Monday, July 13, 2009
"Fly Oh Thoughts on Golden Wings"
After playing a portion of Verdi’s opera from which these words are taken, today Peter Jacobi, professor emeritus of journalism at Indiana University, author, and writing consultant, inspired Chautauqua participants to “put fingers to the keys, give them wings, and set them flying.” To be honest, my fingers were flying as I tried to record everything he said. Here are some highlights that I captured for you.
To achieve the art of “literacy flight,” we must fulfill a set of artistic needs:
1. We must evince a willingness to soar. Imagine possibilities but then realize them. Tackle the imponderable and the unanswerable.
2. Let yourself go. Love the sense of freedom from releasing your imagination. This is non-settling for both reader and writer.
3. Acquire a yearning for adventure. He quoted Natalie Goldberg who said that “writers live twice.” They live everything a second time. Once to experience it, a second time to record it.
4. We must have courage. Annie Dillard said, “spend it all, shoot it all, give it all, give it now.” Be generous.
5. Know why you’re up there and where you’re going. Let the thing which is living in your imagination come to life.
6. Have vision to fly, write, and send forth your thoughts on golden winds.
7. Be acutely sensual.
8. Arrange words in a right logic.
9. Be passionate. Say what you have to say and say it “hot”. Have a wrestling match with your creative muse that lasts a life time.
Apparently Jacobi has been giving this advice for some time. Tonight in her speech, Candace Fleming remembered her first time at Chautauqua 16 years ago. She recalled Jacobi saying, "Write words that sing and soar." Some advice is timeless.
Peter Jacobi, Candace Fleming, Annie Dillard, Natalie Goldberg, Verdi, Fly Oh Thoughs on GOlden Wings