Off-balance, heavy at the mouth, we are pulled forward…

Enjoying Why, How to Write from This Recording. These collections are so full of fun advice and beautiful sentiments. (And some of the photography is delightful as well. Joan Didion looks like a total movie star, smoking and drinking in front of her Stingray.)

Explore them yourself:  Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4

Or read some of my favorite passages:

It’s as if we feel constantly other from the person we were the day, the hour before, and this sense of flux is terrifying, we have to crystallize, fix every moment of ourselves in order not to disappear altogether, as if our very identity were constantly threatened with dissolution.

A good writer should be so simple that he has no faults, only sins.

Don’t try for too many characters. The center of gravity should reside in two: he and she.

As Francis Ponge puts it, “Man is a curious body whose center of gravity is not in himself.” Instead it seems to be located in language, by virtue of which we negotiate our mentalities and the world; off-balance, heavy at the mouth, we are pulled forward.

I don’t believe that less is more. I believe that more is more. I believe that less is less, fat fat, thin thin and enough is enough.

Characters paralyzed by the meaninglessness of modern life still have to drink water from time to time.

Take something to write on. Paper is good. In a pinch, pieces of wood or your arm will do.

I guess something about my voice and my projection of myself meshes with the poems. That is nice, but it is also rather saddening because I can’t sit down with every potential reader and read aloud to him.

Sometimes I think heaven must be one continuous unexhausted reading.

What some people find religion, a writer may find in his craft or whatever it is — absorption of the small and frightened and lonely into the whole and complete, a kind of breaking through to glory.

Somehow the book doesn’t leave you when you’re asleep right next to it.