Literary Birthday – 1 April – Samuel R. Delany

Happy Birthday, Samuel R. Delany, born 1 April 1942.

Seven Quotes On Writing

  1. It’s frightening for one artist to see another one, any other one, turn away from art.
  2. The pulp hero, though he may be a renegade, is a guy who doesn’t feel. Anything. Ever. And for the adolescent male — pummelled by emotions left and right, whether arising from sexuality or resulting from his necessary encounters with authority — this hero is a blessing, a relief and a release. The world he lives in, where feelings are totally under control, looks to the adolescent boy like heaven!
  3. The story process is like taking up such a piece of gossip, hunting down the people actually involved, questioning them, finding out what really occurred, and visiting pertinent locations. As with gossip, you can’t be too surprised if important things turn up that were left out of the first-heard version entirely; or if points initially made much of turn out to have been distorted, or simply not to have happened at all.
  4. The factors controlling a writer’s popularity are as mysterious and ultimately as unknowable as the number of stars in the sky.
  5. Words mean things. When you put them together they speak. Yes, sometimes they flatten out and nothing they say is real, and that is one kind of magic. But sometimes a vision will rip up from them and shriek and clank wings clear as the sweat smudge on the paper under your thumb. And that is another kind.
  6. Good writing is clear. Talented writing is energetic. Good writing avoids errors. Talented writing makes things happen in the reader’s mind—-vividly, forcefully.
  7. As a prose writer, I work with language; and those who work with language turn to poetry for renewal.

Samuel R. Delany is an American author, professor, and literary critic. Delany won the science-fiction Nebula Award for his first novel, The Jewels of Aptor, the story of an artist-outsider. His latest novel, Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders was published in 2012. Delany’s works on writing include The Jewel-Hinged Jaw: Notes on the Language of Science Fiction, and About Writing: Seven Essays, Four Letters, & Five Interviews.

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 1st April 2014