“Look - here’s a table covered with a red cloth. On it is a cage the size of a small fish aquarium. In the cage is a white rabbit with a pink nose and pink-rimmed eyes. In its front paws is a carrot-stub upon which it is contentedly munching. On its back, clearly marked in blue ink, is the numeral 8.
Do we see the same thing? We’d have to get together and compare notes to make absolutely sure, but I think we do. There will be necessary variations, of course: some receivers will see a cloth which is turkey red, some will see one that’s scarlet, while others may see still other shades.
Likewise, the matter of the cage leaves quite a lot of room for individual interpretation. For one thing, it is described in terms of rough comparison, which is useful only if you and I see the world and measure the things in it with similar eyes. It’s easy to become careless when making rough comparisons, but the alternative is a prissy attention to detail that takes all the fun out of writing. The paragraph doesn’t tell us what sort of material the cage is made of - wire mesh? steel rods? glass? - but does it really matter? We all understand the cage is a see-through medium; beyond that, we don’t care. The most interesting thing here isn’t even the carrot-munching rabbit in the cage, but the number on its back. Not a six, not a four, not nineteen-point-five. It’s an eight. This is what we’re looking at, and we all see it. I didn’t tell you. You didn’t ask me. I never opened your mouth and you never opened yours. We’re not even in the same year together, let alone the same room… except we are together. We’re close.
We’re having a meeting of the minds.
I sent you a table with a red cloth on it, a cage, a rabbit, and the number eight in blue ink. You got them all, especially the blue eight. We’ve engaged in an act of telepathy. No mythy-mountian shit; real telepathy.”
— Stephen King - On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
“Your soulmate is not someone that comes into your life peacefully. It is someone who comes to make you question things, who changes your reality, somebody that marks a before and after in your life. It is not the human being everyone has idealized, but an ordinary person, who manages to revolutionize your world in a second…”
“i want to live so densely, lush, and slow in the next few years, that a year becomes ten years, and my past becomes only a page in the book of my life.”
“That surprises people too, the idea that I myself don’t really know what happened. I have some ideas, but I don’t know. I think there’s the misconception that, “Oh, you invented it so you’re the god of that universe.” But that’s not really the way I think of myself when I’m writing about characters. I don’t think of myself as the god of the universe. I think of myself more as an observer who’s watching something unfold that maybe I don’t understand either, and that’s why I’m interested in it.”
— Dan Chaon
Patrick Lane: Can an author know too much about their own characters?
That’s never happened to me. The problem is not so much that you know too much about the character but that you’ve created too much of a beginning, middle and end for them so they’ve flattened out or can’t change in the process of the writing. I think they have to have this organic quality, where you can discover things about them as you’re writing. If you’ve determined too much about them, their lives are predetermined in a way that flattens them. That’s always been the concern for me. - Dan Chaon
“One reason that people have artist’s block is that they do not respect the law of dormancy in nature. Trees don’t produce fruit all year long, constantly. They have a point where they go dormant. And when you are in a dormant period creatively, if you can arrange your life to do the technical tasks that don’t take creativity, you are essentially preparing for the spring when it will all blossom again.”
“The purpose of literature is to turn blood into ink.”
“And make death proud to take us.”
whose arms would I run and fall into
if I were drunk
in a room with everyone
I have ever loved.”
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”