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Dani Shapiro: Self-doubt is a writer’s best friend

I’ve long been an admirer of Dani Shapiro’s bestselling fiction and nonfiction. Her memoir, "Slow Motion," was a source of inspiration when I was shaping my memoir, "History of a Suicide: My Sister’s Unfinished Life." Her new book, "Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life," is everything I would expect and more from a writer of Shapiro’s dedication, integrity and, yes, devotion (the title of her most recent memoir) to the art and craft of writing.  It is warm, honest, forthcoming, insightful and intelligent.  It’s a book that will provide inspiration and insight to new writers, and will be a comfort and companion to seasoned writers.

“Don’t think too much. There’ll be time to think later," she writes. "Analysis won’t help. You’re chiseling now. You’re passing your hands over the wood. Now the page is no longer blank ... Now you’ve carved the tree. You’ve chiseled the marble. You’ve begun."

What’s most amazing about "Still Writing" is how, through Shapiro’s grace and instruction, she makes the reader share her unswerving belief that the act of writing can transform and shape our vision of ourselves and of the world. I’m delighted to talk with her about the practice and art of writing.

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