From “I'd Like Not to Be a Stranger in the World: A Conversation/Interview with Lucille Clifton” conducted and edited by Michael S. Glaser, 1999.
Michael: When you talk to your students about writing, what do you encourage them to do?
Lucille: Well, one does not write to be famous, you know? First of all, how famous is a writer, when you think about it? And I don’t write because I have a mission to heal the world. My mission is to heal Lucille if I can, as much as I can. What I know is that I am not the only one who has felt the things I feel. And so, if what I write helps to heal others, that’s excellent, but my main thing is for me not to fall into despair, which I have done on occasion and could do at any time.
Michael: So, your sense for young people is to write because . . .
Lucille: To write because you need it. It will somehow help you get through a difficult life. Don’t just accept the surface as reality. You know, there is form and there is substance. Choose substance, mostly. You can’t do it all the time, I suppose. I certainly don’t. But at least be aware of the difference. Pay attention.
Plus, *I'm not sure what vegetable best represents depression. Let me know your thoughts.
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