Quotable Tuesday-Caroline Carlson


Today at Quotable Tuesday, I am so pleased to host friend and fellow VCFA alum Caroline Carlson. Caroline and I had the extraordinary pleasure of sharing the wit and wisdom of Julie Larios during one semester together. When I asked Caroline what quote keeps her going through the vagaries of a writing life, she said, “The quote that keeps me going in my writing life isn’t particular to writing. In the fourteenth century, the Christian mystic Julian of Norwich wrote:

“…but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

“I love so many things about these words—the way they repeat; the way they insist upon themselves. I love that they appear at the end of my favorite T.S. Eliot poem. And most of all, I am happy to know that a fourteenth-century mystic had to remind herself that everything would be all right, because I have to remind myself of the same thing every day.

“Writing can be an anxious business. There’s always something to worry about, if you go looking for it: Is my plot original? Have I chosen the right point of view? Will children relate to my story? Will I find an agent? An editor? Will anyone ever want to buy this book? Will anyone ever want to read it? Do I really have to sit down and write again?

“It can be hard to tug your thoughts away from these spiraling doubts; like Julian’s words, they build upon themselves and strengthen themselves until you’re left staring at a blank page and thinking you could really use a bowl of ice cream or a glass of wine. Never mind that it’s 10 a.m.

“That moment—the 10-a.m.-ice-cream moment—is when I say to myself, sometimes aloud, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” It’s a way to fight back against the part of you that insists you will fail, or reminds you that you’ve already failed. Things may not turn out the way I’ve planned, but in order to move forward with my writing and with my life, some part of me has to believe that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well. If I repeat those words, I’ll start to believe them. I’ll dust the doubts out of my mind, leave the ice cream in the freezer, and start filling up the page.”

As you did here. Thank you Caroline. And congratulations on selling your middle grade novel, tentatively titled MAGIC MARKS THE SPOT with a publishing date of Summer 2013. All shall be well.


3 Responses to “Quotable Tuesday-Caroline Carlson”

  1. Meredith Davis

    Ah Caroline, thank you for these words when I particularly need them myself. And thanks once again, Lindsey, for bringing us inspiration on a regular basis-they are tether lines for me.

  2. Caroline

    Thank you so much for having me on your wonderful blog, Lindsey! And hi, Meredith! Lots of good writing wishes to you both.