If I were to ask you for example right now to go back with me and define those moments in your life that shaped you as a person and you began to reexamine them, something would happen.
I began my writing life as a poet, so poetry has always been fundamental. I evolved from poetry to journalism to stories to novels. But poetry was always there.
I began writing poems when I was about eight, with a heavy assist from my mother. She read me Arthur Waley’s translations and Whitman and Robinson Jeffers, who have been lifelong influences on me. My father read Keats to me, and then he read more Keats while I was lying on the sofa struggling with asthma.
Keep on beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start all over again, and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose – not the one you began with perhaps, but one you’ll be glad to remember.
I began to write poetry in high school, and would ride miles over sandy roads in the fine hills around Cedar Rapids, repeating the lines over and over until I had them right, making some of the rhythm of the horse help.
I was born poor and without religion, under a happy sky, feeling harmony, not hostility, in nature. I began not by feeling torn, but in plenitude.
I would say that social work began in my mind in the Unitarian Church when I was ten or twelve years old, and I started to do things that I thought would help other people.
When the Islamic revolution began in 1979 under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini, it aroused considerable admiration in the Arab street. It presented a model of organised popular action that deposed one of the region’s most tyrannical regimes. The people of the region discerned in this revolution new hope for freedom and change.
When I was a little child, my parents taught me by example to pray. I began with a picture in my mind of Heavenly Father being far away. As I have matured, my experience with prayer has changed. The picture in my mind has become one of a Heavenly Father who is close by, who is bathed in a bright light, and who knows me perfectly.
Since the intervention in Afghanistan, we suddenly began to notice when, in political discussions, we found ourselves only among Europeans or Israelis.