Junot Diaz is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and widely admired short-story collections, including This Is How You Lose Her. He’s also a truly compassionate fellow scribe. I just came across some notes on a wonderful talk of his I was lucky enough to attend and wanted to share them with you:
You have to be compassionate toward yourself. First, you practice compassion on yourself”.
“Art: From that nothing, you try to summon up beauty. Musicians try to summon up beauty through music; artists, through art… I try to summon beauty through a story.”
“Usually, you’re awesome because you fail a lot. It’s impossible to learn and grow without failure. I always feel the most successful people are the ones who have the greatest tolerance for failure.”
“A piece of art is difficult because what you want that art to do is to have the possibility that people are changed by it, that lives are transformed by it.”
“Society encourages us to compete, to consume. Art asks you to be yourself.”
“Art is an incredibly difficult topic to wrestle with — why it is so essential to our lives. Art is the place where we encounter our true selves. In art, you meet who you really are — without art, you don’t know who you really are.”
“Do you really know why you’re called to do something you love? Deep down, it’s a mystery. What keeps us going is that love — loving the form, the play, the film script.
You don’t get paid much to be a writer.”
“The only way you survive is by keeping as much as you can of yourself. You don’t have to choose or suppress. The only way you can survive in multiple worlds is to keep your entire self present.”
“Be kind to yourself! Writing is hard work.”
“Success is discipline.”
I hope some of these wise words strike a chord with you today as we all write on.