On the Periphery

Things change. Life throws us curves and changeups. It's good to have a place to vent.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Hey, I’m a writer. I’m used to rejection and abuse, right? Last night one of my stories was savaged by class and teacher, yet I’m still walking upright. Maybe it’s self-flagellation, my punishment for thinking I can communicate my feelings and thoughts—and that anyone else really gives a fig for either.

Which brings me to my narcissistic nature. Why do I feel I must share my life with others? Walter Wellesley Smith said that being a writer is easy: "You just sit down and open a vein." But what makes me think anyone is interested in the color of my blood? Everything I write has a grain of me in it, every character contains elements in myself that I find either admirable or repulsive. So how can someone else critique those qualities? How can they critique me?

The answer, of course, is that as a writer, I must write not boring realities but the universal truth that is somewhere within those realities. And, one may argue, it’s not what is told, but how it is presented. Therein lies the secret to good writing: does it touch the reader, strike a chord, make him or her say, “Say, I’ve been there” or, more often, “Geez, I’ve never been there, but I’m glad I had a glimpse of it!”

And so the learning process continues . . .


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