Thursday, October 16, 2014

Throwback Thursday: A Tip For Memoir Writers

"It is a mistake to intend to write only very important things in a journal. That is not its justification." ~ Andre Gide

In seeking a theme for today's blog entry, I came across the quote above in one of my journals from the early nineties. Nobel prize-winning author Andre Gide, once significant and pretty much now forgotten, wrote near eighty books. As editor of The New French Revue he introduced the world to many significant writers in the first half of the twentieth century. As a journal writer myself, who once nurtured the hope of being significant in literature, I read the journals of many writers from Fitzgerald and Gide to Thomas Mann and a number of lesser lights. The experience was instructive, Gide's four volumes being the most instructive and insightful.

The Gide quote above was useful for me in the following manner. If you only permit yourself to write thoughts of world class, earth shattering significance, you will in short order become paralyzed by the effort. Sure, it's good to have high standards, and a journal can be useful in training one to capture ideas and emotions that are indefinite and ambiguous, but if today's journal note or blog entry has to be the most significant thing you have every captured in lines, well... it makes you tired. It can not sap your joy, but also stifle you.

As an artist I find this to be a liberating attitude when you don't have to produce a masterpiece with every canvas. Instead of striving to make masterpieces every time pen touches paper, or brush smears paint on a surface, I can take pleasure in the act of creative discovery. I can even throw some of it in the trash.

All this to say, I don't have much that is really burning to be expressed here other than the desire to share a few photos I have taken. And then, to work my way through my "to do" list.

Have a great one. And let the sun shine in.

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The above blog entry originally appeared here on Novermber 1, 2008.

PHOTO CAPTIONS
Top: Pottery studio ten miles south of Monterrey, 1981.
Middle: Two trains, Superior railroad yards, Fall 2008.
Bottom: Alphabet stencil over current Hispanic magazine. Stencils purchased in Athens, Ohio, 1974.

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