January 15th – Ernest Gaines

“My six words of advice to writers are: ‘Read, read, read, write, write, write.'”

Ernest Gaines

Ernest Gaines, the author of the American classics Of Love and DustA Gathering of Old Men and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, was born on January 15th, 1933, on a plantation in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. Over his career, he wrote eight books, won numerous awards and grants, and taught at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. 

In 1993, at the age of 60, he married Dianne Saulney, an assistant district attorney for Dade County, Florida. They met at a book fair and celebrated their wedding in Lafayette, Miami, New Orleans, and San Francisco. 

Gaines claims he didn’t marry before that because he focused on his writing, and a wife and a family would distract him. Many Renaissance artists had the same view, renouncing love to pursue what they believed to be the higher calling of art. In Big Magic, writer Elizabeth Gilbert instructs readers to desire their craft like a lover, making time to spend with it even if it means sneaking away from other responsibilities, just as you would a new lover. 

The point is – if you’re passionate about something – you’ll make time to pursue it. You have to choose your art as your lover and wake up early and stay up late for her, putting off others to cradle her jealously, or she’ll slip away. 

There will be time later for other pursuits.

More about Ernest Gaines here.

One thought on “January 15th – Ernest Gaines

  1. I think if he had gained big money by his writing he would have chosen to live an ordinary life. Yes, I agree that struggle gives a writer great inspiration and there’s still a great joy to spend so much time with your writing. But money can change these struggles more affordable ones.

    Like

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