you find ashes

This, from Ghost Light, is very shaming–

One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.

There’s more, & it’s equally passionate.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “you find ashes

  1. Krishna

    Do we hear echoes of recession economics here?

    Where an artist in a sunnier climate might save towards that magnum opus he had always promised himself in retirement, the desperation of leaner times demand more desperate existential measures. The bank might collapse tomorrow; the expensive hovel might be repossessed; the easels, pigments, broadcast quality cameras and fancy gewgaws might be taken away by baliffs…

    Okay, maybe I’m laying the metaphor on a bit thick, and I guess this doesn’t really do justice to the generosity expressed by Ghost Light.

    “The greatest perfection seems incomplete,
    but its utility is never impaired.
    The greatest fullness seems empty,
    but its use cannot be exhausted.
    What is most direct seems devious.”
    — Lao Tzu.

  2. Martin

    Shaming? Well, yes – if we could be that sharp, that focussed, that certain about what we write (private or public) all the time, then the result would be a carnival riot of unprecedented insight. You do have to invest the self, or it’s pointless. But as we all know, there are occasions when the result is a blank, a tangle, or something we stare at the next morning in queasy disbelief before hitting “delete.” And usually, you can’t tell how it’s going to read until you try to form it. GW advises us to admire the world for never ending on us. It’s a nice nod to plenitude, but anyone who tries to write knows it’s wishful thinking. The world doesn’t fit onto a page. You have to mediate it, and exclude most of it, and often you’re left with very little but your own fumbling sense of frustration. As Dylan said: sometimes I turn, there’s something there, other times it’s only me.

  3. Martin, you have no idea how relieved I am to read that.

  4. matrixless

    Of all that is written, I love only that which one writes with one’s own blood. Write with blood, and you will discover that blood is spirit.

    It is not at all easy to understand the blood of another: I hate those readers who are idlers.

    Whoever knows the reader, will do nothing more for the reader. Another century of readers – and the spirit itself will stink.

    (Thus Spoke Zarathustra, On Reading and Writing)

  5. Martin

    I pressed “submit comment,” then realised the Dylan quote from “Every Grain of Sand” is wrong. It is, of course, ” …there’s someone there …” not “something. ”

    But, hey: “Simple Twist of Feet,” “Mr. Tangerine Man,” “One Too Many Meanings” – I can recite ‘em all.

  6. uzwi

    This is already one of the most popular posts of 2008. I might ask Ghost Light to take my place here.