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Collaborative Solitude

by The Next Family January 05, 2010

By: Jillian Lauren
tariku mini

There is a common perception that writing is a solitary pursuit. While it’s true that writers are generally the sort of weirdos who prefer to spend their work day alone staring at a wall, writing is far more communal than it appears.

My second floor office faces out to the street and my neighbors sometimes look up and wave to me as they walk their kids to the bus stop. To them, it appears as if I spend a whole lot of time alone. What they don’t see are the co-writers who sit here with me and give me a hand when I stumble. They gently nudge me when I’m being inauthentic or indulging in self-pity or splitting my infinitives. My muses are truly the handful of exceptional teachers I was lucky enough to have had, the ones who loved literature and writing and who cared enough to pass it on.

My friend Colin Summers wrote a beautiful recollection for Vanity Fair about his experience as a student of Frank McCourt.

The picture of Tariku borrowing the Mini is completely unrelated. But cute, right?

Jillian Lauren

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