Saturday, August 29, 2020

My Writing is Perfect, It's the Readers Who are Flawed (Brian Katcher)

 My mother always enjoys telling the story of when I was in third grade, I came home angry. It seems my teacher had the gall to suggest that I rewrite a story I'd written, with some suggestions on how I could improve it.

"If I was a real writer," I shouted in self-righteous, eight-year-old rage, "No one would tell me to rewrite anything!"

That's what's known as ironic foreshadowing.

Aspiring teen writers ask me about how I got started as a writer, figuring I'd tell them some inspiring story of me as an awkward middle schooler with dreams of the literary life.

Actually, I never wrote anything willingly until I was 25. That means every single bit of creative writing I did as a teenager was something someone forced me to do. So I wrote a lot about farting and masturbating. I don't tell that to my readers, of course. I spin tales of how I practiced writing on the back of a shovel, while the rain poured through the roof of the cardboard box in the wretched Irish town where I grew up.

Maybe that really happened. Everything before age 14 is kind of a blur. 

The first book I wrote was published, so I guess it was okay. That makes all the subsequent rejections all the more difficult to swallow. 

In conclusion, this was our first week back at school, and it's chaos. We have no idea if we're going to have to shut down or not, and I'm exhausted. 

Maybe there's a book in this. Or maybe I should just dust off all my old essays on farting.


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