"Little by little, the bird builds its nest."
As a writer, I return to this French proverb so frequently that it is as familiar to me as my name.
Whenever I find myself staring into a blank computer screen, fingers poised over the keyboard, and my mind unearths very little, I return to these words as often as I return to Harper Lee's letter to me, wherein she made quite clear her writing advice: "If you want to write, WRITE. Writing is a craft you can only master by doing." And, of course, she was right. And when those moments of "nothing" hover over us like a black cloud, taunting us to abandon the craft, we reach out and gather to us those treasured gems of clarity -- whether it comes in the form of a French proverb or a few very simple, yet powerful words from one of the best to have ever sat down at a keyboard, searching for just the right words that will resonate; cause to think; and if we're very, very lucky, cause to change. And that's why we keep returning to the blank page, fingers poised over a set of twenty-six letters of the alphabet, never certain that we have reached our readers in ways that will promote thought and change. And it is in that challenge that we choose not to abandon ship, but to stay the course.