I am privileged to know many talented writers and poets, and I am frequently inspired, moved, and humbled when I read their work. But only twice in my life have I thought that I might as well give up writing because I could never create something so beautiful, and so perfect, as what I was listening to at that moment in time. The first time that happened Mark Doty was reading from his memoir Heaven's Coast and I was in the audience, crying as I listened.
The second time was in a fiction workshop at the first Lambda Literary Foundation Writers' Retreat, when a young man named Justin Torres read his work.
Mark Doty, of course, is famous, and deservedly so. Justin Torres is at the start of what I anticipate will be a stellar career. I could happily endorse dozens of books but you really need to read Justin's debut novel, We the Animals. And prepare to be awed.