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Churchill – On Writing

A visit to Churchill’s home at Chartwell was a reminder that the great man earned his living as a journalist, and that his talents as a wordsmith earned him a Nobel Prize for Literature.

I thought I would share a few of his thoughts on writing with you.

1908, 17th February, Athors’ Club, London – To sit at one’s table on a sunny morning, with four clear hours of uninterruptible security, plenty of nice white paper, and a Squeezer pen (Laughter) – that is true happiness.

1930 – It was great fun, writing a book…it built an impalpable crystal sphere around one of interests and ideas. In a sense one felt like a goldfish a bowl; but in this case the goldfish made his own bowl. This came along everywhere with me. It never got knocked about in travelling, and there was never a moment when agreeable occupation was lacking. Either the glass had to be polished, or the structure extended or contracted, or the walls required strengthening.

1947, 14th May, top literary assistant Denis Kelly – Your task, my boy, is to make Cosmos out of Chaos

1949, 2nd November, Grosvenor House, London – Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy, then an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then it becomes a tyrant, and, in the last stage, just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.

And, on the subject of reading:

1921 – “What shall I do with my books?” was the question, and the answer, “Read them,” sobered the questioner. But if you cannot read them, at any rate handle them and, as it were, fondle them. Peer into them. Let them fall open where they will. Read on from the first sentence that arrests the eye. Then turn to another. Make a voyage of discovery, taking soundings of unchartered seas. Set them back on the shelves with your own hands. If they cannot be your friends, let them at any rate be your acquaintances.