Jhumpa Lahiri on Writing

“All writing, all art is just a wild leap off a cliff. There’s nothing to support you. You’re creating something out of nothing.”

I loved hearing one of my favorite writers, Jhumpa Lahiri, ruminate on the work behind her writing. It’s always great to hear an accomplished person describe their process, almost like a magician showing you the truth behind their illusion. But in this case, it doesn’t make the reading any less delightful or worthwhile.

Writing is always different for everyone and it’s empowering to think about creating something out of nothing. No one needs or wants my story yet, but I will create that need and want through the depiction of my characters and their experience. I will bring them to life without understanding how or why, but I’ll do it because they speak to me. In darkened shadows, in fleeting moments of silence, in wavering footsteps across the street. Even if it takes 100 drafts, I will figure it out slowly and whittle away until I stand back and find my creation completed. I can’t wait until that day finally arrives.

 

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