The smallness of what we can gather


Do you have a quote you can bring to mind, or have found recently – I won’t ask for a favourite – but something that you find incredibly precise or beautiful in its attention to language? Or where the ideas stir you and seem the best articulation of something you’d perhaps never thought to think?


I want to quote here from Heroines. Specifically, towards the close of the book, where she utters part rallying cry, part acknowledgement to the community of writers online, part kick, part song to being thin skinned and writing despite lack of recognition.


I want just to say, I felt it all.



“I’m tired of trying to hurl my girl-body against the great unfeeling fortress of academia and old-guard literary publishing”


“In a way this subculture of literary blogs, fluid, amorphous, non-hierarchical, functions as a community of solidarity, privately and publically – fighting against feelings of illegitimacy and invisibility, of feeling like ghosts in the physical world”


“We cannot wait around to be discovered. If you can’t write masterpieces, why write? the doctors said to Zelda [Fitzgerald].”


I would quote it all. I can’t. But I think of light, when I put this down.

How the internet is light broken up and reformed, broadcast in pixels, in beams. How the internet is a trembling net of light across the world.  Marvel. How words on the internet and in books are tiny darknesses printed on white. Of the smallness of words that have traveled a long way, visible, invisible, here and now, gone, shared. And I am thankful for how much good writing there is still left to transmit and cheer, from one place to another.



Filed under Edinburgh

6 responses to “The smallness of what we can gather

  1. I loved reading this. Here, in this section I gather excerpts ( some are funny, some are whimsical, some are eloquent and some are incredibly precise in their attention to language) related to language. I love language, I cherish its magic, its beauty and its purpose when its authentic and honest.

  2. “But words also nurture and bind and comfort and heal and uplift and encourage and inspire and lead many from sickness to health and from self-doubt to greatness and success…love-spoken words can be salves that heal our wounds and reveal truths that wash-away the scourge and disease of the bitter tongue…that fortify, that vanquish evil and doubt and failure…and stir to a greatness unimagined. And sometimes, too, these soothing and healing and uplifting and inspiring words are lies bound in sweet hope that they will be believed and acted-upon and taken to magnificent ends…causing the receiver to believe the words and dig into themselves to make them true because the speaker said they were true so they must be true and that makes them become true…and that lie has become truth…and then.”

  3. Pingback: Volley and Thunder 2012 | Time's Flow Stemmed

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