Writing of the narrative kind, and perhaps all writing, is motivated deep down, by a fear or and fascination with mortality – by a desire to make the risky trip to the underworld and to bring something or someone back from the dead. Margaret Atwood Negotiating With The Dead: A Writer on Writing
Sometimes change comes not because we set out to fix ourselves, or repair our relation to the living; sometimes we change most when we repair our relation to the lost, the forgotten, the dead. Stephen Grosz The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves.
Metaphor is born from taboo: that which cannot be named must be named in another way. Eliot Weinberger, Works on Paper
Dreams remind us that there is a treasure locked away somewhere, and writing is the means to try and approach the treasure. And as we know, the treasure is in the searching, not in the finding. Hélène Cixous
It happens that I am going through a period of great unhappiness and loss just now. All my life I’ve heard people speak of finding themselves in acute pain, bankrupt in spirit and body, but I’ve never understood what they meant. To lose. To have lost. I believed these visitations of darkness lasted only a few minutes or hours and that these saddened people, in between bouts, were occupied, as we all were, with the useful monotony of happiness. But happiness is not what I thought. Happiness is the lucky pane of glass you carry in your head. It takes all your cunning just to hang on to it, and once it’s smashed you have to move into a different sort of life.
Carol Shields, Unless
If a writer of prose knows enough of what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.
Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon
The theme is Sisyfa – the female form of Sisyfos-
who pushes all her life experiences in front of herself again and again
I’m trying to dissolve the borders between memoir and journalism and criticism by weaving them together.
Leslie Jamison, How to write a personal essay,
My entire attitude. At the end of Borges’s story “The Aleph”, the narrator goes to the cellar of a house, where he has the experience of encountering everything in the world. He all at once sees all places from all angles: “I saw tigers, pistons, bison, tides, and armies; I saw all the ants on the planet. . . . I saw the circulation of my own dark blood.” Writer’s block derives from the mad ambition to enter that cellar; the fluent writer is content to stay in the close attic of partial expression, to say what is “running through his mind”, and to accept that it may not—cannot —be wholly true, to risk that it will be misunderstood. I, too, have spent days fruitlessly hanging around the door to that forbidden cellar. I have looked at my revisionist narrative and found it wanting. I have found every other narrative wanting. How can one see all the ants on the planet when one is wearing the blinders of narrative?
Janet Malcolm The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes
Sometimes I wonder if certain memories are really mine or if they’re just someone else’s memories or episodes in which I was merely an unwitting actor and which I found out about later when they were told to me by others who had been there, unless, of course, they, too, had only heard the story from someone else. José Saramego’s Memoir
Filed under memories, story