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Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Refusal

With each NO that arrives in the mail, comes the human experience of doubt in the writer's soul.
I read the following words from James and Dubus the other day. I found it to be worth sharing.

I am in full possession of accumulated resources. I have only to use them, to insist, to persist, to do something more. To do much more than I have done. The way to do it . . . is to strike as many notes, deep, full, and rapid as one can. Go on, my boy, and strike hard. Try everything, do everything, render everything. Be an artist, be distinguished, to the last. (Henry James)

All these truths and quasi-truths . . . about publishing are finally ephemeral. What is demanding and fulfilling is writing a single word, trying to write le mot juste, as Flaubert said; writing several of them, which become a sentence. When a writer does that, day after day, working alone with little encouragement, and with discouragement flowing in the writer's own blood, and with an occasional rush of excitement . . . the treasure is on the desk. If the manuscript itself, mailed out to the world, where other truths prevail, is never published, the writer will suffer bitterness, sorrow, anger, and more despair. But the writer who endures and keeps working will finally know that writing the book was something hard and glorious, for at the desk a writer must try to be a better human being than the writer normally is, and to do this through concentration on a single word, and then another, and another. This is splendid work, as worthy and demanding as any and the will and resilience to do it are good for the writer's soul.

Have faith in yourself and your writing.


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