“…grand ideas kill first efforts. Begin with something in your range…I’d be paralyzed if I thought I had to write a great novel…The gratification has to come from the effort itself…I approach the work as though…the words are everything. Then I write to save my life. If you are a writer, that will be true. Writing has saved my life.” LOUISE ERDRICH, as quoted in a 2010 PARIS REVIEW interview. Find the fascinating interview here.

You can read a review of Erdrich’s most recent novel Shadow Tag in the New York Times here.

I consider Louise Erdrich one of the finest writers of all time — I am in awe of her. In the late 1990s, I was fortunate to have met Ms. Erdrich during a reading in the Chicago area. I was not only impressed with her words, her stories, and her power as a reader, I was also impressed with her as a warm, generous human being.

Thank you for the great advice, Louise.

Photo: Allen Brisson-Smith for The New York Times, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.