Dani Shapiro is my new best friend. She doesn’t know this, alas, but I love her. She’s the author of Still Writing, The Perils and Pleasure of a Creative Life.
I first saw this book in another friend’s home, a writer who, like me, has struggled with her identity and energy around the need to continually fuel her endurance as creator. I picked it up and began: Beginnings. My friend Dani writes in short snippets of warm advice partnered with blunt realities about the need to suck it up as a writer. “It” meaning my frail little ego who panders to the inner critic’s rolling eyes. “It” meaning every single aspect of life that threatens to–or does–derail me. She shares her heart and her history with me. She is vulnerable on the page.
I hated to put it down. I went home and immediately ordered myself and two other writer friends copies of the book. And then…I didn’t pick it up again. Until the other day when, because one of those friends kept telling me “thank you thank you THANK you for that book,” I re-opened it. And remembered.
We all need mentors. We need friends. We need someone we trust to tell us we’ll be okay, that maybe we’re not as alone as we sometimes feel. To guide us on a path we know exists, but that we sometimes forget to follow. She reminds me that the purpose of writing is not to get published, so please stop judging myself or my writing on that. The question is, always, am I writing? Is the act of writing feeding my soul?
Dani makes me think and feel and love myself more tenderly as a writer and as a human being on this planet.
So, that’s my gift to you today: I’m giving you Dani.
Please tell me how you ground and stay stable (ish) in the world you’ve found for yourself.