“On how to live life ‘on fire with the same force that made the stars’” by my friend Rose
Every day I recalibrate and try to do better at living with bravery and pushing what I thought were my limits, but I also remember to be kind to myself.
We limit ourselves all the time. We create boxes, we set boundaries, and write ourselves into corners because we are terrified that if we approach something greater, that we will fail. What if, instead, we imagined immensities?
From a Facebook post by David Gerrold, a writer for Star Trek: The Original Series:
Star Trek was about social justice from day one — the stories were about the human pursuit for a better world, a better way of being, the next step up the ladder of sentience.
“Write, Erase, Do It Over: On Failure, Risk and Writing Outside Yourself,” an interview with Toni Morrison
I may be wrong about this, but it seems as though so much fiction, particularly that by younger people, is very much about themselves. Love and death and stuff, but my love, my death, my this, my that. Everybody else is a light character in that play.
When I taught creative writing at Princeton, [my students] had been told all of their lives to write what they knew. I always began the course by saying, “Don’t pay any attention to that.” First, because you don’t know anything and second, because I don’t want to hear about your true love and your mama and your papa and your friends. Think of somebody you don’t know. What about a Mexican waitress in the Rio Grande who can barely speak English? Or what about a Grande Madame in Paris? Things way outside their camp. Imagine it, create it. Don’t record and editorialize on some event that you’ve already lived through. I was always amazed at how effective that was. They were always out of the box when they were given license to imagine something wholly outside their existence. I thought it was a good training for them. Even if they ended up just writing an autobiography, at least they could relate to themselves as strangers.