If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.
― Ray BradburyRay Bradbury — The Vale of Soul-Making
Understand me. I’m not like an ordinary world. I have my madness, I live in another dimension and I do not have time for things that have no soul.
― Charles BukowskiCharles Bukowski — The Vale of Soul-Making
In Vienna there are shadows. The city is black and everything is done by rote. I want to be alone. I want to go to the Bohemian Forest. May, June, July, August, September, October. I must see new things and investigate them. I want to taste dark water and see crackling trees and wild winds. I want to gaze with astonishment at moldy garden fences, I want to experience them all, to hear young birch plantations and trembling leaves, to see light and sun, enjoy wet, green-blue valleys in the evening, sense goldfish glinting, see white clouds building up in the sky, to speak to flowers. I want to look intently at grasses and pink people, old venerable churches, to know what little cathedrals say, to run without stopping along curving meadowy slopes across vast plains, kiss the earth and smell soft warm marshland flowers. And then I shall shape things so beautifully: fields of colour…
— Egon Schiele, as quoted by Reinhard Steiner in Egon Schiele, 1890-1918: The Midnight Soul of the Artist. (Taschen; Revised edition May 17, 2000) Originally Published February 1st 1994.
O my poor words, bear with me.
— Theodore Roethke, Straw for the Fire: From the Notebooks of Theodore Roethke, ed. David Wagoner (Copper Canyon Press November 1, 2006)Theodore Roethke — The Vale of Soul-Making
I write by the light of what is not revealed in what I express.
— Edmond Jabès, The Book of Questions, II. The Book of Yukel, III. Return to the Book] trans.by Rosmarie Waldrop (Wesleyan University Press, 1983)
I don’t do anything with my life except romanticize and decay with indecision.
— Allen Ginsberg, The Book of Martyrdom and Artifice: First Journals and Poems: 1937-1952. (Da Capo Press; 1st Da Capo Press Ed edition November 1, 2006)Allen Ginsberg — The Vale of Soul-Making
There will be a book that includes these pages,
and she who takes it in her hands
will sit staring at it a long time,
until she feels that she is being held
and you are writing.
— Rainer Maria Rilke, from “Du dunkeInder Grund, gelduldig erträgst du die Mauern,” Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, trans. Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy (Riverhead Books, 1996)
if there is light
it will find
— Charles Bukowski, from “the harder you try,” The People Look Like Flowers. (Ecco; First Edition edition (March 27, 2007)Charles Bukowski — The Vale of Soul-Making
Impossible, I realize, to enter another’s solitude. If it is true that we can ever come to know another human being, even to a small degree, it is only to the extent that he is willing to make himself known. A man will say: I am cold. Or else he will say nothing, and we will see him shivering. Either way, we will know that he is cold. But what of the man who says nothing and does not shiver? Where all is tractable, where all is hermetic and evasive, one can do no more than observe. But whether one can make sense of what he observes is another matter entirely.
— Paul Auster, The Invention of Solitude. (Sun Publishing 1982)Paul Auster — The Vale of Soul-Making
And I, tiny being,
drunk with the great starry
likeness, image of
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss.
I wheeled with the stars.
My heart broke loose with the wind
— Mark Strand, from “Pablo Neruda and his passions,” The New Yorker (September 8, 2003)Mark Strand — The Vale of Soul-Making