Assertiveness

A quote, from Jhumpa Lahiri:

“And yet writing stories is one of the most assertive things a person can do. Fiction is an act of willfulness, a deliberate effort to reconceive, to rearrange, to reconstitute nothing short of reality itself. Even among the most reluctant and doubtful of writers, this willfulness must emerge. Being a writer means taking the leap from listening to saying, “Listen to me.””

It’s a curiosity to me how I stopped writing for so many years, and started again writing something very different from I once had. I think both stopping and starting stemmed completely from willfulness, from my need to find it.

The quote comes from her wonderful personal essay in the New Yorker about becoming a writer, “Trading Stories.” You can read the whole thing here. I thoroughly recommend it. (And yes, it is from last June’s issue, but when you read your New Yorkers as hand-me-downs, your reading schedule is a little slower than most.)

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