Posted in Book Stuff

*Monday November 30/09

Fly, originally uploaded by David Guidi.

And from Lu Chi’s Wen Fu (The Art of Writing), 300 CE:

Writing is in itself a joy,
Yet saints and sages have long since held it in awe.

For it is being, created from a void;
It is sound rung out of profound silence.
In a sheet of paper is contained the infinite,
And, evolved from an inch-sized heart, an endless panorama.

The words, as they expand, become all-evocative,
The thought, still further pursued, will run the deeper,

Till flowers in full blossom exhale all-pervading fragrance,
and tender boughs, their saps running, grow to a whole jungle of splendor.

Bright winds spread luminous wings, quick breezes soar from the earth, and clouds arise from the writing brushes.

h/t Sandra Gulland



Lilian is the author of Web of Angels, a novel about a mom with DID (multiple personalities). She's also the author of the historical novels, The River Midnight and The Singing Fire, about secrets, friendship and motherhood in 19th century Poland and London.

8 thoughts on “*Monday November 30/09

    1. Litlove, that’s why I always find the first draft the hardest. Once there is something there, then it’s a matter of working it and no matter how many changes there are, it isn’t as daunting as facing the blank screen.

  1. Oh, I needed this, and it captures the experience perfectly – most of the time anyway. There are always going to be times when writing is just hard work (but no less wonderful for all that).

    1. I’m so glad it struck a chord with you Cate. And re the hard work, I’ll add this from part 3 of this poem (the process of writing):

      Sometimes with sure touches and smooth rhythm his ideas in utmost ease flow on. At other moments, they are beset by mountainous obstacles.

      But not until the heart attains calm transparency does thought crystallize into such words as no man before fancied or pronounced.

      Then, both heaven and earth find new embodiment in the shape desired, and all things become visible under the tip of his brush, which after all parching anxiety and hesitations
      is saturated and sweeps forth in a moist wave…

      Thought that swells with joy bursts into laughter;
      When grief is spoken, words reverberate with endless sighs,
      No matter if the work be accomplished in one flash on the page, or is the result of the most deliberate brush.

  2. “In a sheet of paper is contained the infinite”

    I absolutely love this – it so reflects the power of literature, of all the magic and mystery that a book can contain.

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