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I wrote a lot of stories in Mr. Shue’s fourth grade class. There were creatures beyond description, with many legs and horns and faces and wings. He always smiled, shook his head and read the handful of new pages quietly to himself when I gave them to him. He was a captive audience. That is all any writer wants. A good reader.

 

No matter how many films and pictures and pieces of music I create, I am a writer first. When the sky came crashing down on my head a few years ago and I found myself penniless and a single father in Moscow it was the ability to write Impressions of an Expat for thirty minutes a week that kept me sane. I am always a few steps away from being that guy naked in the street yelling at cars with a bullhorn. I think we all are, and few are ready to admit it.

 

My novel Samantha took me thirteen years to write. Why? Because I had to get things right. It is very easy to start a book, full of good intentions and some fire in the belly. It is the ability to finish it, to say “that is all I am capable of” (and not more). That is what defines a writer in my opinion.

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