The Getaway Car by Ann Patchett

By Ann Patchett

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By Ann Patchett

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But who knows? I certainly wasn’t thinking about that at the time. I rolled some silverware into napkins, took daiquiris to the businessmen at table eight. ) So here’s this girl giving birth in the middle of the night, and there are other girls in the room, girls who live on her hall, her co-conspirators come to help her. I looked at each one of them. I spent days thinking of their stories while I bused tables and ran the dishwasher and restocked the expediter’s table in the kitchen. (Parsley, parsley, parsley!

Only writing kept me from being swept into the dust heap of third grade, and for this reason I not only loved writing but felt a strong sense of loyalty to it. I may have been shaky about tying my shoes and telling time, but I was sure about my career, and I consider this certainty the greatest gift of my life. I can’t explain where the knowledge came from, only that I hung on to it and never let go. Knowing that I wanted to write made my existence feel purposeful and prioritized as I was growing up.

What begins as something like a dream will in fact stay a dream forever unless you have the tools and the discipline to bring it out. Think of diamonds or, for that matter, the ever-practical coal that must be chipped out of the mine. Had I been assigned a different sort of teacher, one who suggested we keep an ear cocked for the muse instead of hoisting a pick, I don’t think I would have gotten very far. Why is it that we understand that playing the cello will require work but we relegate writing to the magic of inspiration?

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