Charles Ghigna - Quotes On Writing

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Quotes on Writing

by Charles Ghigna

Style is not how you write.

It is how you do not write like anyone else.

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Enter the writing process

with a childlike sense of wonder and discovery.

Let it surprise you.

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We are all poets.

Each one of us sees the world in our own unique way.

Whenever we look up at the passing clouds

and see long-tail dragons and sailing ships we are poets.

When we share our vision and dreams we are poets.

We are poets whenever we tell the world who we are,

what we think, and how we feel.

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One of our greatest gifts is the ability to simple take time

to appreciate and enjoy the world around us.

Fine-tuning our ability to notice detail

is an important skill of the artist and the writer.

It is an important skill for everyone to enjoy!

Every time you see something new,

take a moment to really get to know the object with your eyes.

Practice this technique on new things that you see.

Take time to rediscover old, familiar objects.

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Poetry is the exaltation of life that keep us alive.

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Poetry is music, theater, dance, art, and literature.

Poetry is winter, spring, summer, and fall.

Poetry is laughter and tears, faith, and fears.

Poetry is life!

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Poetry unites us, transcends all that divides us,

saves us from ourselves and each other.

It is the guiding star that shows us who we are.

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Poems are the little unseen angels

who wear the wings of our best souls.

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Finding poetry in the world and sharing it with others makes us feel alive.

It fills us with hope and wonder.

It celebrates life.

It shines light into the corners of the world

and turns the overlooked and the common

into sparkling gems of wonder and joy.


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Poems look at the world from the inside out.

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I have the best job in the world! I write books for children.

I wake each day and welcome the wonder, beauty, and joy of the world —

then spend the rest of the day weaving that magic into words to share with children.

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Poetry is the echo of the soul.

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The act of writing brings with it a sense of discovery,

of discovering on the page something you didn't know you knew

until you wrote it.

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Poetry is everywhere!

It's in the smile of a friend and in the sound of the wind.

It's in the scent of the meadow and in the skyline of the city.

It's in the setting sun as she bows her bright orange dress away

into the purple haze of evening.

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Poems come from everywhere.

All we have to do is look -- and listen.

Please click here for more on this subject

 "Where Do Poems Come From?"

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The difference between writing poetry and fiction.

Poetry knocks on the door. Plays coy. Begs for a game of chess.

Fiction grabs you by the throat, throws you to the floor,

and won't let go until you've told the truth, the whole truth,

and nothing but ... the truthful lie.

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How do you know if you're a writer?

Write something everyday for two weeks, then stop, if you can.

If you can't, you're a writer.

And no one, no matter how hard they may try,

will ever be able to stop you from following your writing dreams.

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You can find your writer's voice

by simply listening to that little Muse inside

that says in a low, soft whisper, "Listen to this...

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Poems for children help them

celebrate the joy and wonder of their world.

Humorous poems tickle the funny bone of their imaginations.

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I feel more alive when I am writing.

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My wish is that my words may live beyond me

and that future generations might read my words alive again

and feel more alive with me.

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Writing is like breathing.

In hale inspiration.

Exhale poetry!

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There are many fine poets writing for children today.

The greatest reward for each of us is in knowing that our efforts

might stir the minds and hearts of young readers with a vision

and wonder of the world and themselves that may be new to them

or reveal something already familiar in new and enlightening ways.

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The path to inspiration starts

Beyond the trails we've known;

Each writer's block is not a rock,

But just a stepping stone.

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When you write for children,

don't write for children.

Write from the child in you.

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The answer to the artist

Comes quicker than a blink

Though initial inspiration

Is not what you might think.

The Muse is full of magic,

Though her vision’s sometimes dim;

The artist does not choose the work,

It is the work that chooses him.

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Poem-Making 101.

Poetry shows. Prose tells.

Choose precise, concrete words.

Remove prose from your poems.

Use images that evoke the senses.

Avoid the abstract, the verbose, the overstated.

Trust the poem to take you where it wants to go.

Follow it closely, recording its path with imagery and metaphor.

Writing Rhyme

Rhymes are the ebb and flow of the poem, the melodic waves that pull the reader and listener 

into the poem by the ear and carry the meaning and narrative along like a gentle flowing river. 

The just-right rhymes are original and unexpected, 

yet so smooth and subtle they go unnoticed as simply a part of the flow.

What's A Poem?

A whisper, 

a shout,

thoughts turned

inside out.

A laugh,

a sigh,

an echo

passing by.

A rhythm,

a rhyme,

a moment

caught in time.

A moon,

a star,

a glimpse

of who you are.

I also like rhymes whose spellings do not look like they rhyme when you see them, 

but offer a subtle little ah-ha moment when you say them. 

An example of that kind of rhyme are the words "trees" and "please" and "one" and "begun.” 

A Poem is a Little Path

A poem is a little path

That leads you through the trees.

It takes you to the cliffs and shores,

To anywhere you please.

Follow it and trust your way

With mind and heart as one,

And when the journey’s over,

You’ll find you’ve just begun.

I try to avoid using rhymes that are obvious and whose end rhymes sound 

like the ping of an old typewriter coming to the end of its carriage. 

One of my all-favorite writer of rhymes

and book of rhymes is "A Children's Garden of Verses" by Robert Louis Stevenson. 

Other favorite rhyming poets include Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Frost, Elinor Wylie, Sara Teasdale, 

Edna St. Vincent Millay, Myra Cohn Livingston, and Rachel Field. 

A poem is a spider web

Spun with words of wonder,

Woven lace held in place

By whispers made of thunder.

A poem is a busy bee

Buzzing in your head.

His hive is full of hidden thoughts

Waiting to be said.

His honey comes from your ideas

That he makes into rhyme.

He flies around looking for

What goes on in your mind.

When it is time to let him out

To make some poetry,

He gathers up your secret thoughts

And then he sets them free.

Workshop advice.

Stop attending workshops.

Read other writers if you must,

but save your soul and (and your right brain!)

and stay away from how-to workshops.

Inspiration comes from within, not from without.

Writing workshops can drain you of your inspiration

and creativity and leave you writing like everyone else.

Hold on to what little originality you have left from childhood.

Protect it. Nurture it. Let it run wild. That's all you have.

That's all you need. The only way to learn to write is to write.

There is no other way. Workshops and conferences can only

take you away from the real work, the real world, of writing.

Nursery rhymes are magic! They are a child's first introduction

to the joy of language and to the enchanted world of books. Their

lilting rhythms and rhymes, their short, simple sentences and their

clever repetition of key words and phrases start children's eyes, minds

and hearts dancing along the rhythmical lines of poetry and into a

lifelong love of lyrical language. It is the joyous power of poetry

that turns listeners into readers and readers into writers.

Children are born with the need to express themselves.

They possess a natural instinct to be creative.

We can encourage those instincts and basic needs by providing

them with unstructured time to play, daydream, and explore.

We can encourage their individual instincts for creativity by filling

their worlds of wonder with art, music, dance, wordplay and rhyme.

When you open a book with a child,

you open the door to a lifelong love of learning.

I have the best job in the world. I write books for children.

Books are magic carpets. They take us all around the world.

My books have taken me all over America, from Alaska to Florida,

from New York to California and everywhere in between.

They have taken me to South America, England and France.

People often say to me, "You're an author.

You can live anywhere in the world you choose."

I smile and reply, "I know. That's why I live in Alabama."

~   Quotes on Art   ~

Art can move us to question and examine, to ponder and celebrate,

to see and feel and understand ourselves and the world around us

beyond what we thought possible.

To the artist who thinks every piece of art must make a statement.

Art does not have to make a statement. Art is a statement,

a visual statement of what it means to be alive.

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Life's Greatest Lesson

To learn to live at peace with each other and ourselves

...and to enjoy a bit of music, art, and poetry along the way.

Fully Alive

No one ever feels so fully alive
All the way down to the bone
As when they are free to discover
New places on their own.

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Make Art Because You Love To

Make art because you want to, need to, have to!

Paint What You Feel, Not Want You Think

Good art is intuitive. Feel it. Paint the feeling. 

Creation Does Not Come From the Outside In

Art comes from the inside out. It is already in you. Let it out. 

Paint Fast and Fearlessly

Your brush is an extension of you. Use your whole body, not just your arm and wrist. 

Forget the Color Wheel

There are no primary or secondary colors. There is only color. Make your own.

Put the Critics on Mute

Art is a silent visual song. Turn off the chatter. Listen to your own music.  

Good Art Takes Time

Take time to make good art.

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Notes from a Library Conference Keynote

The library is the heart and soul of the community.

It is there where we find the golden key

to the kingdom of knowledge and inspiration.

I love librarians. 

I love them so much, I married one.

My wife was the first librarian at the

Alabama School of Fine Arts.

On Education

Children are born with a curious heart

and an open mind eager to explore their world.

As parents it is our job to nurture their natural desire to learn.

As authors and educators, we would be wise to borrow

a page from the doctors' Hippocratic Oath.

We must "first do no harm."

We must not let our own desire to teach

get in the way of the child's natural instinct to learn.

Inspiration, along with education, is the key.


Rare is he who embraces his own solitude,

yet it is there in the sweet silence of our thoughts

that we encounter our deepest understandings,

discover the seeds of our greatest imaginings.

Winning at Life

When you play the game for fun,

You've already won.

Well Dressed

To dress in style,

Wear a smile.

Time is a River

Time is a river.

Go with the flow.

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