Stephen King on Writing

Stephen King on Writing and Wakeful Dreaming

“In both writing and sleeping, we learn to be physically still at the same time we are encouraging our minds to unlock from the humdrum rational thinking of our daytime lives.”

stephen king book cover on writing

“Sleep is the greatest creative aphrodisiac,” dreaming regulates our negative emotions and “positive constructive daydreaming” enhances our creativity, while a misaligned sleep cycle is enormously mentally crippling.

Called “Creative Sleep” by King.

Like your bedroom, your writing room should be private, a place where you go to dream. Your schedule — in at about the same time every day, out when your thousand words are on paper or disk — exists in order to habituate yourself, to make yourself ready to dream just as you make yourself ready to sleep by going to bed at roughly the same time each night and following the same ritual as you go.

In both writing and sleeping, we learn to be physically still at the same time we are encouraging our minds to unlock from the humdrum rational thinking of our daytime lives. And as your mind and body grow accustomed to a certain amount of sleep each night — six hours, seven, maybe the recommended eight — so can you train your waking mind to sleep creatively and work out the vividly imagined waking dreams which are successful works of fiction.

“Creative sleep” allows us to cultivate our own worlds while writing — create the kind space necessary for wakeful dreaming. The space can be humble … and it really needs only one thing: A door you are willing to shut. The closed door is your way of telling the world that you mean business. . . .

If possible, there should be no telephone in your writing room, certainly no TV or videogames for you to fool around with. If there’s a window, draw the curtains or pull down the shades unless it looks out at a blank wall. For any writer, but for the beginning writer in particular, it’s wise to eliminate every possible distraction. If you continue to write, you will begin to filter out these distractions naturally, but at the start it’s best to try and take care of them before you write.

…When you write, you want to get rid of the world, don’t you? Of course you do. When you’re writing, you’re creating your own worlds.
stephen king poster

Virginia Woolf’s Nine Tips on How To Read a Book [Ninth]

virginia woolf a writer's life quote over photoVirginia Woolf’s Nine Tips on How To Read a Book

“If behind the erratic gunfire of the press the author felt that there was another kind of criticism, the opinion of people reading for the love of reading, slowly and unprofessionally, and judging with great sympathy and yet with great severity, might this improve the quality of his work?

Reading is not a means to some intellectual end, but an intellectual and creative reward in itself.

I have sometimes dreamt, at least, that when the Day of Judgment dawns and the great conquerors and lawyers and statesmen come to receive their rewards — their crowns, their laurels, their names carved indelibly upon imperishable marble — the Almighty will turn to Peter and will say, not without a certain envy when He sees us coming with our books under our arms, ‘Look, those need no reward. We have nothing to give them here. They have loved reading.’”

Remembrance: Marcel Proust – Part 19

Remembrance: Marcel Proust

Moments from
“Remembrance of Things Past”


“There is no man…
however wise,
who has not at some period
in his youth said things,
or lived a life,
the memory of which
is so unpleasant to him
that he would gladly expunge it.
And yet he ought not
entirely to regret it,
because he cannot be certain
that he has indeed
become a wise man…”

― Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past: Volume I:
Swann’s Way & Within a Budding Grove

Marcel_Proust_(Père_Lachaise) side by side hotel - grave

Virginia Woolf’s Nine Tips on How To Read a Book [Eighth]

virginia woolf a writer's life quote over photoVirginia Woolf’s Nine Tips on How To Read a Book

“If to read a book as it should be read calls for the rarest qualities of imagination, insight, and judgment, you may perhaps conclude that literature is a very complex art and that it is unlikely that we shall be able, even after a lifetime of reading, to make any valuable contribution to its criticism. We must remain readers; we shall not put on the further glory that belongs to those rare beings who are also critics. But still we have our responsibilities as readers and even our importance. The standards we raise and the judgments we pass steal into the air and become part of the atmosphere which writers breathe as they work. An influence is created which tells upon them even if it never finds its way into print.

This point, while timeless, is timelier than ever today, when we choose — with our clicks, with our subscriptions, with our sharing, with your loyalty — the types of writing and media that get produced. At a time when the reader is being reduced to a monetizable pageview-eyeball, there’s only so much pagination, so much “sponsored content,” and so many slideshows we can take — the hope is that slowly, if painfully, the media landscape will begin to shift to reflect, and respect, the art of reading and begin to treat the reader as a true ‘fellow-worker and accomplice.’”

Remembrance: Marcel Proust – Part 18

Remembrance: Marcel Proust

Moments from
“Remembrance of Things Past”


“If we are to make reality endurable,
we must all nourish a fantasy or two.”
― Marcel Proust, In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower

“…the memory of a particular image
is but regret for a particular moment..”
― Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time

“The bonds that unite us to another human being
are sanctified when he or she adopts the same point of view
as ourselves in judging one of our imperfections.”
― Marcel Proust, Within a Budding Grove: Part 2

“Our desires cut across one another,
and in this confused existence
it is rare for happiness to coincide
with the desire that clamoured for it.”
― Marcel Proust, Within a Budding Grove

“To be an artist is to fail,
as no other dare to fail…
failure is his world
and the shrink from it desertion”
― Marcel Proust

Marcel_Proust_(Père_Lachaise) side by side hotel - grave

The World Vanished [blackout poetry]

The World Vanished by jk 12th Oct 2015

The World Vanished
By Jennifer Kiley
12th Oct. 2015

Most places
now were hard
Light the shadow
across the moon

Higher I became –
the world vanished
Whispers of dreams
Enchanted the presence

An aesthetic desire
Face the last wonder
Light the way

This dream seemed
so close
Could grasp it

The dark night
Recedes before us

Stretch farther
Beat back the past

© jk 2015

Last page 180
The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald
A Different Interpretation

Virginia Woolf’s Nine Tips on How To Read a Book [Seventh]

virginia woolf a writer's life quote over photoVirginia Woolf’s Nine Tips on How To Read a Book

“It would be foolish … to pretend that the second part of reading, to judge, to compare, is as simple as the first — to open the mind wide to the fast flocking of innumerable impressions. To continue reading without the book before you, to hold one shadow-shape against another, to have read widely enough and with enough understanding to make such comparisons alive and illuminating — that is difficult; it is still more difficult to press further and to say, ‘Not only is the book of this sort, but it is of this value; here it fails; here it succeeds; this is bad; that is good.’ To carry out this part of a reader’s duty needs such imagination, insight, and learning that it is hard to conceive any one mind sufficiently endowed; impossible for the most self-confident to find more than the seeds of such powers in himself. Would it not be wiser, then, to remit this part of reading and to allow the critics, the gowned and furred authorities of the library, to decide the question of the book’s absolute value for us? Yet how impossible! We may stress the value of sympathy; we may try to sink our own identity as we read. But we know that we cannot sympathize wholly or immerse ourselves wholly; there is always a demon in us who whispers, ‘I hate, I love,’ and we cannot silence him. Indeed, it is precisely because we hate and we love that our relation with the poets and novelists is so intimate that we find the presence of another person intolerable. And even if the results are abhorrent and our judgments are wrong, still our taste, the nerve of sensation that sends shocks through us, is our chief illuminant; we learn through feeling; we cannot suppress our own idiosyncrasy without impoverishing it. But as time goes on perhaps we can train our taste; perhaps we can make it submit to some control. When it has fed greedily and lavishly upon books of all sorts — poetry, fiction, history, biography — and has stopped reading and looked for long spaces upon the variety, the incongruity of the living world, we shall find that it is changing a little; it is not so greedy, it is more reflective.”