Whenever I've been stuck on a project, it's always brought me solace to the return to books that moved me in the past. It's a nice way to get outside my own head; and it brings me back to one of the most important reasons I write at all: to bring some pleasure to readers, to make them think or feel.
The idea that a story has to be 'exceptional' in order to be worth telling is curious to me. What if we looked at every single person's story as a site of possibly infinite meaning? What if we came to believe that there isn't hubris or narcissism in thinking your story might be worth sharing - only a sense of curiosity and offering?
One of the big ways in which I felt my own writing life shaped by recovery had to do with my relationship to other people's stories. And one of the things I loved most about recovery was the way in which, in meetings and through fellowship, you are constantly kind of paying attention to lives outside of your own.
The global phenomenon of poverty tourism - or 'poorism' - has become increasingly popular during the past few years. Tourists pay to be guided through the favelas of Brazil and the shantytowns of South Africa. The recently opened Los Angeles Gang Tour carries visitors through battle-scarred territories of urban violence and deprivation.