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A Year of Writing Dangerously by Barbara Abercrombie
A Year of Writing Dangerously : Writers with a View

A Year of Writing Dangerously (Day 142)

Writers with a View

By Barbara Abercrombie

“When my writing is not going well, there are two things I do in the hope of luring the words back: I read some pages of books I love or I watch the world.”
— Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes that her view in Lagos, Nigeria, is an ordinary view but because it's full of people, the view is "choked with stories": "the stylish young woman who sells phone cards...the Hausa boys who sell water in plastic containers...the bean-hawker who prowls around in the mornings...a large pan on her head."

Perhaps all views looked at long enough become ordinary. But it's the job of writers to not let this happen, to see what's outside our own windows as if we were on a vacation and the view were all brand new.

That said, the view out my own window has become wallpaper. The red tile roof and two white chimneys, the overgrown tree that blocks out most of the beach, the palm trees — I never look at this anymore. But right now, turning away from the wall I face when I'm working on my computer, looking out the window, I notice a man in a yellow jacket biking slowly north, I notice that the surf has turned a pale shade of silver, I see a jogger followed by a large dog: life outside of my own head. •

Next: The DVD in Your Head »

Excerpted from A YEAR OF WRITING DANGEROUSLY: 365 Days of Inspiration & Encouragement Copyright © 2012 by Barbara Abercrombie. Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA. or 800/972-6657 ext. 52.

Barbara AbercrombieBarbara Abercrombie teaches in the writing program at UCLA Extension. The author of novels, children's books, and many essays and articles in national publications, her fourteenth book is "A Year of Writing Dangerously." More »