Yet somewhere in my psyche, I remained convinced that I could find a story, a simple, beautiful story about what had happened to me.
In the end, I went to a bookstore and spent the afternoon reading the back covers of a dozen novels.
All of the writers seemed to be finding interesting and unusual stories, I thought. I was saddened by how boring so many of them were. The cliche about the writer finding his lifework in his thirties remains true to this day: what a wilder, tougher world it was.
I wondered what I should write and what kind of story to write, and what would compel someone to read it.
Yet I wasn't absolutely certain that I could write a good story.
Writing is rewriting. Every time you take out a word or rewrite a sentence, it loses a little something of its power and becomes a bit more pedestrian. Writing is rewriting. It is learning how to be less a poet, a novelist, and more a citizen of the world. It is learning that you must own your facts. You must have great faith in the honesty and accuracy of your writer's tool, but you must also learn to trust the writing of other writers and try to interpret their work honestly and accurately yourself.
You have to learn the art of editing. You have to learn to accept criticism. You have to learn not to be so precious. You have to learn that there is no such thing as perfection. But you have to write a good story to be able to writee story has never seemed true. One becomes a writer to find what is meaningful, what is beautiful. If one can find one's life to be not beautiful or meaningful, one should change one's career path.
And then I found it. An unassuming novel titled “Returning to Joseph” by Maria Garcia-Rivera. It was the most beautiful, sweet-sounding story of a woman who is forced to return to her troubled hometown in Mexico.
I had found my story.