Saturday, April 02, 2011

Writing is a Harsh Mistress

I was cleaning up a pile of papers that has sat next to my computer forever, and stumbled upon this quote that I'd printed out. I had not made a note of where it came from, so spent half an hour googling and searching and found out that, of course! It was from the brilliant Barbara Samuel//Barbara O'Neal's speech that she gave at RWA Nationals in 2004. If you haven't read it, please do. If you have read it, go ahead and read it again. It always moves me--often in new and different ways.
"She wants your experiences. Your brain. Your heart. Your soul. She wants to know that you will give her everything you have, whatever you have, when she needs it. She wants that secret you’ve never told anyone, ever. She wants that wound that can still bleed if someone brushes it by accident. She wants your pain and your bone marrow and your joy and every desire you’ve ever known."

Yes. This. Every time I read this I am reminded that I truly must give everything to the page in order to produce my best work.

2 comments:

Sydney said...

It's a powerful speech. Thanks for sharing. What struck me most was O'Neal's argument for the value of romance writing (which could apply equally well to fantasy or any form of writing). The idea that the vision which the writer creates in a literary work isn't naive or a denial of the world's true nature but rather s force for good in and of itself is wonderful. I think all of us who found refuge in books can testify to the truth of this. What would our lives be like without these extraordinary visions of a better world? I shudder to think.

Melanie said...

What a stunning piece of writing! I agree with Sydney that this works to inspire all forms of writing. I just love the toothy essence that comes forth. It inspires me a great deal. Thanks.