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You Must Stay Drunk on Writing so Reality Cannot Destroy You *

February 18, 2010

It seems to me that those songs that have been any good, I have nothing much to do with the writing of them. The words have just crawled down my sleeve and come out on the page.
• Joan Baez

I love words. I struggle with words. I wait for words. I long for words. Sometimes I look for them and wonder if they will ever come to me again. Other times, they flow from some unknown place, appearing so quickly I can scarcely capture them.

Words were medicine; they were magic and invisible. They came from nothing into sound and meaning. They were beyond price; they could neither be bought nor sold.
• Navarre Scott Momaday

Words are a slavery that I love and hate. A passion and a prison. Sanity and insanity. Words keep me company, remind me that I am not alone.

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.
• Mark Strand (1965), “Eating Poetry,”
Reasons for Moving

Made of Words
by W-OZ, Community College Moment, Vol. 9, Spring 2009

I am maid of words
enslaved by ear and eye
imprisoned by a pen
charged with
organizing
rearranging
dusting off
and neatly, in some proper order,
sentenced to a-line-ing
words
hidden in my palm
struggling down my fingers
cuffing my wrist
remember remember
they plead
DO NOT FORGET
words
plump my pockets
captured on cards
locked away on napkins and
movie stubs and
cash register receipts and
the inside of a small cardboard box that once held spearmint gum.

Words.

There’s no escape.

To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music the words make.
• Truman Capote in
McCall’s Magazine, November 1967

What would you, could you, should you, do you write about?

I write about a world that should exist, but doesn’t except in the reality of my words.
• Ayn O’Hara Neimous

* Title quotation provided by Ray Bradbury.

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