Betsy Lerner

I wondered if I was just the sum of my brain scan, little dots clustered in my frontal lobe. Is that where the poems came from? The desire to destroy myself? This last depression had scared me. It had come on so quickly, not like the gradual woolgathering in my brain I had known before.

“I wondered if I was just the sum of my brain scan, little dots clustered in my frontal lobe. Is that where the poems came … Read More

In discovering books, you became free to explore the full range of human motives, desires, secrets, and lies. All my life, people have scolded me for having an excess of feeling, saying that I was too sensitive – as if one could be in danger from feeling too much instead of too little. But my outsize emotions were well represented in books. [] there simmered all the feelings no one ever admits to.

“In discovering books, you became free to explore the full range of human motives, desires, secrets, and lies. All my life, people have scolded me … Read More

But I also believe there is enormous value in the piece of writing that goes no further than the one person for whom it was intended, that no combination of written words is more eloquent than those exchanged in letters between lovers or friends, or along the pale blue lines of private diaries, where people take communion with themselves.

“But I also believe there is enormous value in the piece of writing that goes no further than the one person for whom it was … Read More

When an editor works with an author, she cannot help seeing into the medicine cabinet of his soul. All the terrible emotions, the desire for vindications, the paranoia, and the projection are bottled in there, along with all the excesses of envy, desire for revenge, all the hypochondriacal responses, rituals, defenses, and the twin obsessions with sex and money. It other words, the stuff of great books.

“When an editor works with an author, she cannot help seeing into the medicine cabinet of his soul. All the terrible emotions, the desire for … Read More

Fear of failure is the reason most often cited to explain why so many aspiring writers never realize their dreams. But I think it’s that same fear of failure that absolutely invigorates those who do push through-that is, the fear of not being heard.

“Fear of failure is the reason most often cited to explain why so many aspiring writers never realize their dreams. But I think it’s that … Read More

The world doesn’t fully make sense until the writer has secured his version of it on the page. And the act of writing is strangely more lifelike than life….every person who does serious time with a keyboard is attempting to translate his version of the world into words so that he might be understood…. Your job is to marshal the talent you do have and find people who believe in your work. What’s important, finally, is that you create, and that those creations define for you what matters most, that which cannot be extinguished even in the face of silence, solitude, and rejection.

“The world doesn’t fully make sense until the writer has secured his version of it on the page. And the act of writing is strangely … Read More

Tomorrow, I am fifty-two years old. And I want to say unequivocally that I am very happy to be alive, that being alive is better than being dead. And if I have just one wish it is this: that you work with all your might and love with all your heart and never lose hope and never give up.

“Tomorrow, I am fifty-two years old. And I want to say unequivocally that I am very happy to be alive, that being alive is better … Read More