Monday, May 3, 2010

Stamina and Self-Mastery

On my computer, I have a file called "quotes," something I've maintained for years. Kibbles and bits from books, magazines, and movies. Every so often, I'll dip into this well of words and come up with a bucketful of inspiration.

Today's quote comes from Tobias Wolff's In Pharaoh's Army:

In the very act of writing I felt pleased with what I did. There was the pleasure of having words come to me, and the pleasure of ordering them, re-ordering them, weighing one against another. Pleasure also in the imagination of the story, the feeling that it could mean something. Mostly I was glad to find out that I could write at all. In writing you work toward a result you won’t see for years, and can’t be sure you’ll ever see. It takes stamina and self-mastery and faith. It demands those things of you, then gives them back with a little extra, a surprise to keep you coming. It toughens you and clears your head. I could feel it happening. I was saving my life with every word I wrote, and I knew it.

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