Wise Words from Writer Dorothy Allison

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Dorothy AllisonOn Saturday, I had the privilege or hearing Dorothy Allison. Her book, Bastard Out of Carolina, was a National Book Award finalist in 1992 (Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses won that year).

 She seemed to be an instant success but that’s never the case, now is it? She started her publishing poems and stories when she was a teenager. When she was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1992, she had already published two previous novels and stories. 

I love Dorothy Allison’s writing. She always seems to get it right. And like Raymond Carver, her stories are gritty, hard to read, and beautifully written.

She’s also a natural storyteller and a phenomenal speaker. Here are some snippets and words of advice that she shared with the crowd:

 “You have a moment if inspiration and a voice comes to your head. Either you’re crazy or you write the next book.”

 “Sexual abuse does not stop you from writing. Poverty does not stop you. They drive your engine.”

 Bastard out of Carolina“Writing is about taking enormous risks with your imagination.” 

“Can you make your words sing? Can you move my heart?”

 “You can’t be the slowest most pitiful writer be because I am.”

 “Books go south. Books take a break. What you need to not destroy yourself are friends who write.”

 “Make of yourself a legend by getting your books banned in schools.”

 Dorothy Allison refers to writers block as a correction. Here’s her advice: “There’s no easy cure or exercises. It’s about endurance. Write dirt until it becomes mud. Write mud until it becomes wine.”

 I hope you read one of her stories. You won’t be disappointed.

 Please feel free to share a quote from one of our favorite writers in the comments section.

socialmediaforwritersAbout the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media strategist, trainer, and author of Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Manager for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapterthe San Francisco Writers Conference, and the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. You can find her on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+. 

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