When you come to the end, you are really just beginning

The book had been more difficult to write than she expected. The swirl of important ideas and powerful epiphanies seemed diminished on the page. They became fixed words and were no longer fresh internal debate. Still, she finished, and was excited and nervous to see what people would think, how her work might change their lives. It could have a ripple effect. She did not want to get her expectations up too high, yet writing about personal discovery could prove to be her calling.

And then she could not find a publisher. She kept sending out the manuscript and received only rejections or never heard back. It had been a waste of time to write the damn thing. She was going to throw it in the trash–it pained her to see it, this big lump of wasted time. But then she reconsidered. She was stronger than that. It wasn’t a failure. She simply had not come out of the jungle yet. She needed perspective. She needed to revise her life before she could revise her book.

No more excuses about obligations. No more thinking she was indispensable. She bought a ticket for Paris. On the plane, she conjugated verbs that would soon have real meaning: Je crie au monde. J’ai crié au monde. Je crierai pour que le monde m’entende. I will shout to the world to hear me.

– Amy Tan, Saving Fish from Drowning, p 459

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5 Comments

  1. “The swirl of important ideas and powerful epiphanies seemed diminished on the page”

    Great line. I hate it when that happens….

  2. “She needed perspective. She needed to revise her life before she could revise her book.”

    You can substitute book out for me though.

  3. Off topic. Have you read Ruth Ozeki? All Over Creation or My year of Meats? Both excellent and the author as well as the protagaonists in both novels are biracial and from the midwest.

  4. Haha, it’s all good. And yes, I’ve read (and enjoyed) My Year of Meats. Not All Over Creation, though. I’ll have to check it out! (Yaaaay public library.) Thanks for the recco!

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