She said that she was a cook and that she wanted to quit her job cooking and enter a creative writing program full time and really concentrate on her writing in that way. She wanted to know if we had any advice for her. . . . I said, "Stay a cook." I really meant that. The genuine thing in us is much too fragile to tolerate the kind of peer pressure or superior pressure of most writing programs or workshops. What we have to take care of, really protect, is something very unshaped, that we hardly even know.
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