What comprises me was not created and cannot be destroyed. You were there when the sun caught on fire, there when the first explosion brought the universe into being.

Everything is our mother. Everything is our father, our brother, our sister, our friend, our child. Every person, every animal, every mountain, every cloud, every star. Everything, whether sentient or insentient, is what we have been and what we will be.”

sequentialsmart asked:

Do you think it's possible for an artist create touching, meaningful art if they lived a life without tragedy? While I haven't had an ideal life, I'm still the product of a privileged, middle-class, suburban life that's never been exposed to the horrors of war, violence, addiction, abuse, sudden deaths of loved ones, or any of the tragedies that have befallen the great artists. While I feel incredibly lucky so far, it feels like the best art in our history came from some very broken people.

ruckawriter answered:

Absolutely. I wish I had the mental wherewithal right now to do a web search for the essay Joyce Carol Oates wrote on this very subject several years ago (I think it ran in The New York Times Magazine, but I could be mistaken), where she took on the whole “suffering artist” topic as an extension of an American/Puritan ethic.

Look, everything I say about writing is my opinion, and only that. I am an authority on my own work, barely, that’s all. But I firmly, absolutely believe that good writing rises from two, intimately connected, places: empathy and honesty. The extension of the argument “write what you know” — when taken literally — means that we shouldn’t have fiction. But that’s not what it means, at least, not for my purposes; rather, it’s write what you know to be true. That’s an emotional truth, a universal truth. Certainly, experience of trauma and other hardships will provide insight into those things, will, perhaps, provide an access into writing about them that others cannot achieve. But to deny imagination, empathy… that’s utter nonsense.

I will not deny that there are some beautiful, powerful works brought to us by some very damaged, tragic souls. But I do not — I can not — believe that personal suffering on a Grand Scale is required to create meaningful or lasting work. I do not, and cannot, believe that we must “suffer for our art,” if by suffering for our art we mean exposure to the cruelest and most inhumane experiences imaginable. Anyone who has struggled to put the right words on the page, the right line on the canvas, the right shape cut into the marble, etc… they have suffered for their art. They needn’t become heroin addicts to then prove it.

I’m sure there are many who will disagree with me. But from where I’m sitting, it’s your voice, your ability to imagine, to empathize, and to relay those things that connect us all with honesty and courage that will create great art.

I strongly agree with Greg Rucka on this, and would add Orwell’s statement that good fiction is written by people who are not afraid.

A few years ago, some drawings by Vince Larue appeared in Les Nuits blanches d’Édimbourg, the second collection of my fiction published in French. One of them was for my story “Get Out As Early As You Can.” The version of it above will be part of May’s exhibition, Mom!, at R. Pela Contemporary Art in Phoenix.
If you like Vince Larue’s art and my writing, check out the graphic novel we did together, Dark Heat.

A few years ago, some drawings by Vince Larue appeared in Les Nuits blanches d’Édimbourg, the second collection of my fiction published in French. One of them was for my story “Get Out As Early As You Can.” The version of it above will be part of May’s exhibition, Mom!, at R. Pela Contemporary Art in Phoenix.

If you like Vince Larue’s art and my writing, check out the graphic novel we did together, Dark Heat.

Anonymous asked:

What are your least favorite book genres?

Literary fiction (a.k.a. plotless maundering about privileged people getting their feelings hurt), personal essays, confessional poetry (with the exception of Berryman, who’s often given that label, wrongly in my opinion).

Consider that you can see less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum and hear less than 1% of the acoustic spectrum. As you read this, you are traveling at 220 km/sec across the galaxy. 90% of the cells in your body carry their own microbial DNA and are not ‘you’. The atoms in your body are 99.9999999999999999% empty space and none of them are the ones you were born with, but they all originated in the belly of a star. Human beings have 46 chromosomes, 2 less than the common potato. The existence of the rainbow depends on the conical photoreceptors in your eyes; to animals without cones, the rainbow does not exist. So you don’t just look at a rainbow, you create it. This is pretty amazing, especially considering that all the beautiful colors you see represent less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Anonymous asked:

What's ur favorite Elmore Leonar book?

That’s a tough one. I love most of his books, and really like the ones I don’t love. When people who’ve never read Elmore Leonard ask me which book to try, I suggest Maximum Bob, but I’m not sure it’s better than 52 Pick-Up, Killshot, Unknown Man #89, Out of Sight, Swag, Get Shorty, Freaky Deaky, Pagan Babies, Valdez is Coming, Hombre

Hell, read all his books.