Writing, according to Tim O’Brien

I’m readingĀ The Things They CarriedĀ for the first time. I had read the short story of the same name my first year of college, but my coworker Keith (he has a cool movie-review blog) lent me his copy of the great Tim O’Brien masterpiece last week, saying it’s his favorite book.

I’m not surprised.

This book is fantastic so far. I’ll have a full review when I’m finished, but suffice to say for now that it’s magnificent and magical and sorrowful, and I’m only 35 pages in.

Today I came across this quote about writing and thought it appropriate for what we do and feel as writers every day:

But the thing about remembering is that you don’t forget. You take your material where you find it, which is in your life, at the intersection of past and present. The memory-traffic feeds into a rotary up on your head, where it goes in circles for a while, then pretty soon imagination flows in and the traffic merges and shoots off down a thousand different streets. As a writer, all you can do is pick a street and go for the ride, putting things down as they come to you. That’s the real obsession. All those stories.

I get that, you know?

What do you think?

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