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"Sometimes I do this thing where I convince myself that writing is really hard. I bang my head on the desk. I suffer and moan. When I am being silly and insufferable like this, the only remedy is to listen to the Band. More specifically: to listen to Levon Helm, a man I think of as a kind of patron saint for my writing life. Levon Helm sang 'Ophelia.' He sang a cover of 'Atlantic City' that is better than the Boss's (don't argue, you know it's true). He played the drums like no one's business and a mean mandolin. And he was grinning the whole time he did it. The best part of listening to Levon play is this: You can hear him enjoying doing what he does best. So, when I catch myself thinking that 'writing is hard,' I put my headphones on. I remember the night I saw Levon play at the Ramble where he sang harmonies with his daughter and cracked jokes and let us all pet his dog. I remember to write because I love it. And because a book or a song can make an excellent vessel for joy."
—CJ Hauser, author of The From-Aways (William Morrow, 2014)