Writing, like living, requires these three attributes: the courage to throw down mud onto the page, the honesty to recognize it as mud, and the humility to revise and rework it.
When I was fourteen I spent a year being depressed. It turned out to be a precious gift.
My issue with “goal-setting”: looking directly at something is not necessarily the best way to see it.
There is a Greek myth about a man named Antaeus who taught us this: as long as you stay connected to where you came from, you cannot be conquered.
My mom was a storyteller. Of all the stories she told me, one of my favorites was her riff about the irate parent and the French class. It goes like this.
When I was 16, a group of friends and I decided to start our own high school. Obviously, a group of kids with their heads in the clouds.
I smoked for twenty-eight years. Since I was a solid pack-a-day guy for more or less that entire time, this translates into ten thousand, two hundred twenty-seven packs (including leap years). One day, I decided to quit.
Students in classrooms around the globe, absorbing the lessons of Pindar’s Paradox: The more you give, the more you have. I can’t think of anything more gratifying.
That first step, the part of writing a story where there are no sentences and paragraphs yet, the part where there is only the empty blankness of the page, that is by far the hardest part. It’s also my favorite part.