In effect, Dufresne is just a guy and look what he went through to get to this point. You’ve probably had similar doubts, relationships and/or struggles. If not, turn to one of the exercises like coopting family stories or go back and recall your first love, etc.
However, it’s a sure bet that none of this is going to sustain you and give you that abiding soul of a peasant Fitzgerald spoke of. None of this will carry you through the seasons until the seeding, tilling and plowing in all kinds of weather comes to something you can truly harvest. Moreover, examine one of Dufresne’s novels and it becomes obvious that his personalized dilemmas may or may not be generally relatable, let alone his idiosyncratic and somewhat meandering style.
Even in terms of his reliance on memory, pick up a copy of Pat Conroy’s notable Prince of Tides and it’s highly doubtful that anyone else could have employed that flowery style while, at the same time, intensifying personal recollections with imaginary, horrific, southern- gothic traumas—events that psychologically needed to come to light in order for his tidewater protagonist to go on.
On the positive side however, if you’re more or less just starting out and able to skim through these chapters, you can pick up little gems like “even after you’ve written a second or third draft, you may just be beginning. You’ve still got endless problems to deal with like inconsistent characters and a sputtering through-line for a plot that has to be dealt with.”
In other words, if you’re sufficiently haunted to begin with and have to work through this dynamic come what may, you might be able to pick up pointers here and there to see you through.