“I think of Jeremy telling me I had to be ruthless to be a writer,” says Lucy Barton in Elizabeth Strout’s new book My Name Is Lucy Barton.

“But, really, the ruthlessness, I think, comes in grabbing onto myself, in saying: This is me, and I will not go where I can’t bear to go…and I will not stay in a marriage when I don’t want to—and I will grab myself and hurl onward, through life, blind as a bat, but on I go! This is the ruthlessness, I think.”

I’m not sure I would have chosen the word “ruthless.” It is a strong word. But, sometimes it is necessary to grab yourself and hurl onward.

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