Monthly Archives: May 2016

Springsteen on Writing


From author Abigail Thomas’ website

There is a wonderful interview with Bruce Springsteen that the BBC recorded and a friend sent me part of the transcript. He is talking about song writing, but he’s talking about all writing. I’m going to end with part of it:

“…First of all, everybody has a memory when you were eleven years old and you were walking down a particular street on a certain day, and the trees—there was a certain wind blowing through the trees and the way that the sound of your feet made on the stones as you came up the drive and the way the light hit a particular house. Everyone has memories they carry with them for no particular reason and these things live within you—you had some moment of pure experience that revealed to you what it meant to be alive, what it means to be alive, what the stakes are, the wind on a given day, how important it is, or what you can do with your life. That’s the writer’s job…to  present that experience to an audience who then experience their own inner vitality, their own center, their own questions about their own life  and their moral life…and there’s a connection made. That’s what keeps you writing, that’s what keeps you wanting to write that next song, because you can do that, and because if I do it for you, I do it for me.”

from a talk given at the University of Iowa

The Past is Prologue

DSC_6372I love images of people reading, so when I saw this sculpture on the Pennsylvania Avenue side of the National Archives in Washington, D.C. recently, I was intrigued. I photographed the sculpture from a variety of angles, and then read the inscription on its base – “what is past is prologue.” I was taken aback by the words. Where did they come from, and what did they mean?

It turns out that the sculpture, designed by Robert I. Aiken, is called The Future. The woman, pictured with an open book on her lap, looks off into the distance, to the future. The quotation is from William Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

A companion statue, called The Past, features a man holding a scroll and a closed book, with the inscription “Study the Past.”

Whatever happened in the past lays the foundation for what will happen in the future.