Writers’ Wisdom: The Source of Inspiration

Please get out of the habit of saying that you’ve got an idea for a short story. Art does not come from ideas. Art does not come from the mind. Art comes from the place where you dream. Art comes from your unconscious; it comes from the white-hot center of you. ~ Robert Olen Butler


Wisdom ~ Sara Teasdale

Wisdom

Sara Teasdale

It was a night of early spring,The winter-sleep was scarcely broken;Around us shadows and the windListened for what was never spoken.
Though half a score of years are gone,Spring comes as sharply now as then—But if we had it all to doIt would be done the same again.
It was a spring that never came;But we have lived enough to knowThat what we never have, remains;It is the things we have that go.

I ~ Tagore



Tagore

I wonder if I know him
In whose speech is my voice,
In whose movement is my being,
Whose skill is in my lines,
Whose melody is in my songs
In joy and sorrow.
I thought he was chained within me,
Contained by tears and laughter,
Work and play.
I thought he was my very self
Coming to an end with my death.
Why then in a flood of joy do I feel him
In the sight and touch of my beloved?
This ‘I’ beyond self I found
On the shores of the shining sea.
Therefore I know
This’I’ is not imprisoned within my bounds.
Losing myself, I find him
Beyond the borders of time and space.
Through the Ages
I come to know his Shining Self
In the Iffe of the seeker,
In the voice of the poet.
From the dark clouds pour the rains.
I sit and think:
Bearing so many forms, so many names,
I come down, crossing the threshold
Of countless births and deaths.
The Supreme undivided, complete in himself,
Embracing past and present,
Dwells in Man.
Within Him I shall find myself –
The ‘I’ that reaches everywhere.

Courage ~ Anne Sexton

Courage


Anne Sexton


It is in the small things we see it.
The child's first step, 
as awesome as an earthquake.
The first time you rode a bike, 
wallowing up the sidewalk.
The first spanking when your heart
went on a journey all alone.
When they called you crybaby
or poor or fatty or crazy
and made you into an alien, 
you drank their acid
and concealed it.


Later, 
if you faced the death of bombs and bullets
you did not do it with a banner, 
you did it with only a hat to
cover your heart.
You did not fondle the weakness inside you
though it was there.
Your courage was a small coal
that you kept swallowing.
If your buddy saved you
and died himself in so doing, 
then his courage was not courage, 
it was love; love as simple as shaving soap.


Later, 
if you have endured a great despair, 
then you did it alone, 
getting a transfusion from the fire, 
picking the scabs off your heart, 
then wringing it out like a sock.
Next, my kinsman, you powdered your sorrow, 
you gave it a back rub
and then you covered it with a blanket
and after it had slept a while
it woke to the wings of the roses
and was transformed.


Later, 
when you face old age and its natural conclusion
your courage will still be shown in the little ways, 
each spring will be a sword you'll sharpen, 
those you love will live in a fever of love, 
and you'll bargain with the calendar
and at the last moment
when death opens the back door
you'll put on your carpet slippers
and stride out. 






If ~ Rudyard Kipling

If


Rudyard Kipling


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; 
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise; 

If you can dream- -and not make dreams your master; 
If you can think- -and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools; 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on! '

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings- -nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And- -which is more- -you'll be a Man, my son! 



Courage ~ Anne Sexton

Courage


Anne Sexton


It is in the small things we see it.
The child's first step, 
as awesome as an earthquake.
The first time you rode a bike, 
wallowing up the sidewalk.
The first spanking when your heart
went on a journey all alone.
When they called you crybaby
or poor or fatty or crazy
and made you into an alien, 
you drank their acid
and concealed it.

Later, 
if you faced the death of bombs and bullets
you did not do it with a banner, 
you did it with only a hat to
comver your heart.
You did not fondle the weakness inside you
though it was there.
Your courage was a small coal
that you kept swallowing.
If your buddy saved you
and died himself in so doing, 
then his courage was not courage, 
it was love; love as simple as shaving soap.

Later, 
if you have endured a great despair, 
then you did it alone, 
getting a transfusion from the fire, 
picking the scabs off your heart, 
then wringing it out like a sock.
Next, my kinsman, you powdered your sorrow, 
you gave it a back rub
and then you covered it with a blanket
and after it had slept a while
it woke to the wings of the roses
and was transformed.

Later, 
when you face old age and its natural conclusion
your courage will still be shown in the little ways, 
each spring will be a sword you'll sharpen, 
those you love will live in a fever of love, 
and you'll bargain with the calendar
and at the last moment
when death opens the back door
you'll put on your carpet slippers
and stride out.