Thanks so much for mentioning me in your story. I'm glad my response resonated with you. What I like most about your voice as a writer is its authenticity. Something about it reminds me of what the Buddhists call "beginner's mind." That is a hard thing to hold onto as we journey through life. Your disarming stories remind me not to get too full of myself.

A well known writer was once asked to explain how one becomes a writer. "Try to do something hard," she said. "Give it everything you've got. Fail. Then you'll become a writer."

It sounds like you have already learned this important lesson. I am sorry that you lost so much money when the publisher went into liquidation. That was a very hard knock.

I remember how I felt the first time I learned that lesson. Today, I'm really glad my first book, a memoir, was not published. My journey as a writer and as a human being has shown me more enlightened ways to think about the things that happened when I was younger. The craft of writing has taught me how to express them more compassionately. Surely, this is what you are learning too.

Before you decide to jump into Nanowrimo again, may I suggest that you try to find "This Year You Write Your Novel," by Walter Mosley? It will show you how to complete a book of 50 thousand words in a year. You may still want to write an autobiography after reading it, but the process he outlines was very helpful to me. Perhaps it will be useful to you too. I found a copy in my local library.

Best wishes to you. Write on!

Fiction & cultural commentary with a personal twist — by a writer from the Deep South with roots in print & broadcast media.