Serendipity — a happy, unexpected surprise — what a lovely word! I felt quite happily surprised when, sitting on a shelf full of writing books to encourage NaNoWri-mers, I saw a copy of Still Writing by Dani Shapiro, a novelist and the author of several best-selling memoirs. This passage in the Introduction to Still Writing seemed to speak to me and I hope it does to you:
“The page is your mirror. What happens inside you is reflected back. You come face to face with your own resistance, lack of balance, self-loathing, and insatiable ego — and also with your singular vision, guts, and fortitude. No matter what you’ve achieved the day before, you begin each day at the bottom of the mountain. Isn’t this true for most of us? A surgeon about to perform a difficult operation is at the bottom of the mountain. A lawyer delivering a closing argument. An actor waiting in the wings. A teacher on the first day of school. Sometimes we may think that we’re in charge, or that we hve things figured out. Life is usally right there, though, ready to knock us over when we get too sure of ourselves. Fortunately, if we have learned the lessons that years of practice have taught us, when this happens, we endure. We fail better. We sit up, dust ourselves off and begin again.”
I love the simplicity, the strength, the wisdom that quietly radiates from these words. And I love the image of starting each day at the bottom of the mountain. It’s a bit daunting, but it also captures the joy and the excitement of beginning anew, whether in storm, sunshine or shadow. Every day, we get a chance to start again, to do more, to do better.
I’m looking forward to diving into Still Writing — what a gift to discover a wonderful new writer. You can find out more about Dani at: danishapiro.com. The page is your mirror, my mirror, our mirror — so let’s all write on!