Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Clippings from A Chance Meeting

Old ones, jotted from Rachel Cohen's A Chance Meeting a couple of years ago:

 * "...You must find your own quiet center of life, and write from that to the world that holds offices, and all society...In short, you must write to the human heart, the great consciousness that all humanity goes to make up. Otherwise what might be strength in a writer is only crudeness, and what might be insight is only observation; sentiment falls to sentimentality - you can write about life but never life itself...To work in silence and with all one's heart, that is the writer's lot; he is the only artist who must be a solitary, and yet needs the widest outlook upon the world."
--Sarah Orne Jewett in a letter written to Willa Cather

 * "If a walk across the Park, with a responsive friend, late on the golden afternoon of a warm week-day, and if a consequent desultory stroll, for speculation's sake, through certain northward and eastward streets and avenues, of an identity a little vague to me now, save as a blur of builded evidence as to proprietary incomes - if such an incident ministered, on the spot, to a boundless evocation, it then became history of a splendid order: though I perhaps must add that it became so for the two participants alone, and with an effect after all not easy to communicate."
--Henry James, The American Scene, 1907 (quoted in the prologue of A Chance Meeting)

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