Last summer I had a “where have you been all my life” experience with Dodie Smith’s 1948 novel, “I Capture the Castle.”
The book details the story of 17-year-old Cassandra Mortmain and her outlandish family, who live in a broken-down castle in the English countryside.
In addition to telling her story, Mortmain is also working to perfect her writing skills. The reader is captivated by her narrative, quips and insights as she chronicles her struggles to properly pen her thoughts.
Below are a few quotations from the book to which most writers can relate:
1. “I only want to write. And there’s no college for that except life.”
2. “Even a broken heart doesn’t warrant a waste of good paper.”
3. “Perhaps if I make myself write I shall find out what is wrong with me.”
4. “It is rather exciting to write by moonlight.”
5. “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. That is, my feet are in it; the rest of me is on the draining board, which I have padded with our dog’s blanket and the tea cosy.”
6. “I have found that sitting in a place where you have never sat before can be inspiring — I wrote my very best poem while sitting on the hen-house.”
7. “I am surprised to see how much I have written; with stories even a page can take me hours, but the truth seems to flow out as fast as I can get it down.”
8. “I should rather like to tear these last pages out of the book. Shall I? No — a journal ought not to cheat.”
9. “I wish I could find words — serious, beautiful words — to describe it in the afternoon sunlight; the more I strive for them, the more they utterly elude me.”
10. “Contemplation seems to be about the only luxury that costs nothing.”
How about you, Ragan readers? What books speak to you as a writer?
Laura Hale Brockway is an Austin-based writer and editor. Read more of her work at Impertinent Remarks.