text inspiration: Agua Viva by Clarice Lispector

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One of my favorite writers in the world is brazilian Clarice Lispector and the first book that I ever read of hers was Agua Viva. This book is a constant inspiration to me, and I reread it regularly, always finding new insights and hence undiscovered gems. In addition to being drawn to its simple language and poetic style, I love its subject. The book is really all about the creative process and as someone who makes my artwork very intuitively, I love to read writers that can articulate this mysterious and beautiful human tendency.

For Helene Cixous, “Agua Viva is about writing , as a verbal activity. I write you. This is something active. The circulation of blood in this text, the vital theme of this text, is writing, all the questions of writing. Everything is organized around the mystery of writing. This mystery has to be read at the level of: why I write, how I write, from where I write, to whom I write, with what I write, of what I write, about what, toward what. All the questions of writing are right here.” (from the introduction essay).

When I googled the book title to find a suitable image of the book to include with this post, I was interested to find such a range of cover images and translations over the years, a testament to her influence around the world. Because I also love graphic design, more specifically book cover design, especially vintage, I thought I’d recap the range of covers I discovered rather than chose just one image. (If you love this kind of stuff too, I just started playing around on pinterest, so you should follow me.)

I’ll close with a few quotes on the creative process that might inspire you as they inspire me as I begin my day in the studio:

“As for the unforeseeable-the next sentence is unforeseeable for me. In the core of where I am, in the core of the Is, I don’t ask questions. Because when it is-it is. I’m limited only by my identity. I, an elastic entity separated from other bodies.”

“Now is an instant. And now, already is another one. And another. My intent: to bring the future into the present. I move within my deepest instincts which carry themselves out blindly. I feel then that I’m close to fountains, lakes, and waterfalls, all of overflowing waters. And I’m free.”

“I embody myself in voluptuous and unintelligible phrases that spiral outward beyond words. And a silence arises subtly from the clash of sentences. Writing, then, is the way followed by someone who uses words like bait: a word fishing for what is not a word. When that non-word-the  whatever’s between the lines-bites the bait, something is written. “


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