Quotes from Journal Of Things New and Old by Arnold Bennett (about 1923)
All political parties in all countries disappear sooner or later, except the Conservative, and the Conservative is immortal because it is never for long divided against itself. How many times in Britain has the Liberal Party split? The first and most powerful instinct of Tories is self-preservation. They do not really want anything but the status quo.
The best part of a holiday is that daily habits and rituals are broken.
When a good novel falls away at the end or near the end, it’s because the writer simply ran out of power. He miscalculated his creative strength. Nobody can pour a quart out of a pint pot.
[Man, was that ever true in the case of Stephen King’s Wizard and Glass. The middle part of the book was strong and powerful. The coda in the Emerald City was anti-climactic and sodden by comparison. And I could tell King was trying to goose it along, trying to make the characters frightened and anxious. But it only made me annoyed. The book’s real story had been told and this last bit was simply the connective tissue to get them moving back along the Path of the Beam.]
[Attending the performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sadko lifted his spirits regarding his in-progress novel.]
A novel in process of creation has to be lifted up … [maybe] again and again. The large mood for it has to be recaptured again and again, to work its miracle there is nothing so efficacious as the sight or hearing of a great work of art – any art. Many times have I gone into the National Gallery, or to a fine concert … to recover the right mood.
An artist engaged in a work ought never to read or see or hear second-class stuff. If he does, he realizes the resemblances between his work and the second-class; and is discouraged. Whereas if he sticks to first-class stuff, he realizes the resemblances between his work and it, and is enheartened thereby.
It is well not to chatter too much about what one is doing, and not to betray a too-pained sadness at the spectacle of a whole world deliberately wasting so many hours out of every day, and therefore not really living. It will be found, ultimately, that in taking care of one’s self, one has quite all one can do.
Can you deny that when you have something definite to look forward to at eventide, something that is to employ all your energy, the thought of that something gives a glow and a more intense vitality to the whole day?
(originally posted 2005-05-22, updated for micro.blog)