Posted by barbararachkoscoloreddust
* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Particle after particle of the living self is transferred into the creation, until at last it is an external world that corresponds to the inner world and has the power of outlasting the author’s life.
I suspect that some such dream is shared by many authors, but among those interviewed it is Faulkner who has come closest to achieving it, and he is also the author who reveals it most candidly. “Beginning with Sartoris,” he says, I discovered that my own little postage stamp of native soil was worth writing about and that I would never live long enough to exhaust it, and that by sublimating the actual into the apocryphal I would have complete liberty to use whatever talent I might have to its absolute top. It opened up a mine of other people, so I created a cosmos of my own. I can move these people around like God, not only in space but in time.” And then he says, looking back on his work as if on the seventh day, “I like to think of the world I created as being a kind of keystone in the universe; that, small as that keystone is, if it were ever taken away the universe itself would collapse. My last book will be the Doomsday Book, the Golden Book, of Yoknapatawpha County. Then I shall break the pencil and I’ll have to stop.”
Malcolm Cowley in Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews, First Series
Comments are welcome!
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Posted by barbararachkoscoloreddust
When you think of paying an author for his work you ought to think generously. It is the author who makes your magazine. If you cannot pay in cold cash, why don’t you write the author and ask what you could do for him? Offer to do something in the nature of a personal sacrifice, I would say. He may need to have some typing done, or some printing; he may need a table to write on, or books to reference; he may need some research work done for him. There are a thousand and one things he may need and appreciate much more than cold cash, especially when it constitutes a sum which, by American standards of living, means absolutely nothing. It costs me, for example, almost five dollars a week for postage. It costs me much more than that for the gifts of books and water colors I am obliged to make to enthusiastic admirers who are too poor to buy my work.
… But this, it seems to me, is the way one good artist should treat another. And you who are editors of small magazines are mostly artists yourselves, I take it. You all expect to become celebrated writers some day; you identify yourselves with the men whose work you admire and hope to publish. Well, carry out the identification to the nth degree, I say. Think how you would feel if, after years of labor and struggle, you are asked to accept a trivial sum. It is far, far better to say: “We have no money at all. We believe in you and your work… will you help us? We are willing to make any sacrifice in order to make your name known.” Most authors would be touched by such an appeal; they would offer their work gladly; they would probably offer to help in other ways. I am thinking naturally of the kind of writers whom you wish to interest in your project. There can be a magnificent collaboration between author and editor, author an publisher. But you, as editor, must first begin by giving, not demanding. Give the shirt off your back, or offer to give it, and then see what sort of response you will get form the author. I have often noticed with beggars that when they ask for something and you offer them twice or ten times as much, they are so overwhelmed that they often refuse to accept anything, or else they offer to become your slave. Writers, in a way, are like beggars. They are continually begging to be heard, to be recognized. Really they are simply begging for a chance to give of their great gifts – which is the most heart-rending begging of all and a disgrace to any civilized community in which it happens. Which is to say, almost the entire civilized world.
Henry Miller in Stand Still Like the Hummingbird
Comments are welcome!
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