Wisdom Wednesday

To write is to raid, life being mainly a cosmic lost-and-found bureau, or an everlasting borrowing and lending of personal and communal experiences.

Carol Shields, from Startle and Illuminate – Carol Shields on Writing


19 thoughts on “Wisdom Wednesday

  1. I love your phrase “To write is to raid life….” – I think of fine art that way too. A grand rumble-sale of life; odds and ends to be found, combined and recombined artistically. A communal “stone soup” of ingredients borrowed and stirred together…with a pinch of imagination added.

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  2. Whenever readers ask about bits and pieces of my fiction, I always tell them I steal things from my life and give them to my characters, but the characters are never anyone I know in real life—I think that’s sometimes confusing to folks. This quote makes me feel better about that process that I will now term “borrowing.”

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  3. Startle and Illuminate is a book that I’ve been wanting to read. My public library system doesn’t own any copies and when I last looked for a copy online, found it to be more costly than I normally spend on books that aren’t “coffee table” books. If you recommend it, I think I can make an exception😁

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    • Hi Leslie,
      What a shame your library system doesn’t have a copy. I do recommend it though I’m not sure I’d pay a “coffee table book” price. I found my copy at the used book store near where I work. I just checked Amazon and they are selling new copies at $19.95. https://www.amazon.ca/Startle-Illuminate-Carol-Shields-Writing/dp/0345815947 I’m not a huge Amazon fan BUT when I went looking for “Writing the Australian Crawl” by William Stafford I placed an order at our local Chapters/Indigo store. They told me it would be August before I’d get a copy. The date in August came and went so I turned to Amazon and sure enough they had an affordable copy AND it was delivered in less than a week.

      Have you read any of Carol Shields’ novels? My favourite is The Stone Diaries.

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      • Yay! Thanks for looking up the current cost for me, Susanne. I like to check libraries and bookstores before I opt to purchase books from Amazon, but obviously, it’s been a few years since I checked the price for Startle and Illuminate. I am a fan of both memoirs and books on writing and I’m sure that’s what got me interested. My library still has not caught up. I can even afford the hardcover, now! The only book I’ve read by Carol Shields is Small Ceremonies; and I liked it.

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