Notes Over My Writing Desk, from top left down to right:
“The heart of so great a mystery cannot ever be reached by following one road only.” – Quintus Aurelius Symmachus (c. 345 – 402), a Roman statesman, orator, and man of letters, quoted by Augustine from exchange with St. Ambrose. Quoted by Arnold Toynbee in his Gifford Lecture.
“The passionate love of the artist for his subject is the soul of art. Without love no work of art is possible.” –Tolstoy, Letter, September 1889.
Virgil– write it out in prose. “No day without its line.” [Apocryphal? It shouldn’t be…]
“For the artist, however, a worldview is a tool and instrument, like a hammer in the hands of a stonemason.” –Mandelstam, from “The Morning of Acmeism,” quoted by Saul Bellow in Summations (The Bennington Chapbooks in Literature, 1987).
“Get the work out.” –Robert Hayden, to me once in conversation.
From top right, down:
“Long choosing, and beginning late.” — John Milton, Paradise Lost, BOOK IX
“Make the works.” — Walt Whitman, on a type of name plate reportedly on his desk
“I think we’re in danger of seeing a new dark age come over the mental life of the country. It is a very serious matter.” — Saul Bellow, The Dean’s December (1982).
“And the honour of virtue consists in contending, not in winning.” — Montaigne
“Certain it is, however, that this great power of blackness in him derives its force from its appeals to that Calvinistic sense of Innate Depravity and Original Sin, from whose visitations, in some shape or other, no deeply thinking mind is always and wholly free. For, in certain moods, no man can weigh this world, without throwing in something, somehow like Original Sin, to strike the uneven balance.” — Herman Melville, “Hawthorne and His Mosses,” 1850.
“The supreme test of a book is that we should find some unusual intelligence working behind the words.” — Herman Melville, “Hawthorne and His Mosses,” 1850.
Bottom, right, from a dream, August 30, 2008:
“This is the structure, this is the theme”: Sacrifice thyself for the good of others. Serve them. Lead them to the Light. Accept and bear thy load of suffering and pain for their sake, for the sake of God, the Absolute Reality. Oneness of God. Oneness of the Prophets. Oneness of humanity. “Radiant acquiescence.”