Were / Are / Will Be.

I knew I wanted to share a passage from this Andrew Solomon speech the moment I read its first paragraph (thanks very much to Kathy Lee for passing it my way). It's called "The Middle of Things: Advice for Young Writers," but I think it's relevant to anyone following a creative path. Below, my favorite bit.

Life is most transfixing when you are awake to diversity, not only of ethnicity, ability, gender, belief, and sexuality but also of age and experience. The worst mistake anyone can make is to perceive anyone else as lesser. The deeper you look into other souls  — and writing is primarily an exercise in doing just that — the clearer people's inherent dignity becomes. So I would like to be young again — for the obvious dermatological advantages, and because I would like to recapture who I was before the clutter of experience made me a bit more sagacious and exhausted. What I'd really like, in fact, is to be young and middle-aged, and perhaps even very old, all at the same time — and to be dark- and fair-skinned, deaf and hearing, gay and straight, male and female. I can't do that in life, but I can do it in writing, and so can you. Never forget that the truest luxury is imagination, and that being a writer gives you the leeway to exploit all of the imagination's curious intricacies, to be what you were, what you are, what you will be, and what everyone else is or was or will be, too.

I love that so much. Read the full speech at The New Yorker, and have a lovely weekend. (Also, thank you for being understanding of my erratic posting lately — will be back on track soon!)

Photos by Emily Johnston, whose spectacular new work can be found here.

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