When I was very young, I was a self involved drama diva. I was also a writer, and you can see some of that in my very early work. But this isn’t about the page, exactly. This is about the most important advice ever given to me when I was just a little pup starting out.
I hadly ever write about or talk about those years when I was finding my way. The details of those years are basically locked in a vault. My friend, Andrea, has a “key”, but I doubt very seriously that she ever talks about the way we used to be— the ridiculous love affairs, the credit card debt, very dramatic scenes in restaurants, screwdrivers and bagels for breakfast, the , the weeping (“but I love you!” with tears freezing on my lashes). I could go on and on, but I won’t because I am boring myself.
Finally my beloved mentor said to me:
Stop living your life like a Fitzgerald novel. You’ll never write your book, and even if you do, you’ll never enjoy it. Fitzgerald’s characters are never satisfied until they have broken their own hearts, utterly destroyed themselves.
He told me that to write well, you need to live well. Take care of yourself. Stop theboozing, dump the loser boyfriend, stop showing out in public. I believe he told me to “drink some water, for God’s sake!” He also told me to sit down, shut up, read more. Write. And “put on a coat. It’s freezing outside.”