Don’t Be Afraid

A few people have asked what the text is that was seen peeking into the cowbell post from a few days ago. It’s a quotation that runs along three walls of my office, and which says the following. (Forgive the exclusive use of the male pronoun; the 1970s were a less enlightened time.)

“Don’t be afraid.

“That simple; don’t let them scare you.

“There’s nothing they can do to you. If they kick you out of films, do TV. If they kick you out of TV, write novels. If they won’t buy your novels, sell short stories.

“A writer always writes. That’s what he’s for.

“And if they won’t let you write one kind of thing, if they chop you off at the pockets in the market place, then go to another market place. And if they close off all the bazaars, then by God go and work with your hands till you can write, because the talent is always there.

“But the first time you say, ‘Oh, Christ, they’ll kill me!’ then you’re done.

“Because the chief commodity a writer has to sell is his courage. And if he has none, he is more than a coward. He is a sellout and a fink and a heretic, because writing is a holy chore.”

— Harlan Ellison