Toni Morrison on Inspiration for Writers

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” — Toni Morrison

It’s almost two years since we lost the inimitable Toni Morrison. How I miss her wisdom, insight, and eloquence. This quote from her is one of my favorites, because it’s so fundamentally true. Yet, as a writer, you never think absence of what you want to read should be a primary source of inspiration.

Of course, you should write what you crave to read. That ache in your hunger for a specific story is probably felt by others like you. I’ve taken this quote as a mantra for my projects. I wondered why no one had written about a nuyorican returning to the island. So, I did it. Now, I’m working on a novella that tackles the insidious type of racism we find in Puerto Rico and other Latinx communities. I’ve always wondered why Puerto Ricans and Latinx people generally do not want to confront the real issues of our type of racism, which is indeed quite different, although no less virulent, than the one in the United States. I always wanted to read a novel that would touch on those issues, but it didn’t exist. So, I went to work on it, and the main character is Roberto Clemente. Hopefully, by the end of 2022, I’ll have a manuscript ready to send out.

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