Today's post is taken from Flannery O'Connor's excellent essay, "The Nature and Aim of Fiction", which appears in a collection of her writing called Mystery and Manners. As with most of the quotations I share on this blog, even though they are about writing fiction, the points O'Connor makes apply to other types of art as well. Enjoy.
"Very few people who are supposedly interested in writing are interested in writing well. They are interested in publishing something, and if possible in making a 'killing'. They are interested in being a writer, not in writing."
"Art is a word that immediately scares people off, as being a little too grand. But all I mean by art is writing something that is valuable in itself and that works in itself. The basis of art is truth, both in matter and in mode. The person who aims after art in his work aims after truth, in an imaginative sense, no more and no less."
"The beginning of human knowledge is through the senses, and the fiction writer begins where human perception begins. He appeals through the senses, and you cannot appeal to the senses with abstractions."
"The fact is that the materials of the fiction writer are the humblest. Fiction is about everything human and we are made out of dust, and if you scorn getting yourself dusty, then you shouldn't try to write fiction. It's not a grand enough job for you."
Coming soon: new features with a novelist, a poet, a photographer, an actor, and more