In graduate school I balked at formulas for plot. They were boring. I didn’t want to winnow the stories that fanned out from the one I’d meant to write or concede that the still moments gummed up the works, couldn’t make what seemed to be the required sacrifice. My instructors were very nice about these formless musings. They’d say, “Isn’t that a pretty sentence!” Later, editors were not so nice. They’d complain that a story had too many characters, or it got bogged down in the past, or it was too dense, too quiet, too girly. I tried to quit writing and even enrolled in a graduate program in counseling. But guess what? In San Francisco, the city where I live, there is roughly one licensed therapist for every eight people. Those were even worse odds for success. So I went back to stories.
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