Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Famous Authors

“How can I know what I think till I see what I say?”


The quote in the title of this post is from E. M. Forster—English novelist, short story writer, essayist and librettist.

Many people know of him “due to the…film adaptations of his work. Titles by Forster that are immortalized not only on the page but also on film include A Passage to India (1984), A Room with a View (1986), Where Angels Fear to Tread (1991), and Howards End (1991).”

That last quote is from a biographical sketch of Forster on GradeSaver—the bottom of the page has study guides for some of his books

Here are a few other quotes from the man:

“A poem is true if it hangs together. Information points to something else. A poem points to nothing but itself. ”

“What is wonderful about great literature is that it transforms the man who reads it towards the condition of the man who wrote.”

“One always tends to overpraise a long book, because one has got through it.”

“I am sure that if the mothers of various nations could meet, there would be no more wars.”

Here’s Forster’s Amazon Page.

And, here’s a video :-)

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Tales of Passion ~ Isabel Allende


I don’t have many “Favorite Authors”—I love quite a few, like many, could care less about some

One of my favorites is Isabel Allende:

“…acclaimed author of 22 books which have been translated into 35 languages and have sold more than 57 million copies. She holds 12 international honorary doctorates and has received 50 awards in more than 15 countries. Her works have been adapted for movies, plays, musicals, operas, ballets, radio programs and two international movies.”

A few of Isabel’s words on writing from Maria Popova’s site:

“I need to tell a story. It’s an obsession. Each story is a seed inside of me that starts to grow and grow, like a tumor, and I have to deal with it sooner or later. Why a particular story? I don’t know when I begin. That I learn much later. Over the years I’ve discovered that all the stories I’ve told, all the stories I will ever tell, are connected to me in some way. If I’m talking about a woman in Victorian times who leaves the safety of her home and comes to the Gold Rush in California, I’m really talking about feminism, about liberation, about the process I’ve gone through in my own life, escaping from a Chilean, Catholic, patriarchal, conservative, Victorian family and going out into the world.”

“It’s so important for me, finding the precise word that will create a feeling or describe a situation. I’m very picky about that because it’s the only material we have: words. But they are free. No matter how many syllables they have: free! You can use as many as you want, forever.”

“I try to write beautifully, but accessibly. In the romance languages, Spanish, French, Italian, there’s a flowery way of saying things that does not exist in English. My husband says he can always tell when he gets a letter in Spanish: the envelope is heavy. In English a letter is a paragraph. You go straight to the point. In Spanish that’s impolite. Reading in English, living in English, has taught me to make language as beautiful as possible, but precise.”

And, finally:

“Fiction happens in the womb. It doesn’t get processed in the mind until you do the editing.”

So, to feel some of the passion of her words, catch her concern for women’s issues, and enjoy her spirited humor, watch this captivating video

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Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
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Some Questions for The Serious Writer . . .


There are few other blogs I follow—would like to follow more—far too busy being a writer… Lynn Biederstadt

One other writer I do follow is Lynn Biederstadt of Sky Diaries.

In fact, I’m as careful to leave comments on each of her blog posts as I am to reply to comments here.

I feel the aloneness of being a writer—not loneliness—and feel I should reach across space and let her know I “understand”

Her recent post, The Van Gogh Teach, begins with her visit to the Van Gogh exhibit in Denver, Colorado.

She goes on to explain a lesson the experience gave her, saying:

“A lesson, as so often happens, made up of many questions.”

I appreciate all her posts but this one has questions about writers dealing with the issue of Recognition—Van Gogh not receiving much in his lifetime.

I’m going to put some of Lynn’s questions here but do follow the link and read the whole post.

Apart from seeing the questions in her finely-crafted context you’ll also receive a bit of the painter’s biography

Some of Lynn’s questions for serious writers:

After relating some of Van Gogh’s struggle, Lynn asks, “…what does that say about those of us who, in our art, are visited by promise but not, perhaps, by the confidence of brilliance?”

“What do we tell ourselves in the ticking interim as we wait for recognition to find us?”

“Who gets to decide what’s brilliant and what isn’t?”

“Are the determiners the thousand gatekeepers who stand between the art and the recognition of it?”

“If we each hold the exquisite ability to call success to ourselves, should that determination not have been enough to cut him some cosmic slack?”

“At what point does the doggedly original become the unquestionably wonderful?”

“When does nonconformism claim a rightful, righteous place in a shiny world?”

“What inner angel do you call upon to keep going despite yourselftoward the impossible, the sublime, the transcendent?”

There are more questions; and, if you feel the urge to answer a few, please take this link and let Lynn know what you think
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Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page