|© KJ Hannah Greenberg, 2011|
June 2013: Gymnastics and Juggling
Beyond relatives, other folks, too, understand little about the process of fashioning creative works, i.e. are unfamiliar with the course of action needed to create texts. Below, please find two cases in point.
First, according to the daughter of a friend, writing, allegedly, falls in with gymnastics and juggling; it looks “so easy to do that everyone ought to try it at home (guarantees on flaming torches notwithstanding).” Recently, this youth emailed me to inform me that she had had "an inspiration" and wanted me to spend my time reading her roughly formed piece and giving her feedback (Note: this was the second such request from this young woman. About a year ago, I sent this raw, poorly skilled, writer to a writing circle for help. She subsequently quit the circle, claiming that the group’s way of doing things was not speeding her, fast enough, toward getting published).
This time, too, I politely refused her request. As well, I pointed out that decent writing takes many rewrites. Besides, I posited, it's impolite, at best, to ask for anyone’s time, gratis, especially when that request is for feedback on incomplete work.
The darling replied that she’d weigh rejoining the writing circle since I was of no use and since she was convinced that a single rewrite ought to send her up to space, to a high enough orbit to nab a corner of a literary journal. I volleyed back that she ought to be prepared to rewrite her piece many, many times and that even multiple rewrites would be no guarantee that her text was publishable.
I also wrote to her mom, a friend of mine, the one that initially directed the daughter to me, saying "send your work to Channie, she's a writer." I pointed out to my friend that I get big money for editing and for critiquing and that I am currently turning away projects. My friend responded that she had no idea that the books and periodicals she reads take so much work. Sheeesh! Despite the fact that I never spanked my own kids and am not about to start with others' children, there exist new writers, and old readers, whom I want to take over my knee.
Second, there was the Ivy League educated, Fortune 500 employed, professional who insisted that upon his arrival in my neck of the woods, come July, he ought to receive immediate access to my advanced writers’ workshop. To boot, although he would not take “no” for an answer to the question as to whether he was welcomed in my classroom (he is not), simultaneously, he informed me that his writing experience and aspirations were none of my business.
A bit of rhetorical back and forth yielded the insight that this fellow was nervous about trying out a risky proposition, i.e. about adventuring into the realm of creative writing. In the past, he had been superlative in all of his endeavors and was going to do his utmost to make sure that when he tried out work play he would be an exemplary student. Simply, he wanted me to guarantee that poking around with texts, under my auspices, would result in additional personal successes for him. I did no such thing.
However, despite the fact that I found the “established” professional off putting, I packed my light saber away. I suggested that he contact me, again, closer to his travel dates and that maybe, perhaps, on condition of my approval, he would find a place in my emerging writers’ class. Double Sheesh!
As per rewrites, peer-driven revisions, and the integration of gatekeepers’ feedback, the aforementioned two individuals are not yet primed to take such steps. Good luck to me if I work with either of them. Then, again, I’m a softy; I’ll likely concede a little.
While I contemplate just how much of an ineffectual person I’m going to allow myself to be, I think you ought to continue living high and well. Treat yourself to a double dip (and sprinkles) from some of my most recent, individual publications. Next month, I’ll tell you about my newest book contracts!
"Vibing Higher: A Givati Hashba'ah." The Jerusalem Post.
"The Wrong Side of the Gurney." Doorknobs and Bodypaint.
"The Hands-Free Hair Rejuvenator." BRICKrhetoric. 23.
"No Atlatl's yet been Designed." Literary Hatchet. 65.
"'Retard:' Another Spoil of Child Abuse." Ygdrasil.
"On a Rocketship to Jupiter." Vayavya.