From my table inside I watch the glamorous women outside who are lunching on Spa Cobb salads without blue cheese or dressing. The man with the bread basket wanders from table to table, lonesome as a cloud. When he comes to me his basket is full and perfectly arranged. He gives me a smile of sincere pleasure when I tell him I will take both the sourdough roll and the cheese stick.
Time is the most extraordinary gift for friendship. You'll get to eat your meals together and study together; in some cases you'll even sleep in the same room. You'll have time to waste on each other. You'll find out every single thing you have in common and still have time to catalogue all of your differences. Don't underestimate the vital necessity of friendship in your life because it is the thing that will sustain you later, when there will be considerably less time.
Do you want to do this thing? Sit down and do it. Are you not writing? Keep sitting there. Does it not feel right? Keep sitting there. Think of yourself as a monk walking the path to enlightenment. Think of yourself as a high school senior wanting to be a neurosurgeon. Is it possible? Yes. Is there some shortcut? Not one I've found. Writing is a miserable, awful business. Stay with it. It is better than anything in the world.
I believe that, more than anything else, this grief of constantly having to face down our own inadequacies is what keeps people from being writers. Forgiveness, therefore, is key. I can't write the book I want to write, but I can and will write the book I am capable of writing. Again and again throughout the course of my life I will forgive myself.
That is one thing I've learned, that it is possible to really understand things at certain points, and not be able to retain them, to be in utter confusion just a short while later. I used to think that once you really knew a thing, its truth would shine on forever. Now it's pretty obvious to me that more often than not the batteries fade, and sometimes what you knew even goes out with a bang when you try to call on it, just like a lightbulb cracking off when you throw the switch.
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