The Voice We Must Not Listen To*

*I’m down with the flu (again) today, but this piece from 2013 still resonates with me, and I hope it will with you also: I have many voices in my head.  (Most writers do.) Most of them I created, in one form or another, and for the most part I consider them friends.  They populate my manuscripts, existing and prospective.  Their voices are known and welcome. But there is another voice in my head, and yours, and the head of every person I’ve ever known or spoken to.  Some of us hear it more loudly than others, but if you stop and

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If You Like it, It’s Good – Just Read.

Back in the early 2000’s, U.S. Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin spoke at the Maui Writers’ Conference. Before reading from some of his work, he expressed an opinion of poetry (and by extension, written works generally) that resonated with me, and with many others in the room: “Don’t read bad poetry,” he told us, “and by bad poetry, I mean poetry you don’t like.  Don’t read poetry because someone told you it was good, find some that you like and read that.  If you like it, it’s good.” Books work the same way. It’s easy to get caught up in a discussion of

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