Light the Dark

Light the Dark

Writers on Creativity, Inspiration, and the Artistic Process

Book - 2017
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"What inspires you? That's the simple, but profound question more than forty renowned authors answer in LIGHT THE DARK. Each author picks a favorite passage--from a novel, a song, a poem--to reveal what gets them started and keeps them going doing the creative work they love. From there, incredible stories of life changing encounters with art emerge, like how sneaking a volume of Stephen King stories into his job as a night security guard helped Khaled Hosseini learn that nothing he creates will ever be truly finished. Or how discovering Toni Morrison's Beloved in college taught Junot Diaz how art can create communities of shared experience. Here is a stunning guide to creative living and writing in the vein of Bird by Bird, Big Magic, and Daily Rituals for anyone who wants to learn how great writers find inspiration and how to find some of your own. Writer Joe Fassler has been collecting these lessons in his beloved "By Heart" series for The Atlantic, spinning conversations with hundreds of authors into motivating essays paired with striking illustrations. Light the Dark collects the best of "By Heart" and adds brand new pieces from award-winning writers like Marilynne Robinson, Junot Diaz, and Neil Gaiman. "--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, New York : Penguin Books, [2017]
Copyright Date: 2017
ISBN: 9780143130840
Branch Call Number: 153. 35 LIG
Characteristics: xiii, 334 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm


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A collection of anecdotes and advice from some of the world’s most important authors. Each writer shares a favorite passage of theirs, then explains how it changed their life and approach to the craft.

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Jul 18, 2020

I LOVE reading about the creative habits of successful people, which is why I'm biased towards shop-talk subjects like this. I get why most book readers would rather have the final product, and not a behind-the-scenes look, but there's something mesmerizing about seeing the seed of an idea transform into its final, polished form. For me it's like getting the origin story of a demi-god who started out as a commoner.

You'll hear from known writers such as Sherman Alexie, Stephen King, Amy Tan, Lev Grossman, Jonathan Frazen, Marilynne Robinson and Neil Gaiman reflect on the BIG questions of life and living and how those questions are illuminated through literature, and ultimately how that process informs their work as an author.

The title, "Light the Dark," has a dual meaning. On the surface, it encompasses the daily process of composing an often-unknown narrative, which is an underappreciated, laborious and solitary task, and one that is also common among all writers. The title also hints at a deeper, more primal reason of why writers write, and similarly readers read. The world can be a darkness on the soul if we let it. Literature is a collective project of the human race, stretching all the way back to its beginning, and its main purpose I believe is to light our way forward.

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