The Writing Life


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Experience is at the heart of it

Everything counts.

Nothing is extraneous.

All of it,

mundane and joyous,

the ecstasy and the failure,

the whole unearned exhilarating lot of it

gathered up into this unassuming handful of words.


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I was Elizabeth Campbell, ten years old in a Mannheim house on the banks of the Arroyo in Pasadena.  Between Saturday treks down into the canyon, wild then, sycamores and a swimming stream, Father leading the way, all the neighborhood children in tow, I was already writing. Stanford University next, then my own family and a house we built ourselves in Newport Beach when it was still a small town.  But the center of my life always was and is now, the experience of writing.  I have never lost the joy of it.


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