"What do you plan to do with your one, wild, precious life?" -Mary Oliver

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Torturer's Horse Scratches It's Innocent Behind


The torturer’s horse scratches it’s innocent behind on a tree….The old masters: how well they understood the human position: how it takes place when someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along.


On this fine cool morning, all is still. Even the birds are quiet and a low-lying fog blankets the downward slope of the farm and drifts across the pond and through the trees. It feels like a Thoreau morning, and I wonder at all he saw and felt. I think of all those who came before and all they knew and wish I could offer one of them a cup of coffee and a seat on my porch as I put on my own horrible sneakers.

These are some of my favorite lines from literary masters of old. Can you guess who they are?

1. "About suffering, they were never wrong."
2. "Tell the truth, but tell it slant."
3. "A novel is a mirror walking along a main road."
4. "A book is a mirror: if an ass peers into it, you can’t expect an apostle to look out.”
5. "A writer’s material is what he cares about."
6. "Literature thrives on taboos.”
7. "Any fool can make a rule and every fool will mind it."
8.  "It's not wise to violate the rules until you know how to observe them.”
9. "No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else’s draft.”
10. "I've led a good rich sexual life and I don’t see why it should be left out.”
11. "I was following in the exquisite footsteps of Miss Edna St. Vincent Millay, unhappily in  my
       own horrible sneakers."


So write of taboos-leave nothing out- and be wary of who you show your drafts to. Balance on a limb and fabricate. Observe the world carefully and don’t be afraid to write what you are passionate about. Hang a piece of art, arrange a bouquet, and write a sentence that fills a page. Be prepared to suffer.


1. Auden
2. Dickinson
3. Stendhal
4. Lichtenberg
5. Gardner
6. Burgess
7. Thoreau
8. Eliot
9. Wells
10. Miller
11. Parker



The opening quote is from Auden’s Musee des Beaux Arts




15 comments:

Liza said...

I love "Any fool can make a rule and every fool will mind it." Yvonne, your description of the farm is stunning.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Liza,
Thank you so much. Have a nice weekend!

Steven J. Wangsness said...

Shows what an ignoramus I am. I didn't know a single one.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Steven,
Ha! You're anything but. I just picked 11 you didn't know!

Anthony Duce said...

I didn’t have a clue, although a few make sense, after I cheated and looked further down. Guess I need to read more of the masters.
Thanks

Yvonne Osborne said...

Tony,
Yeah...in between your daily sketches and writings. Maybe in the cool of early morning or in the shade of a hot afternoon.

Pet said...

The quotes about no-rules capture my attention specially. Why is that? Too many rules I guess.

Talli Roland said...

Love those quotes, especially the one about a novel being a mirror.

Hope you're having a great weekend!

Yvonne Osborne said...

Pet,
I like that one too. I used to worry more about all of that, guess I had to learn to observe them first. Thanks!

Talli,
Thanks! That's one of those obscure ones you seldom see, yet it's so perfectly true.

Jemi Fraser said...

Those are awesome! :) THere have been so many great minds who have come before and it would indeed be great to sit and chat!

Brian Miller said...

nice...these are some great quotes...i might just print this out to re-read....

Yvonne Osborne said...

Jemi,
Thanks!

Brian,
Thank you. I'm glad you thought so too.

G-Man said...

OK...
Who wrote this?
"So from the most gracious host from coast to coast, have a Kick Ass Week-End.

This Friday, the Funfest returns!

Yvonne Osborne said...

G-Man,
You're right! There should have been a Number 12. It's so nice to have you back, peeking in on me, flexing your fingers. Glad your behind has healed. I can't wait for Friday, but I'll be a late Thurs. poster as my Fridays are sooooo busy.

Anonymous said...

thanks for posting.