"Find what gave you emotion; what the action was that gave you the excitement. Then write it down making it clear so that the reader can see it too. Prose is architecture, not interior decoration, and the Baroque is over."
"The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself."
"Shadows are all we have to show us the shapes that light can make."
"...the future does go on without us. The world doesn't need us to continue, although it does need us to attend, to study, to name. We are elements of the world's consciousness of itself, and thus we are necessary: replaceable and irreplaceable at once. Someone will take our places, but then again there will never be anyone like us, no one who will see quite this way; we are a sudden flowering of seeing, among the millions of such blossomings. Like the innumerable tiny stars on the branching stalk of the sea lavender; it takes how many, a thousand, to construct this violet sheen, this little shaking cloud of flowers?
'Eternity', Blake said, 'is in love with the productions of time.' Perhaps, in fact, eternity inheres in the things that time makes; perhaps that's all of eternity we'll know: the wave, the flower, the repeated endless gilmmerings and departures of tides. My error, which perhaps really does express itself in that pain in the fifth vertebra, lies in thinking the future's something we can believe or disbelieve, trust or doubt. It's the element we breathe. Our position in time--ungraspable thing!--is the element in which we move. Our apocalypse is daily, but so is our persistence."
Mark Doty, Heaven's Coast
"To the Reader,
A writer is, first and last, a reader. Who do you write for? Gertrude Stein was asked and famously replied, 'Myself and strangers.' That self, the reader-self who is allied with strangers, may be a writer's better half, more detached, more trustworthy, than the writing self who swaggers through a lifetime of prose. It is difficult--and diminishing--to separate the self who writes from the one who reads. Both acts belong to the communion of the word, which is the writer's life...
Jean-Paul Satre organized his luminous memoir, The Words, into two parts: "Reading" and "Writing" as if to say that all of life falls into these two camps. A bookish division of reality, perhaps. But then, writers write about writing and about books, not because, like us, books turn to dust, but because, like us, they are born of flesh, and you can feel the blood beat along their pulse."
Patricia Hampl, I Could Tell You Stories: Sojourns in the Land of Memory