Years ago, I read a memoir called “Lit” by Mary Karr. As you can imagine, it’s about getting drunk. And sober. It’s about becoming a mother by letting go of a mother. And learning to write by learning how to live.

It touched that divine place in me that knows that creativity is so, so sacred — a true force of enchantment that’s not entirely human. 

I’ve come to believe in magical thinking about writers — any kind of artists really — because we plod along our creative path alone and yet we’re accompanied by spirits. Inspiration is sending us messages in every form it can — through dreams, voices, clues and coincidences, through deja vu and chills that run up our arms, through the wonder of new things and through stubborn ideas that keep us up all night.

Mary Karr’s was the first in a long line of memoirs I’ve devoured each night before bed that really showed me what kind of high art a story, in the hands of a master, can become. She keeps me writing — and putting authenticity before originality, because that’s the only way.

Again, she says. 

Every first draft is shit. 


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