“If there is a book you want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” Toni Morrison
Novelist, editor, essayist, and teacher, Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winner, Toni Morrison lived a storied life. Some of her words of wisdom to guide us on our way:*
“I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it.”
“Writing a novel is all about the timed release of information.”
“I think some aspects of writing can be taught. Obviously, you can’t teach vision or talent. But you can help with comfort. “
“I get angry about things, then go on and work.”
“If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it.”
“If you can’t imagine it, you can’t have it,”
“Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.”
“I’m a believer in the power of knowledge and the ferocity of beauty, so from my point of view, your life is already artful—waiting, just waiting, for you to make it art,”
“I would solve a lot of literary problems just thinking about a character in the subway, where you can’t do anything anyway.”
“A good story is one that ends with the acquisition of knowledge.”
“Make a difference about something other than yourselves.”
“The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power.”
“Language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. Language alone is meditation.”
I’m not entangled in shaping my work according to other people’s views of how I should have done it.
“You can do some rather extraordinary things if that’s what you really believe…”
Bravo, Toni. Emboldened and energized, let’s all write on!
* Bravo, my enthusiastic friend and fellow writer, Jackie Stearns, for inspiring this post!
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