One of my favorite novels is Toni Morrison’s Beloved, which I happened to be rereading when news broke of her death at age 88 (on August 5, 2019). Here is an excerpt from the lecture she gave when she won the Nobel Prize in Literature 1993. For all writers of fiction and narrative poetry—beginners through published authors—it seems especially inspiring:
“Make up a story. Narrative is radical, creating us at the very moment it is being created. We will not blame you if your reach exceeds your grasp; if love so ignites your words they go down in flames and nothing is left but their scald. Or if, with the reticence of a surgeon’s hands, your words suture only the places where blood might flow.
We know you can never do it properly – once and for all. Passion is never enough; neither is skill. But try.”
Toni Morrison, Nobel Lecture, December 7, 1993