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Fast and Far

African Proverb

Twice lately I’ve come across a certain African proverb, first in Cory Booker’s comments during last week’s Democratic presidential candidates’ debate, and a couple days later in a New Hampshire coffee shop on a tip jar. The proverb states, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

I’m finding this wisdom resonates with me. Since I first heard it, this adage has already applied to running errands and marriage. I’ve decided that it also applies to writing, at least for me.

On the surface, I write alone, so one might expect that I write fast. In truth, I write slowly. It is taking me close to two years, for instance, to turn this novel into a respectable draft, and I’m still not there. Sometimes I struggle with that. On a deeper level, however, I’m trying to go far. I’m trying to write something of value, something that matters. It is my life’s work rather than a foot race, and when I look up from my computer, I quickly see that I am not alone. My family supports and encourages me every single day. I have friends who drag me out to lunch and ask how my writing’s going. My agent respects the garbled messiness of my process and believes in me. All of these people take me seriously, and laugh with me, too, sustaining the journey.

One way or another, we’re going far.

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