By Myself

I may crave the moment I can close the door to my workroom and sit quietly at my desk and once again enter the dream of the story I have been telling, but I must never mistake this experience for loneliness. Storytellers are never alone, although we are by ourselves.

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Friendly Stories

I wouldn’t let myself write about these things I didn’t understand but wanted to understand. I suppose I was afraid I would write about them and that other people would either not get what I meant or not care, and then there I’d be, stranded forever on an island of inscrutable thought.

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Real Games

If you don’t actually want to play the game, you will not get any better at it, and you will not care about focus or grace or technique. You will look at the game and think, “This is all made up. The points aren’t real, nothing real is won or lost, and the rules can be changed as quickly as we change our minds. It’s all pretend.”

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Loving History

Like bad book reviews, the past and all its suffering isn’t going anywhere. It will always be. So right now, in this moment, I have to decide what I actually believe about myself and all the other people in the world – every single living and dead one of us.

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The Reader's Choice

The creative mind, whether it’s reading or writing, can take any form. Its only limitation is perception. If we can see it, if we can imagine it, we can become it, just as water can fill any vessel.

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Made For Doing

After much practice, I have learned to enjoy the waiting necessary to write anything. You can’t always be in the middle of writing a sentence, and you can’t always be finding your way into the next sentence you know you want to write.

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A Friendly Nudge

The Inspiration Store never closes, and all it’s goods are free. All I have to pay is attention. If I turn inspiration into something rare, something reserved for the few or the talented or the lucky, I’ll wait and wait and wait, avoiding the desk for fear of failure, until I fall into a sleep of despair.

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William KenowerComment
Heroic Choices

I’ve been teaching memoir for several years, and I’ve found that every student who comes to my class has an interesting story to tell. Those stories always involve suffering. Sometimes the source of that suffering seems obvious, like alcoholism or growing up very poor, and sometimes it seems subtler, like enduring a dying marriage or raising a troubled child.

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William KenowerComment
Accept It

There is a very big difference between writing in the genre you were meant to write in and writing in a genre you think will be the most lucrative, just as there is a big difference between wearing a pair of shoes that fit and a pair of shoes that are a half-size too small.

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William KenowerComment
True Connection

The audience can be like a competitor. My ideas for stories begin where there is no thought of a reader. I am completely alone with these ideas as I try to find them in a way that they will make sense to me.

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William KenowerComment
An Audience Of One

I was giving a talk recently to a group of local parents. Good public speaker that I am, I have trained myself to scan the faces of the entire crowd. On this evening I noticed one woman sitting dead center to me. From word one, she was yawning.

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William KenowerComment
Worlds Apart

Before I could have any success as a writer I had to get over the idea that in order to do so I had to be special. From the outside, this seemed empirically, quantifiably true. I read some writers whose work reminded me why life was worth living, who could snap me to attention with one sentence, who seemed to write with such clarity that I could recognize myself in their stories. Other writers bored me, or irritated me, or seemed to be telling stories that somehow I’d already heard.

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William KenowerComment
The Real World

I’ve been telling stories since I learned to talk, and I have learned in that time that no matter how good a story might be I cannot tell it compellingly or authoritatively until I’m lined up with it.

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William KenowerComment
Story Time

Whether you call yourself a writer or not, you’re a storyteller. Stories are how we communicate with each other, and how we understand the world and ourselves. And perhaps more importantly, we are also all living in a kind of storybook of our own creation, filled with our own villains and heroes, our own monsters and saints, and our own idea of whether this story can end happily or not.

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