for writers who need inspiration (and who among us doesn’t?)

Fellow writer and friend Fango of Bici Vecchia: An Errant in Italy recently sent me a link to an excerpt of award-winning author Wendell Berry’s The Art of the Commonplace.

In a word? Wow.

There is so much good stuff in this piece, I’d love to parse it out and offer my thoughts for discussion here periodically.

Unfortunately, right now all I can manage is the aforementioned “wow,” but I’m working on a more intelligent response, I promise.

I did want to share one particular section, though, as I and thousands of others are trying our darnedest to write 50,000 words in November for NaNoWriMo. Watch my progress in the sidebar, by the way.

So, to my fellow writers whether NaNo-ing or not, I offer the words of Berry:

At first glance, writing may seem not nearly so much an art of the body as, say, dancing or gardening or carpentry. And yet language is the most intimately physical of all the artistic means. We have it palpably in our mouths; it is our langue, our tongue. Writing it, we shape it with our hands. Reading aloud what we have written–as we must do, if we are writing carefully–our language passes in at the eyes, out at the mouth, in at the ears; the words are immersed and steeped in the senses of the body before they make sense in the mind. They cannot make sense in the mind until they have made sense in the body. Does shaping one’s words with one’s own hand impart character and quality to them, as does speaking them with one’s own tongue to the satisfaction of one’s own ear? There is no way to prove that it does. On the other hand, there is no way to prove that it does not, and I believe that it does.

I told you. Wow.

Write on writers!


30 days of thanks


Today I’m thankful for:

Inspiration. Whether it’s an article or book recommended by a friend, another blogger’s gorgeous writing, wagging puppy tails, or just plain old glorious sunshine, inspiration abounds, and I find myself typing, typing, typing away on my NaNo novel. I’m actually up to 11, 313 words (and I’m not finished yet tonight!), but I can’t get onto my template to update.


Who knows what I’ll have when I’m done, but at least it’s more than I had on October 31.

P.S. Sadly, my internet connection is even worse than it was before. Hanging on by a thread here, thus the lack of a “30 Days of Thanks” graphic and link [edited: they’ve now been added!] *and* the post just after midnight–I’m playing it safe just in case I lose the whole connection overnight.

Telecom Italia tells me it’ll be back to normal Monday or Tuesday. Wish us luck!


[tags] inspiration, wendell berry, the art of the commonplace, nanowrimo, nablopomo, 30 days of thanks[/tags]

20 Beans of Wisdom to “for writers who need inspiration (and who among us doesn’t?)”
  1. nyc/caribbean ragazza

    This is great Sognatrice. I am going to check out the link.

  2. Maryann@FindingLaDolceVita

    Good luck with your internet. You’re doing a great job accumulating words :)All your posts are interesting.

  3. Wenda

    I love the quote and way to go with the novel!

  4. Gil

    Good luck with TI. I hope that by normal they mean what one would expect to be normal and not some concocted TI idea of normal!

  5. heartinsanfrancisco

    That’s a wonderful quote from Wendell Berry. Great title, too.

    Good luck in producing a quality word count that pleases you! And good luck with your internet connection — I suspect that is harder to accomplish than the writing.

  6. andie summerkiss

    Great exerpt and very inspirational. Gave me a new perception of writing and reading. A piece of writing is truly successful when read by readers conveys different meaning to each reader.

  7. Roam2Rome

    Ah, we could always use inspiration!

    Hey, isn’t it almost your one year blog anniversary? It’s coming up!

  8. BipolarLawyerCook

    Wow, indeed. Keep on writing, you’re one of the inspiring ones.

    Also, I give you dispensation to back-post if your connection is iffy. I have just annointed myself a NaNoBlo moderator.

  9. Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah)

    Brilliant extract from Wendell Berry.
    And keep going with NaNo – congrats on already making over 11 000 words!

  10. My Melange

    Wow is a grat description! Wow! Good luck with the internet connection!

  11. Fango

    Grazie, ST. Una selezione eccellente. E vero che Wendell e un saggio. In bocca al lupo con la scrittura – dai dai!

  12. Taffiny

    Oh, and just when I thought I was catching up to you!

    Well Sognatrice, you are proving to be very motivating. As my little ass, trots along trying to reach the dangling carrot of your word totals. (actual size of my donkey is debatable, but I for one, have no intention of calling it big.)

    And I will not think about trying to make my writing all those wonderful clay shaping, sensuous sensuist things. Not untill December anyway.

    The upside of a down connection, would be getting more writing done. Unlike me, who is happily busy blog blabbing babbling.

  13. Wanderlust Scarlett

    That IS wow!

    Can’t wait to read more.
    Write on, my friend… write on.

    Sending lots of encouragement and best wishes!

    …do we get to read it when you are done?

    Scarlett & Viaggiatore

  14. Shameless

    Yes, you’re right to say wow! πŸ™‚

  15. somepinkflowers

    we are
    all still

    even without your graphic!

    that %^&* connection…


    carry on…

  16. Miss Mrs...a blog of everyday delights

    Wow, that’s a beautiful excerpt! Thanks for sharing!

  17. qualcosa di bello

    i’m really appreciating this link right about now!! thanks for the lead…

  18. Jen of A2eatwrite

    I wish your connection luck and you luck with your connection. And lovely quote from Berry.

  19. Karina

    That was indeed very inspirational! I’m looking forward to more tidbits from you.

    I’m now back up to a little over 7,000 words on my NaNovel…after the crash last week, it’s been slow going rebuilding, but hopefully from here on out, the word count will grow. But every bit of inspiration certainly helps.

  20. sognatrice

    *NYC, it’s a great piece–although a bit long definitely worth the time; lots of interesting thoughts there.

    *Maryann, grazie mille πŸ™‚

    *Wenda, thanks!

    *Gil, hah! It’s all a matter of interpretation, isn’t it?

    *Hearts, right now I’m just concentrating on getting words on the computer; quality comes later πŸ˜‰

    *Andie, glad you enjoyed!

    *Roam, yes–December 4 is the big day. Same as P’s birthday so I can’t forget either one πŸ™‚

    *BLC, thanks so much for the encouragement and permission to backpost πŸ˜‰

    *AV & A, thanks; I’m still a-writing!

    *Robin, glad you enjoyed πŸ™‚

    *Fango, thanks for the continued support πŸ™‚

    *Taffiny, ah, if only the down connection translated into another 10,000 words; maybe now that it’s tentatively back, I can concentrate again πŸ˜‰

    *Scarlett, hmm, *someday* I hope everyone will get to read it πŸ™‚

    *Shameless, I just didn’t even know what else to say!

    *SPF, so glad that you’re still here; thank you so much for your support, as always πŸ™‚

    *Miss Mrs, glad you liked it!

    *Qualcosa, prego πŸ™‚

    *Jen, thanks for the good wishes; happy you enjoyed the quote too πŸ™‚

    *Karina, I think of your crash every now and again and get frustrated for you all over. What a horrible glitch to throw into NaNo!

Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

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