Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring Break is here. Everyone is scurrying to wrap up obligations at school in order to head home for the week. The last few days have offered me a lot to think about regarding the topic of courage. It's strange to think about, but recently I discovered that I am only now learning a lesson from something that happened to me ten years ago. Ten years ago I mustered an incredible amount of courage to ask for a job as a Spanish TA as a Freshman, and only now am I realizing, because of a more recent act of courage, that often very good things are within the grasp of those who find courage to do what they normally would never consider. Mortification is always around the corner, menacing and mocking.

Taking the idea of courage over to the act of writing, I see many correlations. One of the most courageous acts, I believe, is consistently, day after day, facing a blank screen, daily overcoming the doubts and discouragements that weaken even the most steely writer. For the beginning writer, the courage must be greater, because the doubts are greater. It takes an especial amount of courage for the writer who sets out to write something that requires much greater skills than he or she has, for the one who aspires to write great fiction, and not merely good fiction. Maybe it implies a degree of narcissism, a foolish bravura that fuels great accomplishments in language. But partly it also an indescribable love of reading that is part of the recipe. Every couple weeks, after several hours of reading, I stop and reflect on how much reading has transformed my life. I fall in love with reading again and again. Each time I am renewed and encouraged. And inspired to try my own hand at writing.


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