What Hemingway Learned from Cézanne by David Schumate

You must build a sentence like a mountain. You must start someplace flat. Someplace where you can stand and see the land roll out for miles. You must let the wind die down. The rain clear. Then you may bring them, one block at a time. You must pile them upon one another and lean each new one closer to the center so that it will hold as it rises toward the sky. Each piece must be inevitable. Like a scripture you cannot erase. You must use the colors of the earth. Colors with a sense of gravity. Colors that over time dig roots of their own and feed off the rest. You must leave places for animals. Caves and gullies. Tall stands of pines. Streams that begin as snow and melt and gather and gush and fall quiet on the flats where trout live their secret lives. If there must be people in this landscape, let their lives be the troubled lives of good people who would like to follow these mountain paths back up to the top but cannot find the way.

One of my creative writing workshops in undergrad started each class with a "Writers on Writing" segment, and this prose poem was used in one of those segments.

I wanted to share this on writing because I found that I went back to it for personal motivation when writing, especially when editing a piece of short fiction down to its essential parts; it tended to create crisper stories.

Read:  How do you stop yourself from being completely on edge and turning into a worse person during a workshop?

If anyone remembers a motivational or just plain useful piece (fiction, non-fiction, essay, or otherwise) that they seem drawn to, I'd love to read it!

Source: reddit post


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