Two of my favorite Maine writers are Bill Roorbach and Bob Keyes.  Bob writes about Maine's art and culture for out state's biggest newspaper, and this morning he wrote a piece about Bill's new novel, Life Among Giants.  These two men offer inspiration to all writers, as well as an awareness that the writing life can look many, many different ways.

In addition to Life Among Giants, Bill has a long career of teaching and writing.  (Bill has written six books, each a preparation for the next, he notes to Bob.)  One of his essays, "On Apprenticeship," is on my list of required reading for new writers.  The central anecdote in this essay has morphed into a sort of urban legend among writer.  The punch line involves an enthusiastic surgeon attending a writer's conference.  Inspired by Bill, she tells him that she's been a surgeon for her entire life and is now prepared to take the next six month off to become an author.  This is when Bill matches her enthusiasm and notes that is she who is the inspiration, that he has been a writer for his entire life and is now prepared to take the next six months to become a surgeon.

Right.

In addition to the (hopeful) groan of awareness, the lesson here is that writing is a process.  Like any craft, it takes time to refine and perfect.  The lesson is also to be patient.
 


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