My mentor Ron Carlson used to say, “The writer is the one who doesn’t leave the room.” What he meant was that the writer has to knuckle down and write. You don’t get to be a writer by going to a party, by “doing lunch.” You’ll spend a lot of time in your room, alone. But you’ll be the one who gets her work done. You’ll be the one that lasts.
Tayari Jones is the author of Leaving Atlanta and The Untelling, winners of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and The Lillian C. Smith Awards, respectively. Here work has appeared in McSweeny’s, Callaloo, The New York Times, New Stories From The South, and The Believer. She currently teachers in the MFA program at Rutgers University – Newark. Her novel The Silver Girl is forthcoming from Algonquin Books.