Jimmy Santiago Baca
Hundreds assembled in the beautilly arched and tiled room that had once been financier and industrial Andrew Mellon’s swimming pool. When I asked the the American Book Award winner for his best advice for writers, he was blunt. “You write. Then you rewrite and rewrite and rewrite.”
As the audience waited for more, the poet and writer of Apache and Chicano descent shrugged and apologized for not having anything more profound to offer. Then, he repeated. “You write, then you rewrite and rewrite and rewrite.” For me, the effect was like hearing a master carpenter explain how to build a table: You select the wood. You measure, cut, saw, nail and glue. Then, you sculpt, polish and refine.
While I, perhaps others, expected references to muses and magical insights, Mr. Baca reminded that writers – as with all in the arts and crafts – simply and without frills work hard and diligently, consistently and persistently.
First published October 14, 2014,
Original Wordsmith Stars blog