I once had a writing instructor who conducted a graduate fiction seminar that she semi-jokingly called "writing bookcamp." We were to write four short stories and four rewrites of them in one semester. When the class expressed dismay and disbelief, she laughed. "If you have to, you'll find a way." We did. What did I learn? To suspend all of your beliefs about what you MUST do and have in order to write. If you have to, you will. By "have to," I mean if this compulsion to express is so deep, you must do it. I don't mean to be pompous. There are, of course, situations that sap all the energy a person contains. But don't assume. A few months ago, I sat in a hospital room, halfway between the toilet/bathroom and the room itself, with my laptop plugged into the wall socket where the electric razor goes. I had a draft of my novel on the screen. My ninety-year old father was asleep, recuperating from a fall. I had a good half an hour to write. I have learned how to go into focus for little periods of time, accessing the pool of imagination that I know floats just below my consciousness. It gives me comfort. I grew up in a house of chaos. I know how to "check out" of the trauma. This ability to step out, I feel, is now being put to good use. The bootcamp did what it was supposed to do. Prepare me for the real war.