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Wayson Choy: “Love has no rules.”

Wayson Choy, my dear friend and mentor, came to the Autobiography II class yesterday, and spoke with his usual passion and insight about the writing process. He suggested that we all imagine for ourselves “the ideal reader” and write for that person. “Start as far into the action as you can, and then don’t go back, go forward,” he told us.

“Books that are subtle, that pierce the heart and leave the reader thinking” are the hardest to write, he said. He suggested that we “get more outside” – that is, just keep the flow of words pouring onto the page so that they’re out there, visible, and then we can work with them. To people who are wary about releasing their secrets, he said, “I’ve had two heart attacks, so I have no time for secrets. How much time do you have to share what you know? Risk telling the truth,” he said.

He quoted a wonderful story of Alice Munro’s, of two outcast teenage girls who suffer taunts from their fellow high school students. “How can they be so stupid?” one says to the other. “Don’t they know we’re going to grow up to be writers?”

And then he said, “There are two important things I’ve discovered in life: Family is whoever is there for you. And love has no rules.”

Writing well is the best revenge. Happy Valentine’s Day.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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