By Ray Pride

Garth Greenwell

Not writing is the only failure that matters.
For twenty years before I published my first book, I wrote in absolute obscurity, in something that could only look from the outside like failure. Certainly it looked like failure to my family, to many of my friends, often enough to myself. For some of that time I was a student, for much of it I taught high school English. But in all those years, without any visible success, there was only one year that I experienced real failure, the only kind of failure that counts: my first year teaching high school, when I was so overwhelmed that for the nine months of the academic year I didn’t write a word. There’s a grace in the kinds of deadlines MFA programs impose, and for two years you’ve worked hard to meet them. The biggest challenge facing you now is to keep writing without them. There’s no magic to this. Sit at your desk and write.

~ Garth Greenwell

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