The more you write and read and edit others and edit yourself, the more you develop a kind of x-ray vision. You take a look at rows of text and see, at once, the flesh and flaws of it, the frame, the bones, the muscle, the hairline fractures, the breaks.

Because you engage daily now, because you are in conversation with your imagination and in the practice of using your senses to capture the world and words to take action, to create and recreate, you have a body or work, parts of it wobbly, imperfect, perhaps even injured, possibly too weak to survive.

Still, you have a body of work. It breathes, moves, is alive as something separate from you. Study it closely, with the curiosity you bring to the beloved unknown–the attention you might give a new lover whose very worst qualities fascinate in the early days, shining with promise.

Examine your work that way, leisurely and up close, looking deep, through layers. Be willing not to know, so you can discover what is there.

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