The Prompter Room

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


The Prompter Room

For Tuesday, January 12, 2016:


“Don’t you love the Oxford Dictionary?  When I first read it, I thought it was a really, really long poem about everything.”

David Bowie

“The final lesson a writer learns is that everything can nourish the writer.  The dictionary, a new word, a voyage, an encounter, a talk on the street, a book, a phrase learned.”

Anais Nin, attributed – FRENCH WRITERS OF THE PAST

Allow me, please, to disagree with Ms. Nin a little, albeit with respect.  I believe this is one of the first lessons a writer learns – though I think it’s likely more a realization.  It’s also not only a first one or a final one.  As David Bowie showed us, writers – and probably all artists – know this is a lesson that is lifelong.

I remember doing something similar to Bowie.  While I didn’t read dictionaries as though they were books, I almost always went far beyond the word or words I was looking up.  I did this with encyclopedias, too.  Growing up, we had one set of encyclopedias about all the world cultures that I would explore, without a particular research subject, just to find out more about different peoples and places.  I could really get lost in those.

The resource section of my bookcase over there has two or three etymology books, a one-volume encyclopedia, The Oxford Companion to English Literature and The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, along with the requisite thesauruses (two different ones) and a dictionary.  Sometimes I’ll pick out one to read when I feel the need for nourishment, something to relax into.

I do agree with Ms. Nin about all the other things, and I could add others as well.  Now I can add reading the dictionary like a poem.  I really like that – and maybe I can write one, too.