Sunday, April 20, 2008

Writers Talk

Some quotes from the Festival of Faith & Writing. I wrote them down as spoken. I hope I got them right, but can’t vouch for every comma.

….most machines were put on earth to hurt me.
- Mary Gordon. From her lecture: “Is Fiction Moral?”

I was raised a pagan, a savage, and I still need to be careful not to convince myself that Jack Daniels and crack are not sacramental.
- Mary Karr. From her lecture: “Writing & Praying Your Way to Truth.

Last night I [Alan Jacobs] met Mary Karr who asked me, ‘What made you write a book about sin?’
I said, ‘Didn’t they teach you to write what you know?’
‘Oh,’ she replied, ‘I thought they said, you reap what you sow.’

After a lecture a young man approached me and said, ‘Mr. Jacobs, I love your work, it has changed my life. I don’t think I have the talent to be a fiction writer or a poet, but I think I could be an essayist.’
- Alan Jacobs in his discussion on personal essay.

As a historian, I ask: which would be more interesting? A memoir by Louis IV or a memoir by the servant who emptied his chamber pot? The farther down the social scale, the more interesting.
- Carlos Eire. From his lecture: “Where Falsehoods Dissolve: Memory as Witness.”

If you lie in a novel – you’re a terrible writer.
If you lie in a memoir – you’re a terrible person.
- Haven Kimmel. From her conversation: “Writing a Life.”

I followed the mosquito.
- David Athey from Moose Lake, MN, on the 18 years it took to bring Danny Gospel to press.

Eternity is written in the hearts of saints and fools. It’s in their movies, too.
Sometimes we learn of glory through its absence.
- Jeffery Overstreet. From his lecture “Through a Screen Darkly.”

The artist who can’t play, can’t create. Go home dancing – to create beauty in your life and in the lives of others.
- Katherine Paterson. From her lecture “Stories of Beauty.”


domandkat said...

The exchange between you and Mary Karr was a good one! It needs a bedum dum on the drums after it. It sounds like a joke!

Looks like you enjoyed your conference at any rate...

Ransom Fellowship said...

domandkat, oops. I need to edit that to make more clear! That was not my conversation with Mary Karr -- it was Alan Jacobs. Tho I'd like to take credit, alas. And yes, that was what was so funny about it -- her rapier wit.

jenni said...

Mary Karr is hilarious, and these are all great quotes.

Last night I read a wonderful interview w/Mary Karr in the Image journal, #56. Have you read it?