In the quiet forced upon me, I started to hear the voices of other selves.
I thought I had to make myself smaller, quieter, in order to survive.
It wasn’t a matter of finding my voice, but listening to it. It had been there all along.
How I wrote a failed sonnet that turned into my fourth novel.
“I now see fiction—my own and that of others—as work paused but never finished.”
I saw writing was not a remote magic but something one created—built.
“I now accept that I am forever doomed to learning from my mistakes, whether in crafting a sentence, creating a book, or living out my life. That’s the writer’s burden.”
“My new professor, with his reading list of Central and Eastern European literature, had handed me a vast map with so much good territory to explore.”
“If I could write a eulogy for him, convey his value in a single page of prose, then how could I justify wasting 80,000 words on invented characters whom I felt nothing for?”
“It feels reassuring to write everything you remember, how it all felt. But to write well sometimes involves rejecting reassurance.”
“Was I replacing one language with another, one way of communicating with another?”
“To risk something real as a writer is to risk making a fool of oneself.”
“It meant not constantly trying to get readers to feel pity for my characters, which was what I’d been doing for way too long.”
“In his attempt to make something balanced, measured, conventionally well-made, the writer is defeated from the start.”
What kind of story would you like to write?
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