Literary Birthday - 14 February - Harry Matthews

Harry Mathews was born 14 February 1930, and died 25 January 2017.

Seven Quotes
  1. Write about the things that attract you. Choose your subjects the way you used to choose your toys: out of desire.
  2. I started writing when I was eleven, writing poetry. I was passionately addicted to it; it was my great refuge through adolescence.
  3. I think situations are more important than plot and character.
  4. Syntax and vocabulary are overwhelming constraints --the rules that run us. Language is using us to talk --we think we're using the language, but language is doing the thinking, we're its slavish agents.
  5. You make something. You give up expressing and start inventing.
  6. I’ve always said that my ideal reader would be someone who after finishing one of my novels would throw it out the window, presumably from an upper floor of an apartment building in New York, and by the time it had landed would be taking the elevator down to retrieve it.
  7. There are many things I’ve written that I didn’t really understand until a long time later.

Matthews was an American author. He wrote novels, volumes of poetry, short fiction, and essays. His works include The Journalist, Cigarettes, and My Life in CIA: A Chronicle of 1973.

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 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

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Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Literary Birthday - 4 February - Jacques Prévert

Jacques Prévert was born 4 February 1900, and died 11 April 1977 

Four Quotes
  1. Even if happiness forgets you a little bit, never completely forget about it.
  2. Millions and millions of years would still not give me half enough time to describe that tiny instant of all eternity when you put your arms around me and I put my arms around you.
  3. When truth is no longer free, freedom is no longer real: the truths of the police are the truths of today.
  4. We should try to be happy, just to set an example.

Prévert was a French poet and screenwriter. His poems are popular in the French-speaking world. His films formed part of the poetic realist movement, and include Les Enfants du Paradis.

 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

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Literary Birthday - 3 February - Sidney Lanier

Sidney Lanier was born 3 February 1842, and died 7 September 1881

Seven Quotes
  1. Music is love in search of a word.
  2. Gradually I find that my whole soul is merging itself into this business of writing, and especially of writing poetry. I am going to try it; and am going to test, in the most rigid way I know, the awful question whether it is my vocation.
  3. Virtues are acquired through endeavour, which rests wholly upon yourself.
  4. If a man made himself an expert in any particular branch of human activity, there would result the strong tendency that a peculiar aptitude towards the same branch would be found among some of his descendants.
  5. Verse is a set of specially related sounds, repeated aloud.
  6. My principle is, the artist shall put forth, humbly & lovingly, without bitterness, the very best & highest that is within him,utterly regardless of contemporary criticism.
  7. Music means harmony, harmony means love.

Lanier was an American musician, poet and author. His works reflected a love of the land, as well as his concern over declining values and commercial culture in the Reconstruction South. He became a professor and is known for his adaptation of musical meter to poetry. 

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 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Literary Birthday - 9 January - Anne Rivers Siddons

Happy Birthday, Anne Rivers Siddons, born 9 January 1936

Five Quotes
  1. I think we all get too caught up in doing instead of just being sometimes.
  2. I think every creative impulse that a working writer, or artist of any sort has, comes out of that dark old country where dreams come from.
  3. I don't know if I would do sequels. I almost feel like when I'm done with them, they're going to have to find their own way.
  4. Perhaps the most important thing we can ever do in our lives is find a way to keep the wild-both the wild inside and the wild outside us-and tap into it.
  5. It's unimaginable to me that I wouldn't write, but it's very imaginable that I won't write for a little while.

Siddons is an American novelist who writes stories set in the southern United States. Two of her best known novels are Peachtree Road, and Heartbreak Hotel, which was made into a film titled Heart of Dixie.

 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Literary Birthday - 7 January - William Peter Blatty

Happy Birthday, William Peter Blatty, born 7 January 1928

7 Quotes
  1. I have never read horror, nor do I consider The Exorcist to be such, but rather as a suspenseful supernatural detective story, or paranormal police procedural. 
  2. Like the brief doomed flare of exploding suns that registers dimly on blind men's eyes, the beginning of the horror passed almost unnoticed; in the shriek of what followed, in fact, was forgotten and perhaps not connected to the horror at all.
  3. I tried to make every bit of it as creepy as I could. And I had the same response you do. I feel the same way. The hospital scenes, that procedure was so real. 
  4. God never talks. But the devil keeps advertising.
  5. But a myth, to speak plainly, to me is like a menu in a fancy French restaurant: glamorous, complicated camouflage for a fact you wouldn't otherwise swallow, like maybe lima beans.
  6. Procrastination is what we often call resistance.
  7. We mourn the blossoms of May because they are to whither; but we know that May is one day to have its revenge upon November, by the revolution of that solemn circle which never stops---which teaches us in our height of hope, ever to be sober, and in our depth of desolation, never to despair.

Blatty is an American writer and filmmaker. The Exorcist is his most well-known novel. He also wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation, for which he won an Academy Award.

Source for photograph

 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Pinterest,  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Google+,  LinkedIn, and  Twitter.

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Literary Birthday - 18 December - Steve Biko

Steve Biko was born 18 December 1946, and died 12 September 1977

10 Quotes
  1. A Black man should be more independent and depend on himself for his freedom and not to take it for granted that someone would lead him to it. The blacks are tired of standing at the touchlines to witness a game that they should be playing. They want to do things for themselves and all by themselves.
  2. In time, we shall be in a position to bestow on South Africa the greatest possible gift—a more human face.
  3. The power of a movement lies in the fact that it can indeed change the habits of people. This change is not the result of force but of dedication, of moral persuasion.
  4. We are going to change South Africa. What we've got to decide is the best way to do that. And as angry as we have the right to be, let us remember that we are in the struggle to kill the idea that one kind of man is superior to another kind of man. And killing that idea is not dependent on the White man. We must stop looking to him to give us something. We have to fill the Black community with our own pride. We have to teach our black children black history; tell them about our black heroes, our black culture, so they don't face the white man believing they are inferior. Then we'll stand up to him in anyway he chooses. Conflict, if he likes, but with an open hand, too, to say we can all build a South Africa worth living in - a South Africa for equals, Black or White, a South Africa as beautiful as this land is, as beautiful as we are.
  5. The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed. 
  6. Tradition has it that whenever a group of people has tasted the lovely fruits of wealth, security, and prestige, it begins to find it more comfortable to believe in the obvious lie and accept that it alone is entitled to privilege. 
  7. So as a prelude whites must be made to realise that they are only human, not superior. Same with Blacks. They must be made to realise that they are also human, not inferior. 
  8. It is better to die for an idea that will live, than to live for an idea that will die.
  9. It becomes more necessary to see the truth as it is if you realise that the only vehicle for change are these people who have lost their personality. The first step therefore is to make the black man come to himself; to pump back life into his empty shell; to infuse him with pride and dignity, to remind him of his complicity in the crime of allowing himself to be misused and therefore letting evil reign supreme in the country of his birth.
  10. I write what I like.

Biko was an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa in the 1960s and 1970s. He founded the Black Consciousness Movement, which empowered and mobilised the urban black population in the country. After being tortured and beaten by state security officers, he died of a massive brain haemorrhage on 12 September 1977. His words are collected in I Write What I Like: Selected Writings  and The Testimony Of Steve Biko: Black Consciousness in South Africa.

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Literary Birthday - 15 December - Chris d'Lacey

Happy Birthday, Chris d'Lacey, born 15 December 1954

10 Writing Tips (shortened)
  1. To be a writer, you have to write. Often. With genuine desire. From the heart. Write a little every day if you can. A little soon becomes a lot. Write what moves you, not what appears to be currently in fashion.
  2. Aim for a killer first line. Go for a sentence that gives the reader some idea of what the story is about. 
  3. Beware the ‘alarm clock’ opening. We don’t want to read about Fred waking up, switching off the alarm, yawning, scratching his bum, putting his slippers on, going to the bathroom, etc. Just GET HIM DOWNSTAIRS to find out what the heck is clawing at those windows…
  4. Don’t over-describe things. Part of the enjoyment of stories is building your own picture from the clues the author provides. One interesting bit of detail is worth far more than ten bland ones.
  5. The balance between dialogue and prose is a matter of personal style. If your stories are all dialogue, think about writing screenplays. Writing good dialogue is an art. Fictional dialogue is engineered to move a story along. Quick tips: Keep it crisp. Try not to repeat what the last person has said. Don’t use an assignation if it’s obvious who’s speaking. Any character who blusters, chirrups, exclaims or declares, etc. more than once on a page should be shown a red card.
  6. A few words about fantasy. Truth is, you can’t research a fantasy novel, because you’re basically describing an invented world. So be as adventurous as you like. The only advice I would give is to keep things in context. I like to write the kind of fantasy where extraordinary things happen to ordinary people (Michael Malone in The UNICORNE Files, for example). But if you’re going to step into another world entirely, then stay in that world and live by its rules.
  7. Stuck? Don’t burn, shred or feed your manuscript to the hamster. Take a break from the story and listen to your subconscious. Follow up any peculiar ideas it’s urging you to explore. If all else fails, try talking the story through with a friend. Even if your friend isn’t listening this STILL WORKS. All you really need is a wall to bounce your thoughts off. You’ll get going again.
  8. To make characters convincing, you have to get right inside their heads and experience the world as they do. You have to be them and use their SENSES accordingly, whether they are human, animal or alien. 
  9. We’re often told to “write what we know”. But don’t be afraid to write what you don’t know. Years ago, I collaborated on a YA novel with the author Linda Newbery. She wanted to write a story told entirely in email messages. The protagonists were two teens, a boy and a girl. Imagine my surprise when Linda asked me to write the girl’s messages, not the boy’s. If you’ve never written from the point of view of the opposite sex, I strongly suggest you try.
  10. Finally, always believe in yourself and don’t give up. If you genuinely think your story is good, there’s every chance someone else will too.

Source for Tips and Image

d'Lacey is an English writer of children's fiction who is best known for writing The Last Dragon Chronicles. His other books include A Dark Inheritance.

 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Literary Birthday -11 December - Jim Harrison

Jim Harrison was born 11 December 1937 and died 26 March 2016

12 Quotes
  1. Poetry at its best is the language your soul would speak if you could teach your soul to speak.
  2. Some people hear their own inner voices with great clearness. And they live by what they hear. Such people become crazy... or they become legend.
  3. I can write anywhere.
  4. I wonder, when a writer's blocked and doesn't have any resources to pull himself out of it, why doesn't he jump in his car and drive around the U.S.A.? I went last winter for seven thousand miles and it was lovely. Inexpensive, too.
  5. The danger of civilisation, of course, is that you will piss away your life on nonsense.
  6. I have closely noted that people who watch a great deal of TV never again seem able to adjust to the actual pace of life. The speed of the passing images becomes the speed they aspire to and they seem to develop an impatience and boredom with anything else.
  7. Being a writer requires an intoxication with language.
  8. I like grit, I like love and death, I'm tired of irony. ... A lot of good fiction is sentimental. ... The novelist who refuses sentiment refuses the full spectrum of human behaviour, and then he just dries up. 
  9. The only advice I can give to aspiring writers is don't do it unless you're willing to give your whole life to it. 
  10. The wilderness does not make you forget your normal life so much as it removes the distractions for proper remembering.
  11. The answer is always in the entire story, not a piece of it.
  12. Writers can write outside their ethnicity or sex depending on how open and vulnerable they wish to be.

Harrison was an American author known for his poetry, fiction, reviews, essays about the outdoors, and writings about food. He is best known for his 1979 novella Legends of the Fall

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 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Literary Birthday - 30 November - L. M. Montgomery

L. M. Montgomery was born 30 November 1874, and died 24 April 1942

Nine Quotes 

  1. Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?
  2. I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.
  3. We should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry them forward into the future with us.
  4. If you can sit in silence with a person for half an hour and yet be entirely comfortable, you and that person can be friends. If you cannot, friends you'll never be and you need not waste time in trying.
  5. You must pay the penalty of growing-up, Paul. You must leave fairyland behind you.
  6. People laugh at me because I use big words. But if you have big ideas, you have to use big words to express them, haven't you?
  7. There are so many unpleasant things in the world already that there is no use in imagining any more.
  8. We are never half so interesting when we have learned that language is given us to enable us to conceal our thoughts.
  9. It's been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.

Montgomery was a Canadian author best known for a series of novels beginning in 1908 with Anne of Green Gables

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 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.