The Prompter Room

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.


The Prompter Room

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.

Benjamin Franklin

The Prompter Room

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

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 Prompter Room

For Tuesday, June 13, 2017:





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