Chris J. Rice

The world is full of stories, and from time to time they permit themselves to be told.
Old Cherokee Saying

Truth isn’t always beauty, but the hunger for it is.

—RIP Nadine Gordimer, author and Nobel Prize winner.

"You stand there with your skill, patience, and something even more unique- and you feel alone. It is a critical point in your life; you are afraid, yet you want to go ahead and do it. Certainly the odds are against you. Most of the critics…, are concerned with …art trends, ‘forms’, marketing. Most of them wouldn’t recognize a low tone, subtle, and warm piece of wood if they saw it.

People will buy second and third hand imitations, the current overstatement, the by-the-roadside-charming. They don’t want your quiet, out-of-place message. They are not prepared for it because that sort of thing belies their whole way of living,

…most good craftsmen work by themselves doing all their own work. So if you are a loner, you and your work are different from most. Accept that, and be glad. Either you are the competitive, speculating sort, or you’re not. And if you aren’t, then turn this fact into an asset; it can be the greatest asset of all. Realizing it helps you to stop being afraid, and allows you to be proud of living with what you do best.

Stick to what you believe in; go into the work and listen. Forget about competition. Find a pace and a balance that make sense out of long hours.

Try to reach the level where there is no competitor except excellence itself.”

—James Krenov craft wisdom, 4: Forget about competition
May 19, 2011
Continuing quotes on the craft life from ‘A Cabinet Maker’s Notebook’

A friend and I had a discussion about my way of composing, and his. He was a journalist who wrote non-fiction exclusively. He found it strange that my way was to see the people, places, and events as I wrote about them. He said he always saw only the words on paper—screen now—with no visual equivalent. This is perhaps why the reader feels there—because of this approach, the reader is not so much looking at words but moving pictures.

—David Ohle (via mttbll)

(Source: mttbll)

There is a fairy story about the prince and the black stones. On top of a crystal mountain is a princess, i.e., the thing of highest worth, the thing desired. The prince, the hero, the questing self, wants to get to the princess, the thing of highest worth. He starts to climb the mountain, which is crystal and therefore extremely slippery, difficult. On the way, he does all right for a bit. Then these black stones in his path start to speak and they say, You are a fool. Why are you going up this mountain? You will never get to the top. In any case when you get to the top it won’t be worth it, there is nothing there. Or, You’re going to die of thirst, you’re going to die of hunger. This continues all the way up; he becomes more and more depressed, and he thinks, I will never, never get to the top. Then, of course, eventually the hero does get to the top and frees the princess. He looks back and realizes that the black stones were the souls of all the people who had failed before and therefore didn’t want anyone else to succeed, because the only thing that justified them was their own failure. That’s a useful story if you are a writer, because the way is full of black stones. All you know is that there is this thing of highest value, of great worth, that you want to keep trying to achieve. Every time, up the slippery rock, with no sense of being able to get there, you simply have to stuff your ears and keep climbing.

—Jeanette Winterson, The Art of Fiction No. 150
Interviewed by Audrey Bilger

Listen carefully to first criticisms made of your work. Note just what it is about your work that critics don’t like—then cultivate it. That’s the only part of your work that’s individual and worth keeping.

—Jean Cocteau (via mttbll)

(Source: mttbll)

The thing that is both known and unknown, the most unknown and the best unknown, this is what we are looking for when we write. We go toward the best known unknown thing, where knowing and not knowing touch, where we hope we will know what is unknown. Where we hope we will not be afraid of understanding the incomprehensible, facing the invisible, hearing the inaudible, thinking the unthinkable, which is of course: thinking.

—THREE STEPS ON THE LADDER OF WRITING
Helene Cixous

“An honorable human relationship – that is, one in which two people have the right to use the word “love” – is a process, delicate, violent, often terrifying to both persons involved, a process of refining the truths they can tell each other.

It is important to do this because it breaks down human self-delusion and isolation.

It is important to do this because in doing so we do justice to our own complexity.

It is important to do this because we can count on so few people to go that hard way with us.”

—― Adrienne Rich, On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose, 1966-1978

I am overwhelmed with things I ought to have written about and never found the proper words.

—Virginia Woolf, The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Vol. 1: 1915-1919 (via introspectivepoet)

(via mensahdemary)