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  • We write every day, we fight every day, we think and scheme and dream a little
    dream every day. manuscripts pile up in the kitchen sink, run-on sentences dangle
    around our necks. We plant purple prose in our gardens and snip the adverbs
    only to thread them in our hair. We write with no guarantees, no certainties,
    no promises of what might come and we do it anyway. This is who we are.
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    ― Tahereh Mafi
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    Two ideas opened their petals this morning, and blossomed:
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    1) Each of us here, as we post away, is writing a book. A book of how we are feeling, witnessing, celebrating, responding to the life that we are engaged in, and the lives of those people, events and experiences around us. Admittedly, this is a new kind of book, a book which is most often read randomly, usually incomplete for the Reader, discontinuous, fragmented. But behind all the Stories there is a larger whole, and only over time can this whole emerge, and as it emerges, we find that, voila! we are writing a book. Digital technology has given us a whole new way to create literature, and enjoy the literature of others. Over time, our Stories add up to something more than just disconnected moments. Over time, our Stories become a garden with many paths: Walk in and find your way around. To be able to publish a collection of work in the format we have here is something quite new, and I find that with this realization, I am not just reading your Stories one by one, but I am seeing them in the larger context of who you are, what you have been, and what you are becoming. (Idea: Consider creating a small book of selections from your Cowbird Stories and artworks, and publish a small edition through http://www.lulu.com)
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    2) Realizing that whether we know it or not, we are each writing a book of our lives, I decided that I would initiate a personal “Love Project,” and go back, Story by Story, and appreciate the work of those writers here whose work especially delights, moves and enlightens me. Put another way, I am going to go back and read ….your BOOK! And in doing this, I will not take your Stories out of context, but “love” them as part of a whole. So please don’t be surprised if a flurry of “loves” lands on your desk (as one of you discovered this morning! Hi There! :) ) With my Love Project, I am telling you that I love your book as a whole work of art, not as a string of isolated pieces. And this brings up the matter of what does a “love” mean anyway? Many have commented on this, objected to it, asked for a system that provides more detail. For me, a “love” is exquisitely open ended and ambiguous, leaving lots of room for interpretation. If you get a “love” from me, for example, it can mean:
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    Welcome! I am so happy you joined our Community!
    I love your art
    I admire your courage in tackling a thorny life issue
    I love your sense of humor
    I love your photography
    I love that you are taking the time to share these special moments of realization
    I love that you brought tears to my eyes today
    I love that you aspire to be a Writer
    I love your courage in speaking from your heart
    I love that you are willing to take risks
    I love that I learned something from you
    I love that you inspired me to resurrect a forgotten memory
    I love that you inspired a Story
    I love that you are willing to take off the masks we tend to wear to ‘look good’
    I love that you are AWAKE!
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    And there are many more reasons why I will give a “love” but usually at least one of these reasons, and maybe several, come into play.
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    As long as the Cowbird Team has decided to say with the loves, let us love with abandon, and encourage our newcomers, and aspiring as well as established writers to keep the faith, and carry on.
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    The writing life is not for sissies.
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    I will never forget how much my first “love” meant. it was from B, and I was so grateful! It made me want to keep writing. You never know when your “love” may make the difference, and may even save a life. We can never know.
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    So, don’t be surprised, again, if a veritable Perseid Shower of loves from me rains down on you someday, as I catch up with your Stories I may have missed. This will mean that I am reading your book, Story by Story, and enjoying every minute of it!
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    YOUR book! Yours! Write on!
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    Brian Clark has this to say:
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    10 STEPS TO BECOMING A BETTER WRITER
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    Write.
    Write more.
    Write even more.
    Write even more than that.
    Write when you don’t want to.
    Write when you do.
    Write when you have something to say.
    Write when you don’t.
    Write every day.
    Keep writing.
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    (Photograph by Alex)
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