One line impelled Sherman Alexie

For writers and wouldlovetowrite-ers, burrow into Light the Dark: Writing on Creativity, Inspiration, and the Artistic Process edited by Joe Fassler, which assembles 46 of his “By Heart” columns in The Atlantic. Fassler asks every author: What inspires you?

I’ve only begun my read but I’m hooked. How’s this for powerful? 30 years ago, brilliant author Sherman Alexie was gobsmacked by a single line of poetry, remembering:

I’d thought about medicine. I’d thought about law. I’d thought about business. But that line made me want to drop everything and be a poet. It was that earthshaking. I was a reservation Indian. I had no options. Being a writer wasn’t anywhere near the menu. So, it wasn’t a lightning bolt—it was an atomic bomb. I read it and thought, “This is what I want to do.”

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