“I’ll be there” – The Final Speech of Tom Joad

“I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this.”

I just finished reading The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.  I have always known of this book but never read it or even knew very much about what is was about.

I really wasn’t prepared by how relevant it was to so many situations occurring globally at the moment. The mass migration of populations due to climate changes, infrastructure collapse and economics, the refusal of a system to help and indeed the full demonisation of those in transit.

The language is beautifully simple and yet says so much about strength, sadness, suffering, perseverance and dignity.

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“I think the enemy of creativity in the world today is that so much thinking is done for you. The environment is so full of television, party political broadcasts and advertising campaigns, you hardly need to do anything. We’re just drowning under manufactured fiction, which satisfies our need for fiction – you scarcely need to go and read a novel.”

“Cyril Connolly, the 50s critic and writer, said that the greatest enemy of creativity is the pram in the hall, but I think that was completely wrong. It was the enemy of a certain kind of dilettante life that he aspired to, the man of letters, but for the real novelist the pram in the hall is the greatest ally – it brings you up sharp and you realise what reality is all about. My children were a huge inspiration for me. Watching three young minds creating their separate worlds was a very enriching experience.”

–- JG Ballard (via austinkleon)

Disciplines for the Aspirant

  • Read at the level at which you want to write. Reading is the nourishment that feeds the kind of writing you want to do. If what you really love to read is y, it might be hard for you to write x.

  • Exercising is a good analogy for writing. If you’re not used to exercising you want to avoid it forever. If you’re used to it, it feels uncomfortable and strange not to. No matter where you are in your writing career, the same is true for writing. Even fifteen minutes a day will keep you in the habit.

  • You can only write regularly if you’re willing to write badly. You can’t write regularly and well. One should accept bad writing as a way of priming the pump, a warm-up exercise that allows you to write well.

– Jennifer Egan – Why We Write

via Brain Pickings

The Value of Literacy

“I generally have four or five books open around the house—I live alone; I can do this—and they are not books on the same subject. They don’t relate to each other in any particular way, and the ideas they present bounce off one another. And I like this effect. I also listen to audio-books, and I’ll go out for my morning walk with tapes from two very different audio-books, and let those ideas bounce off each other, simmer, reproduce in some odd way, so that I come up with ideas that I might not have come up with if I had simply stuck to one book until I was done with it and then gone and picked up another.”

Octavia Butler

(See also “This is how I read” and “the tyranny of belief in linear time.” (via robertogreco)

Musemathematics

“Numbers it is. All music when you come to think. Two multiplied by two divided by half is twice one. Vibrations: chords those are. One plus two plus six is seven. Do anything you like with figures juggling. Always find out this equal to that. Symmetry under a cemetery wall. He doesn’t see my mourning. Callous: all for his own gut. Musemathematics. And you think you’re listening to the etherial. But suppose you said it like: Martha, seven times nine minus x is thirtyfive thousand. Fall quite flat. It’s on account of the sounds it is.”
– James Joyce from Ulysses