Quotable Tuesday-Uma Krishnaswami


Today’s quote comes to us from one of my favorite writing mentors Uma Krishnaswami. I first met Uma through Writers.com, a fabulous online writing community which offers great classes from memoir to children’s literature. Later I listened to her lectures at Vermont College of Fine Arts where she is a faculty advisor. What I love about Uma and her writing is she balances the contrariness of  brilliant logic with surprise and inspiration. I was so curious to learn what quote inspires her as a writer.

“Here’s my “dry season” quote, when the page stays empty and I think I’ll never write again:

“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”
Henry David Thoreau.

“And my “rainy season” quote when there are so many projects needing to be completed that I feel overwhelmed and think I’ll never have enough time to write all that had to be written by the day before yesterday.

“…life is denied by lack of attention, whether it be
cleaning windows or trying to write a masterpiece.”
Nadia Boulanger.

“Why these two quotes for these two circumstances?” says Uma. “Because they work against the inevitable in each of those places I often find myself as a writer. The panic of the empty page can drive me away from the reason I write, which is to make meaning in the world. And the panic caused by projects piling up can make me forget to attend to each moment, each page, each word, to exercise care and to think of each work as my life’s work.”

You see? A perfect balance. You can read more of her brilliance and whimsy in her latest book, The Grand Plan to Fix Everything. 

Thank you Uma, for joining me here today.

8 Responses to “Quotable Tuesday-Uma Krishnaswami”

  1. katia novet saint lot

    And thank you, Lindsey, for sharing this moment with our dear Uma. Crazy, really, when you think that i’m still to meet you, and only saw Uma for a couple of hours, once, but I miss you both.

  2. Lindsey

    I know it is crazy. But I do love living with the expectation that love could strike at at any moment.

  3. Janice Scully

    I dislike the pressure I feel currently, when I have too much to think about, too much that I want to think about. It’s nice to feel part of a community of others who understand. Nice post, Linds’ and thanks so much, Uma.

  4. Lindsey Lane

    Thanks, Janice. I know what you mean. It’s hard to remember to breathe and come back to the present moment where time is infinite.

  5. Meredith Davis

    I do so love these Tuesday quotes, Lindsey. Little bits of inspiration to keep me going, and I love the idea that “each work is my life’s work.” Yes, whether cooking dinner, tucking a child in bed, or figuring out how to get my characters off the roof of the school-it is all life’s work, and we are so fortunate to be living it.

  6. Lindsey

    Mere’ You have picked out the one phrase that is like a beautiful meditation: each work is my life’s work. It makes me think of Thich Nhat Hahn’s meditation on the miracle of being alive: how if one is truly awake in the present moment, then you will discover the miracle of being alive in the simplest of tasks.