Monday, January 30, 2012

Quotations Various # 2

"As the samurai and his men cut wood, snow grazed their rustic outfits, brushed against their faces and hands, then melted away as if to underscore the brevity of life." ~ Shusaku Endo, "The Samurai"

The first page, the third paragraph, the fifth line, the third paragraph, the forty-first to seventieth words of the novel.

You've just begun a new novel. You're expecting, perhaps, a little scene-setting, maybe some character introductions; your eyes are really only sliding over the surface of the story so far. Then you encounter the line above.

You almost drop the book. Instead, you close the book and put it down slowly.

If you are a writer, you pause and reevaluate if you should continue to write. You would be lucky to come up with such a stunning line, and would probably not have the audacity to put it so far forward in your story. The pause will seem longer than it is.

But then you will see that the feeling of inadequate talent falling like snow over the idea of your writing doesn't have to cool your motivation. You will feel that if you keep writing down your lines, and then write some more, and continue writing some after that, eventually you will write a line that makes you almost drop your pen. Pause, set your pen down slowly. Reread the line a couple of times.

Then pick up your pen and try to write some more.