How to Begin

Stephen King, On Writing (#1):

My earliest memory is of imagining I was someone else – imagining that I was, in fact, the Ringling Brothers Circus Strongboy. This was at my Aunt Ethelyn and and Uncle Oren’s house in Durham, Maine. My aunt remembers this quite clearly, and says I was two and a half or maybe three years old.

Barbara Kingsolver, Prodigal Summer (#2):

Her body moved with the frankness that comes from solitary habits. But solitude is only a human presumption. Every quiet step is thunder to beetle life underfoot; every choice is a world made new for the chosen. All secrets are witnessed.

Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex (#3) 

I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.

Mark Kemp, Dixie Lullaby (#4):

The studio went silent.

“That assassination changed everything.”
The storyteller’s warm Alabama drawl softened to a whisper, even though no one was in the room with us.
“We thought it was over,” he said. “We really felt like we were done.”

Neil Gaiman, American Gods (#5):

Shadow had done three years in prison. He was big enough, and looked don’t-fuck-with-me enough that his biggest problem was killing time. So he kept himself in shape and taught himself coin tricks, and thought a lot about how much he loved his wife.

Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game (#6):

“I’ve watched through his eyes, I’ve listened through his ears, and I tell you he’s the one. Or at least as close as we’re going to get.”
“That’s what you said about the brother.”
“The brother tested out impossible. For other reasons. Nothing to do with his ability.”
“Same with the sister. And there are doubts about him. He’s too malleable. Too willing to submerge himself in someone else’s will.”
“Not if the other person is his enemy.”
“So what do we do? Surround him with enemies all the time?”
“If we have to.”
“I thought you said you liked this kid.”
“If the buggers get him, they’ll make me look like his favorite uncle.”
“All right. We’re saving the world, after all. Take him.”

bell hooks, All About Love (#7):

On my kitchen wall hang four snapshots of graffiti art I first saw on construction walls as I walked to my teaching job at Yale University years ago. The declaration, “The search for love continues even in the face of great odds,” was painted in bright colors. At the time, recently separated from a partner of almost fifteen years, I was often overwhelmed by grief so profound it seemed as though an immense sea of pain was washing my heart and soul away. Overcome by sensations of being pulled underwater, drowning, I was constantly searching for anchors to keep me afloat, to pull me back safely to the shore. The declaration on the construction walls with its childlike drawing of unidentifiable animals always lifted my spirits. Whenever I passed the site, the affirmation of love’s possibility sprawling across the block gave me hope.

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