On the Brink of a New Year: Meditations for the Writer’s Soul

You say grace before meals.
All right.
But I say grace before the concert and the opera,
And grace before the play and pantomime,
And grace before I open a book,
And grace before sketching, painting,
Swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing
And grace before I dip the pen in the ink.
—G. K. CHESTERTON

Let the words of my mouth,
And the meditations of my heart,
Be acceptable in Thy sight,
O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.
—PSALM 19:14

The soul of Man must quicken to creation.
Out of the formless stone, when the artist united himself with stone,
Spring always new forms of life, from the soul of man that is joined to the soul of stone;
Out of the meaningless practical shapes of all that is living or lifeless
Joined with the artist’s eye, new life, new form, new color.
Out of the sea of sound the life of music,
Out of the slimy mud of words, out of the sleet and hail of verbal imprecisions,
Approximate thoughts and feelings, words that have taken the place of thoughts and feelings,
There spring the perfect order of speech, and the beauty of incantation.
—T. S. ELIOT

The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up,
And he let none of his words fall to the ground.
—1 SAMUEL 3:19

Of Man’s first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us and regain the blissful seat,
Sing, Heav’nly Muse . . .
—JOHN MILTON, Paradise Lost

In a lifetime we stuff ourselves with sounds, sights, smells, tastes, and textures of people, animals, landscapes, events, large and small. We stuff ourselves with these impressions and experiences and our reaction to them. These are the stuffs, the foods, on which The Muse grows.
—RAY BRADBURY

We thank Thee, Lord, for the glory of the late days and the excellent face of thy sun. We thank Thee for good news received. We thank Thee for the pleasures we have enjoyed and for those we have been able to confer. And now, when the clouds gather and the rain impends over the forest and our house, permit us not to be cast down; let us not lose the savor of past mercies and past pleasures; but, like the voice of a bird singing in the rain, let grateful memory survive in the hour of darkness. If there be in front of us any painful duty, strengthen us with the grace of courage; if any act of mercy, teach us tenderness and patience.
—ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON, “In Time of Rain,” Prayers Written At Vailima

Once Thou didst say to me, “Thomas, thou hast written well of Me. What reward desirest thou?” My reply then is my reply now. “None, save Thyself, Lord.”
—ST. THOMAS AQUINAS

Take a scroll and write on it all the words
That I have spoken to you. . . .
—JEREMIAH 36:2

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1 Comment

  1. I have to say Ray Bradbury’s quote resonates, though the others are just as wonderful.

    Reply

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