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Saturday, September 24, 2011

“I wonder if I don't give too much of myself to writing: I am always half where I am; the other half is feeding the furnace, kick-starting the heat of creativity. I am making love with someone but at the same time I'm noticing how this graceful hand across my belly might just fit in with the memory of lilacs in Albuquerque in 1974.”—Natalie Goldberg

I remember hearing Diana Gabaldon say one time that being a writer means that if you were held up during a convenience store robbery, one part of your brain would be able to remain detached enough to observe “so this is what it feels like to be held at gunpoint.”

Anything is fodder for your writing. Fiction or nonfiction, nothing is off limits. As soon as you start setting boundaries on what you are or aren’t willing to explore, you miss out on discoveries that could enrich your writing. This isn’t to say there shouldn’t be boundaries on what you’re willing to put out into the world, that choice may be different for each of us. But at the outset, there should be no corner too far away to be explored, no closet so dark we should not cast a light into it.

“Remember that you own what happened to you. If your childhood was less than ideal, you may have been raised thinking that if you told the truth about what really went on in your family, a long bony white finger would emerge from a cloud and point to you, while a chilling voice thundered, "We *told* you not to tell." But that was then. Just put down on paper everything you can remember now about your parents and siblings and relatives and neighbors, and we will deal with libel later on.” —Anne Lamott

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