Mary Oliver: The Artist’s Task

Wonderful essay on creativity

Vox Populi

It is a silver morning like any other. I am at my desk. Then the phone rings, or someone raps at the door. I am deep in the machinery of my wits. Reluctantly I rise, I answer the phone or I open the door. And the thought which I had in hand, or almost in hand, is gone. Creative work needs solitude. It needs concentration, without interruptions. It needs the whole sky to fly in, and no eye watching until it comes to that certainty which it aspires to, but does not necessarily have at once. Privacy, then. A place apart — to pace, to chew pencils, to scribble and erase and scribble again.

But just as often, if not more often, the interruption comes not from another but from the self itself, or some other self within the self, that whistles and pounds upon the door panels and tosses…

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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers’ Favorite

5star-flat-hr

Eye of a Needle: And Other Stories by Cornelia Fick is a gorgeous
collection of short and long stories, each suffused with unique
literary elements to entertain readers. The author captures the
reality of South Africa in vivid detail, in a voice that is clear and
absorbing. In “The Beggar,” the reader meets the “homeless writer”
and the circumstances that led him to miss his big dreams and set
up a home under the bridge. “Opposites Attract” features great
storytelling skills. There are stories of varying lengths, each looking
at a fragment of life through the narrator’s eyes, and at times the
reader can feel the indictment of the powers that be for the poverty
and injustice, or a celebration of love.
This collection features an exciting and delightful blend of flash
fiction and longer stories. The shorter ones are tightly written, and
the reader feels teased and wanting more once they complete
reading each story. The writing itself has many elements of
seduction woven into its fabric. The longer stories feature
compelling characters, great plots, and well-developed themes.
Some of the themes — love, social issues, poverty — are recurrent
in several stories. The characters that animate the plot lines are
well-imagined, most of them are plucked from ordinary life, and are
well-sculpted. What was most fascinating for me was the beautiful
and elegant writing. It is clean and polished, laden with vivid and
beautiful descriptions. Eye of a Needle: And Other Stories is a
gorgeous treat for fans of flash fiction and the short story, and
Cornelia Fick comes across as a mistress of the genre.