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Life is an opportunity, benefit from it. Life is beauty, admire it. Life is a dream, realize it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a duty, complete it. Life is a game, play it. Life is a promise, fulfill it. Life is sorrow, overcome it. Life is a song, sing it. Life is a struggle, accept it. Life is a tragedy, confront it. Life is an adventure, dare it. Life is luck, make it. Life is too precious, do not destroy it. Life is life, fight for it.
Writing a book is about me doing the work to get from the obsessive particular to something that reaches out of that in some meaningful way. It doesn’t come easy to me. I really admire people who do it with acuity, but I don’t, and for me it takes the process of working on a book for years to do any thinking that I feel accomplishes anything. I don’t do it off the cuff well.
To observe the world carefully, to write a lot and often, on a schedule if necessary, to use the dictionary a lot, to look up word origins, to analyze closely the work of writers you admire, to read not only contemporaries but writers of the past, to learn at least one foreign language, to live an interesting life outside of writing.
Like Summer Sisters comforted me just because I was like, okay things I’ve seen with my own eyes are not so terrible, and even though I knew adult gay people and had absolutely no issue with it. And I just couldn’t articulate what made me so uncomfortable about the space that I shared with my friends becoming a sexual space. And it was very healing for me to read that, and feel like it was a part of other friendships, even fictional friendships I admire.
I admire most of all The Renaissance Man, and if it can be said without pretentiousness, I like to think of myself as one, at least in some small measure. Not a Michelangelo, mark you, but perhaps a poor man’s Cellini or a road company Cosimo de’ Medici … the Renaissance Man did a number of things, many of them well, a few beautifully. He was no damned specialist.
You see it is important to understand how damaged people don’t always know how to say yes, or to choose the big thing, even when it is right in front of them. It’s a shame we carry. The shame of wanting something good. The shame of feeling something good. The shame of not believing we deserve to stand in the same room in the same way as all those we admire. Big red As on our chests.