For Tuesday, August 8, 2017:
Only art penetrates … the seeming realities of this world. There is another reality, the genuine one, which we lose sight of. This other reality is always sending us hints, which without art, we can’t receive.
Saul Bellow, from his Nobel Prize acceptance speech
For Friday, July 28, 2017:
Making art is all about humans and our psychology: who we are, how we behave, what we do with the hand we’ve been dealt. It’s closer to your own bone when it’s a memoir, but the bone is still the bone.
A. M. Homes
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, 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 Tuesday, May 23, 2017:
[Art] is the process by which, in imagining itself and the relation of individuals to one another and it, a society comes to understand itself, and by understanding, discover its possibilities of growth.
Robert Penn Warren, DEMOCRACY AND POETRY (1975)
For Friday, May 12, 2017:
A poem or story consciously written to address a problem or bring about a specific result, no matter how powerful or beneficent, has abdicated its first duty and privilege, its responsibility to itself. Its primary job is simply to find the words that give it its right, true shape. That shape is its beauty and its truth …
… Art reveals something beyond the message. A story or poem may reveal truths to me as I write it. I don’t put them there. I find them in the story as I work.
Ursula Le Guin
WORDS ARE MY MATTER: WRITINGS ABOUT LIFE AND BOOKS, 2000-2016
For Tuesday, February 7, 2017:
Look into yourself, reader, for you must find Art there, if at all … Art is not something which may or may not be acquired, it is something which you are not or which you are. If a thorough search of yourself fails to reveal the presence of this something, you may be perfectly sure that no amount of striving, academic or otherwise, can bring it into your life. But if you are this something – then, gentle reader, no amount of discrimination and misapprehension can possibly prevent you from becoming an Artist. To be sure, you will not encounter ‘success,’ but you will experience what is a thousand times sweeter than ‘success.’ You will know that when all’s said and done (and the very biggest Butter Baron has bought the very last and least Velasquez) ‘to become an Artist’ means nothing: whereas to become alive, or one’s self, means everything.
E. E. Cummings: ‘The Agony of the Artist (with a capital A),’ A MISCELLANY REVISED
For Tuesday, January 24, 2017:
… You must not fear, hold back, count or be a miser with your thoughts and feelings. It is also true that creation comes from an overflow, so you have to learn to intake, to imbibe, to nourish yourself and not be afraid of fullness … Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them …
Anais Nin, THE DIARY OF ANAIS NIN, VOL. 4: 1944-1947
For Friday, December 2, 2016:
A poem takes back language, reenergizes it, reinvigorates it … Language, and all art, offers a kind of consolation because it speaks truth and it speaks hope.
Richard Blanco, Academy of American Poets (meme on Facebook)