The most important thing for a writer to do is to write. It really doesn't matter what you write as long as you are able to write fluidly, very quickly, very effortlessly. It needs to become not second nature but really first nature to you. And read; you need to read and you need to read excellent books and then some bad books. Not as many bad books, but some bad books, so that you can see what both look like and why both are what they are.
Self-pity is the bestiality of emotions: it absolutely disgusts people. When you're feeling pity for yourself, and somebody says to you 'You think maybe it's time for the pity party to be over? You should stop feeling sorry for yourself and try to think positive,' it makes you wish you could saw their head off.
I gazed around the room and my eyes stopped dead on a little boy standing in the corner. This was a particularly eerie doll. Life-sized and blond-haired and blue-eyed. I saw a little Nazi boy, pockets probably stuffed with scissors and retractable blades. My grandfather on my mother's side was rumored to be half Jewish, which practically makes me Jerry Seinfeld's brother, and thus wary of blond German boys with their hands out of sight.
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No matter how huge your loss, as long as you remain engaged with your life, the best days of your life may still be ahead of you. Don't misunderstand me: the pain of your loss will remain with you for the rest of your life. But great joy will be there right beside it. Deep sorrow and deep joy can exist within you, side by side. At every moment. And it's not confusing. And it's not a conflict.
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The most mortifying fact of my life is something that happened when I was fourteen and I have never admitted to anyone: not to friends nor therapists; not even in rehab when we were detailing our own personal spirals of shame did I confess. It is this: I am a graduate of the Barbizon School of Modeling.
Glen had a disability more disfiguring than a burn and more terrifying than cancer. Glen had been born on the day after Christmas. "My parents just combine my birthday with Christmas, that's all, " he explained. But we knew this was a lie. Glen's parents just wrapped a couple of his Christmas presents in birthday-themed wrapping paper, stuck some candles in a supermarket cake, and had a dinner of Christmas leftovers.
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It may seem to you that your life is over now. Your future without the person you love is no future at all. Death is a head-on collision with your plans. But everything in life-the gold fillings of your teeth, the cotton of your sheets, the air you breathe, all the food you will ever eat-everything there is was born from a collision. Inside every single thing that lives is a debt to a distant star that died. Nothing new is ever created without one thing colliding into another. And something new is created when the person you love dies. Because they are not the only ones who die: you die, too. The person you were when you were with them is gone just as surely as they are. This is what you should know about losing somebody you love. They do not travel alone. You go with them.
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Even painfully shy and awkward people are not painfully shy or awkward when they are alone. The way to access this natural, comfortable alone-self when you are with others is by choosing to forbid yourself to wonder what "they" are thinking. Instead, force yourself to exist in the instant, then take it- and give it- as it comes.
As a young child I had Santa and Jesus all mixed up. I could identify Coke or Pepsi with just one sip, but I could not tell you for sure why they strapped Santa to a cross. Had he missed a house? Had a good little girl somewhere in the world not received the doll he'd promised her, making the father angry?' (p.3)
If you have one parent who loves you, even if they can't buy you clothes, they're so poor and they make all kinds of mistakes and maybe sometimes they even give you awful advice, but never for one moment do you doubt their love for you-if you have this, you have incredibly good fortune. If you have two parents who love you? You have won life's Lotto. If you do not have parents, or if the parents you have are so broken and so, frankly, terrible that they are no improvement over nothing, this is fine. It's not ideal because it's harder without adults who love you more than they love themselves. But harder is just harder, that's all.
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I want to feel calm and at ease. Like someone who lives in Half Moon Bay, California, and makes hummus from scratch. Instead, I feel like I'm a contestant on some awful supermarket game show where I've got sixty seconds to hurl my shopping cart down the aisles, piling it with as much as possible before the buzzer goes off.
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Why am I so anxious? And then it hits me. I'm not anxious, I'm lonely. And I'm lonely in some horribly deep way and for a flash of an instant, I can see just how lonely, and how deep this feeling runs. And it scares the shit out of me to be so lonely because it seems catastrophic - seeing the car just as it hits you.
I want to write something that means something to someone... the reminds them of what a second, a moment, really is... or that assures them that we are just as lost as they are. I want to write an emotion they are too fragile to let loose, so that my words can do the expression for them, the feeling for them. I want to write beyond the basics and the cliches... I want to write you, I want to write a long walk on a starry night, I want to write an exhale or an inhale... or suffocation. I want to write as clear as my voice could be heard... that is, if I had anything to say.
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I used to feel so alone in the city. All those gazillions of people and then me, on the outside. Because how do you meet a new person? I was very stunned by this for many years. And then I realized, you just say, "Hi." They may ignore you. Or you may marry them. And that possibility is worth that one word.