Tish Cohen is the author of three adult novels, Town House, Inside Out Girl, and (just released) The Truth About Delilah Blue. The first two are being made into movies, all have received good reviews, and Inside Out Girl was a bestseller. Yet I wouldn’t be telling you any of this if Tish had listened to a voice that began speaking to her at age seven and followed her into her late thirties until she finally wrote the first page of her first novel. That voice said, “I could never do that.” You can hear the details of this journey in her interview, which will air in our June issue. What I will share with you now is that the lesson Tish took away from that journey was that there is no such thing a “special person.” Writing, she believed, was for special people, and she did not feel particularly special. As well she shouldn’t. Everyone, after all, is only themselves, and everyone struggles, and everyone feels inadequate at some point about something, and everyone is afraid, and everyone falls, and everyone wonders if it’s worth it to get up.
Tish is absolutely correct. Writers are not special. I myself suffered with the fear that writers were special. It was part of the reason I began interviewing them, to confirm firsthand the truth of it. I love them all, these writers I’ve had the good fortune to meet and talk to, but they are not special, they are simply people who love to write and who have chosen to pursue this love.
It would be a dark and grim world indeed if love were reserved for the special few. Fortunately, love is as much a birthright as breathing. Love runs through us as continually as blood. Yet, as with everything, the trick is to choose it. For years Tish chose fear over love. As a result, she explained to me, she became depressed, clinically so. Then she chose love, the best medicine available, and here she is.
Life is at its core disarmingly simple: you can do anything you want, as long as you love it. You can also do what you don’t love, and so the suffering begins. It is no more a shame if you were not meant – that is love – to write than if you were not meant to be a podiatrist. So you will do something else you love; the activity itself is irrelevant. It is a shame, however, if you love to write and choose not to. But don’t worry. What you love never leaves you. It remains with you as long as there is blood in your veins, and perhaps even after.