Quotes on Writing and Time

(Originally posted on Blogger site.)

After a bit of a hiatus, I’ve returned to post a few quotes that I came across this morning.

I’m currently reading Jeff Vandermeer‘s BookLife, and both quotes are from that work. One is by Vandermeer himself, and the other is a quote that he used as a lead-in to one of his chapters.

“Fiction does mean something and it is important…This is not to claim anything unspeakably pretentious for the form, but it has, like any art — yes, it is a form of art, like sculpture or painting — huge potential in certain unique areas. Whatever the actual results, perfection being unattainable and perhaps undesirable, I want my novels to have every chance to be, yes, entertaining, but also immersive, specific, and resonant in their details, emotional (in the positive sense of the word), character-driven, and to get as close to their full potential (whatever that is for a particular project) as possible. In part, this is because acheiving something different, whether it’s a renovation or an innovation, and doing something well that’s difficult is it’s own reward…[I]f you’re ambitiously creative, even if you fail, you’ll have more success than if you tried for a lesser goal.”
(Vandermeer, p. 171)

And here is the second:

“It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested. But when it is squandered in luxury and carelessness, when it is devoted to no good end, forced at last by the ultimate necessity we perceive that it has passed away before we were aware that it was passing. So it is—the life we receive is not short, but we make it so, nor do we have any lack of it, but are wasteful of it. Just as great and princely wealth is scattered in a moment when it comes into the hands of a bad owner, while wealth however limited, if it is entrusted to a good guardian, increases by use, so our life is amply long for him who orders it properly.”
(Seneca, as quoted in Vandermeer, p. 182)

I disagree somewhat with Seneca on the point of life being “long enough;” I, personally, feel that I could do with a life that is about 3 or 4 times longer than it currently is/will be. But I understand that we all can’t linger around, taking in the sights, sucking up all the good air and resources, and still populate the planet at the same rate. It’s just not feasible. So I nod and shrug in a resigned way — “what can I do?”

I post these two quotations here because I wanted to capture them, to remind myself of what I’m doing, on a smaller, creative scale, and on a greater existential scale. I want to do something meaningful now, and I don’t have much time to do it in. Unfortunately, I’m often wasting the time I do have.

I will try to make better use of what little I have.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these tags : <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>