Monday, January 26, 2009

A Celebration of Genius

by Julia Buckley

This week marks the literary birthdays of Virginia Woolf (January 25) and Lewis Carroll (January 27). These two British icons shared the gifts of creativity and perceptiveness. I thought I'd share some of their more memorable quotes.

--"A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction."

--"Fiction is like a spider's web, attached ever so slightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners. Often the attachment is scarcely perceptible."

--"I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don't have complete emotions about the present, only about the past."

--"If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people."

-- all of the above by Virginia Woolf (source is here)

--"Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop."

--"If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there."

--"One of the secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others."

--"Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

--Lewis Carroll

That last quote is my favorite, and surely an inspiration to any writer. If we could all believe in impossible things we could surely create worlds of wonder for our readers, as Carroll did again and again.

Does anyone have a favorite work by either author?


Darlene Ryan said...

My favorite is "Begin at the beginning..." I also like a variation of that which came from a five year-old, "When you get to the end you should stop, because if you don't it's annoying."

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Julia said "favorite work," Darlene supplied "favorite quote"--and that's okay. :) I can recite all of "Jabberwocky". If you don't believe me, ask me at a conference some time.

Julia Buckley said...

Well, Liz, here's what I remember:

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe.
All something were the borogoves, and the mome raths outgrabe.

And then it's just a random selection, like "O frabjous day! Calloo Callay," and "Beware the Jabberwock, my son."

So you win the oratorical contest. :)

Darlene, who is the five year old in question?

Darlene Ryan said...

Julia, the five year-old was my kindergarten groupie. (He was very impressed because I'd written his favorite book) And he's almost 8 now. I did a poetry workshop with his class. He wrote some wonderful verse about monsters and dragons.

Liz, I supplied favorite quote because I sat on my glasses--again.

Sandra Parshall said...

Jabberwocky will live forever. And it will never make sense, which is what I like about it.

Virginia Woolf is one of those writers whose lives are more interesting to me than their work.