Today, I want to link to Jhumpa Lahiri’s recent piece in The New Yorker, Trading Stories: Notes From a Literary Apprenticeship.
I’ll just pull one quote from the article, which is about her life-long relationship to books and writing, and the ‘creative stasis’ she experienced before writing her first short story as an adult.
It was not in my nature to be an assertive person. I was used to looking to others for guidance, for influence, sometimes for the most basic cues of life. 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.”
This was where I faltered. I preferred to listen rather than speak, to see instead of be seen. I was afraid of listening to myself, and of looking at my life.
These words took my breath away. As with most things I think and feel, Jhumpa Lahiri can say it better than I can.