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Good Read: Still Writing: The Pleasures and Perils of a Creative Life by Dani Shapiro

I recently finished reading Still Writing by Dani Shapiro.  This was a good read and I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to creatives.  Still Writing is an intimate companion to living a creative life.

Below are some of my favorite quotes from this book.

“The writing life requires courage, patience, persistence, empathy, openness, and the ability to deal with rejection. It requires the willingness to be alone with oneself.  To be gentle with oneself.  To look at the world without blinders on.  To observe and withstand what one sees.  To be disciplined, and at the same time, take risks.  To be willing to fail — not just once, but again and again, over the course of a lifetime.  ‘Ever tried, ever failed,’ Samuel Beckett once wrote.  ‘No matter.  Try again.  Fail again.  Fail better.’  It requires what the great editor Ted Solotoroff once called endurability.”

“We are all unsure of ourselves.  Every one of us walking the planet wonders, secretly, if we are getting it wrong.  We stumble along.  We love and we lose.  At times, we find unexpected strength, and at other times, we succumb to our fears.  We are impatient.  We want to know what’s around the corner, and the writing life won’t offer us this.  It forces us into the here and now.  There is only this moment, when we put pen to page.

[…]

The page is your mirror.  What happens inside you is reflected back.  You come face-to-face with your own resistance, lack of balance, self-loathing, and insatiable ego—and also with your singular vision, guts, and fortitude.  No matter what you’ve achieved the day before, you begin each day at the bottom of the mountain. … Life is usually right there, though, ready to knock us over when we get too sure of ourselves.  Fortunately, if we have learned the lessons that years of practice have taught us, when this happens, we endure.  We fail better.  We sit up, dust ourselves off, and begin again.”

“If I dismiss the ordinary — waiting for the special, the extreme, the extraordinary to happen — I may just miss my life.”

“If beginnings are leaps of faith, and middles are vexing, absorbing, full of trap doors and wrong turns and dead ends, sensing an ending is your reward.  It’s better than selling your book.  It’s better than a good review.  When you’re in the home stretch, it seems the universe reaches out to support you.  It meets you more than half way.  Whatever you still needing order to finish your novel, you story, you memoir, appears as if by the decree of some literary deity who understands just how hard you’ve worked, just how much you’ve struggled, and now will give you a break.”

 

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