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30 Days of Thanks: Day 4: I am thankful for friends who support my writing, even when they are not writers themselves.

My friend Cathy is not a writer. Cathy is not even much of a reader. But she loves me and supports my writing life in sweet ways. When I had my first book signing, she showed up with gifts from the Piggly Wiggly in St. Martinville, a t-shirt, spicy salt, and white bread. Recently, she gave me a bag of books. She said, “I found some books on writing you might like.”

I kept the bag in the trunk of my car for about a week. When I did take the books out, I had a negative reaction. They were old discarded books from the library. I brought one of the books inside with thoughts of turning it into an altered book. See this post.

I subscribe to a weekly e-newsletter from Poets and Writers, The Time is Now writing prompts. Last week, the poetry writing exercise was about erasure poetry, taking a piece of text and selecting words while blacking out the rest. This sounded like a good thing to try with my new old book about writing.

The first chapter, “Simplicity” garnered this poem:

Who can understand
your vicious language
everyday–
Strip
every
sentence-
Simplify, simplify.

I love to be alone,
a man thinking
clearly, clearly,
not lost
no fuzz
logic

naturally takes self- discipline, self-
knowledge.
Writing
is
hard work.

So this book was speaking to me. Helping me think about writing. Maybe it was not such an outdated book. I tried this exercise again with Chapter 2: “Clutter.” This was becoming a fun obsession.

I decided to remove the paper cover. As I was hanging by the trashcan to throw it away, I read the bio of the author. Typically nerdy picture, old-fashioned dark-rimmed glasses. He stared at me from a time long ago saying he knew what he is doing. “Probably dead,” I thought. What did I do? Googled him. Then I got stuck, drawn in to this world of knowledge and an endless list of articles from The American Scholar.

I had discovered William Zinsser. He’s not dead, either. He’s 90 years old and apparently still writing. And who is he writing for? Why, me, of course!

Here is William Zinsser’s Wisdom for Women Writers: “Women Writers! You must give yourself permission, by a daily act of will, to believe in your remembered truth. Do not remain nameless to yourself. Only you can turn the switch; nobody is going to do it for you.”

Thanks, Wise William, and Thanks, Cathy. I am grateful for your support.

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