Bellow: ‘stillness in the midst of chaos’

In quotes about writing, writing on September 24, 2011 at 11:26 pm

I feel that art has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos. A stillness which characterizes prayer, too, and the eye of the storm. I think that art has something to do with an arrest of attention in the midst of distraction.

~ Saul Bellow

Over the past few years – which have been at turns stormy, chaotic and/or distracted – I have had this quote in the front of my notebook and tacked to the wall in my office. I found it years ago in a calendar featuring photographs of acclaimed writers in their work spaces; these words accompanied a photo of Saul Bellow standing serenely in front of what appears to be a drafting table in a room filled with natural light.

When I see the photo and words, it reminds me what a gift it is to be able to step away from the chaos and write.


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