together, they are the instruments of change.”

Keri Hulme, in her novel THE BONE PEOPLE



The Prompter Room

For Tuesday, November 14, 2017:


If imitation plays a central role in the performing arts, where incessant practice, repetition, and rehearsal are essential, it is equally important in painting or composing or writing, for example. All young artists seek models in their apprentice years, models whose style, technical mastery, and innovations can teach them. Young painters may haunt the galleries of the Met or the Louvre; young composers may go to concerts or study scores. All art, in this sense, starts out as “derivative,” highly influenced by, if not a direct imitation or paraphrase of, the admired and emulated models