On Giving Up

Be secret and exult, Because of all things known That is most difficult. —Yeats, “To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Nothing” In a job interview in May 2019, I sat across the table from several creative, talented people and told them that the best work I’d written in my life wasn’t going to be published and would never be read, and that I’d had to make peace with that fact. I don’t think I’d known any of that until I said it aloud, but it was true, all of it, and the air went thin and sharp and ringing, as it does when you hear a true thing spoken. Lately I’ve heard a sword sing, rebounding from a blow, and the sound had a similar quality.

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