“There are all kinds of courage. It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”
J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Traditional societies are generally divided into communities linked by social, economic, religious or blood tied. We like to participate in tribes whether we call them family, friends, groups, teams, clubs, or buddies because they form our support network and offer a measure of certainty. Since we want their approval and acceptance, we have reservations about moving forward in a new direction. Erma Bombeck once said “It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.”
Choosing a different path and becoming an outlier from the status quo, takes enormous courage. Yet, to remain faithful to the “tribe” and surrender personal fulfillment is a sacrifice far too great.
“Courage is the price life exacts for granting peace.”
Amelia Earhart, attributed, Another Country
“In Hollywood the woods are full of people that learned to write but evidently can’t read. If they could read their stuff, they’d stop writing.”
The turn of a phrase, a specific word, a striking first sentence or a surprise ending – those are the moments when reading becomes remarkable. I still get chills when I read Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.” And who can resist, “and they lived happily ever after.”
Writers are the best readers. Stephen King said, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” J.K. Rowling agreed, “The most important thing is to read as much as you can, like I did. It will give you an understanding of what makes good writing and it will enlarge your vocabulary.”
Writers need to hear the voices of other writers. Blended voices do not imitate or mimic; they unite and introduce harmonic structures that resonate with creative understanding.
Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.
Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”