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on writing

I was encouraged by reading this compilation of quotations from C. S. Lewis on the topic of writing and writers. This collection of statements are excerpts from a variety of his previously published works, whether from his books or correspondence. 

Here are a few of my highlights... 

"Always write (and read) with the ear, not the eye. You should hear every sentence you write as if it was being read aloud or spoken. If it does not sound nice, try again."

"For every thought can be expressed in a number of different ways: and style is the art of expressing a given thought in the most beautiful words and rhythms of words."

"In life and art both, as it seems to me, we are always trying to catch in our net of successive moments something that is not successive."

"Isn’t it funny the way some combinations of words can give you—almost apart from their meaning—a thrill like music?"

"The only difference is that poetry makes use of that sort of feeling much more than prose and produces those effects by meter as well as by phrase."

"For poetry too is a little incarnation, giving body to what had been before invisible and inaudible."

"Whenever one is talking, if one begins to utilize rhythm, metaphor, association, etc., one is beginning to use 'poetry'..."

"In a sense there is no such thing as poetry. It is not an element but a mode."

"He [the reader] does not despise real woods because he has read of enchanted woods: the reading makes all real woods a little enchanted."

"Any honest workmanship (whether making stories, shoes, or rabbit hutches) can be done to the glory of God."

_____________   

Taken from On Writing (and Writers): A Miscellany of Advice and Opinions, by C. S. Lewis (HarperOne, 2022)




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