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"Seek out influence. When I'm stuck on how to do something, I'll reread a book that accomplishes what I am attempting—The Quick and The Dead by Joy Williams is one I return to often—and try to figure out how the author pulled it off. Sometimes just looking at a few passages, or reading them aloud, can alter my way of seeing. Also, I like to go to places that inspire me—a bench in my favorite park, a quiet spot in a museum, a seat in the dark back row of a movie theater. Getting away from my desk and sinking into the movement of the outside world can be a welcome kind of influence as well."
—Laura van den Berg, author of What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us (Dzanc Books, 2009)