Human Fiction

Action – Creation – Critique

Creating imagination, Imagining Creation

I asked my collaborators, fellow writers and friends, to send me one quote from their recent or favorite reading, something that inspires them. What I got back was a sampling of ideas that take on what it means to create and to imagine, all in one way or another… from meaningful thoughts which come out of works of fiction, to ideas about the value of fiction which means so much to us. I’ll let you read on, below, the quotes from our reading which speak to us… and my attempt at translating them.

Creating your own story

From Sam Desmet:

“…the restlessness was in my nature… my sole relief was to… allow my mind’s eye to dwell on whatever visions rose before it… and… to open my inward ear to a tale that was never ended — a tale my imagination created, and narrated continuously; quickened with all the incident, life, fire, feeling, that I desired and had not in my actual existence.”
—Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre, chapter XII

From Alban Blot:

“I could have died for a moment like this.
Yellow and blue fish were swimming around me. I was hovering vertically in the water, hanging a few meters from the surface alit with sunlight. Valery was a little bit further, she too hovering in the water, in front of a coral reef; her back was turned to me. We were both naked. I knew this state of heaviness was due to a change in the density of oceans, but I was surprised to be able to breath.”
—Michel Houellebecq, Plateforme(Translation)

Who does write our story, really?

From Alexandre Ultré:

“The gods are the dreams of men dreamed by the gods.”
—Christophe Arleston, Lanfeust de Troy 5 (Le souffle de l’Haruspice) (Translation)

From Ievgeniia Sokova:

“The jacmanna was bright violet; the wall staring white. She would not have considered it honest to tamper with the bright violet and the staring white, since she saw them like that, fashionable though it was, since Mr. Paunceforte’s visit, to see everything pale, elegant, semitransparent. Then beneath the colour there was the shape. She could see it all so clearly, so commandingly, when she looked: it was when she took her brush in hand that the whole thing changed. It was in that moment’s flight between the picture and her canvas that the demons set on her who often brought her to the verge of tears and made this passage from conception to work as dreadful as any down a dark passage for a child. Such she often felt herself—struggling against terrific odds to maintain her courage; to say: ‘But this is what I see; this is what I see,’ and so to clasp some miserable remnant of her vision to her breast, which a thousand forces did their best to pluck from her.”
—Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

The value of art

From Clément Fucci:

“Literature is news that stays news.”
—Ezra Pound

“Culture is an enduring byproduct of human life and rests on a framework of harmony, independance, and creativity. Cultural flowering is the way of liberation and resistance against military power and privilege. I am convinced that the spirit embodied in Russian literature will provide reliable suggestions for cultural growth”
—Daisaku Ikeda, Writer and Buddhist philosopher, honory doctorate by Moscow State University of Moscow, 1975.

“Our passions are what sketch out our books, periodic rest what writes them.”
—Marcel Proust (Translation)

From Bastien Houriez:

“I know what my films mean. You can’t cheat. You can’t put in ambiguity just for the fun of it. You can’t leave anything unanswered. I know what everything means. But the idea is that my interpretation isn’t any more valuable than yours.”
—Christopher Nolan

Laughter in all of this

From Laura Deavers:

“Laughter is something human, a virtue that only humans have, and that God maybe gave them to console them for being intelligent.” (originally from the movie "Le Schpountz", 1937)
—Marcel Pagnol, Notes sur le Rire (Translation)

“Being all-powerful, that is, having recognized and proclamed superiority over every man and woman, has often brought about the crimes of tyrants who couldn’t laugh anymore about anything, and wanted to laugh.”
—Marcel Pagnol, Notes sur le Rire (Translation)

By Laura Deavers, on November 20, 2014. Top.

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