Thursday, February 2, 2012

Miscellaneous Musings,Thursday,February 2, 2012

Portrait of Brenda Ueland, circa 1930Image via Wikipedia
This is from If You Want to Write, by Brenda Ueland.  It's a perfect example of someone who practiced what she preached.  Her book was written in the 1930's, the depths of the Great Depression and I doubt she ever made much money from it's publication.  Yet, she produced something of a classic of it's kind.  The book deserves to be read by all aspiring writer's again and again.

“It is our nasty twentieth-century materialism that makes us feel: what is the use of writing, painting, etc., unless one has an audience or gets cash for it? Socrates and the men of the Renaissance did so much because the rewards were intrinsic, i.e., the enlargement of the soul. Yes we are all thoroughly materialistic about such things. 'What's the use?' we say, of doing anything unless you make money or get applause? for when a man is dead he is dead.' Socrates and the Greeks decided that a man's life should be devoted to 'the tendance of the Soul' (Soul included intelligence, imagination, spirit, understanding, personality) for the soul lived eternally, in all probability. I think it is all right to work for money, to work to have things enjoyed by people, even very limited ones; but the mistake is to feel that the work, the effort, the search is not the important and the exciting thing. One cannot strive to write a cheap, popular story without learning more about cheapness. But enough. I may very well be getting to raving.”— Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write



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