Like I said, I fell into writing because of a girl. I fell out of it because of a girl. When I was finding my stride writing every day, the narcissist in me immediately thought I was the second coming of Hemingway. Witty punchlines served over rigorously described scenes. Characters with levels, too many to count even they were so deep. My stuff, I had decided, was it for everyone and certainly not for just anyone.
I had been told that to write well you must write with an audience in mind; my audience was the canon, and the praise and conversation that deluded my thoughts were uttered by only the biggest in English literature–in my head.
My own head, that was only capable of creating marginally deep characters and thinly described scenarios and settings, ironically, was able to create the most fantastic ruse proving only to fool myself with its own unctuous praise coming from the dark reptilian brain but voiced by Shakespeare or Vonnegut.
When I gave a short story “that I had just been polishing” to a girl I fancied, she hadn’t even read half when I was more than halfway to taking my pants off. I was so sure she’d read it and thrust her loins at me in an attempt to take a piece of me with her, hoping secretly that she might just bare a child with some of the same architecture as the genius who stood before her.
“I don’t think you know what ‘disinterested’ means.”
“You used it twice, both times wrong. And you misspelled ‘vicarious’.”
“Spelling? Please. The editor can catch that stuff; I’m here to spin magic.”
“I wouldn’t call this magic,” she said the blunt force of being hit in the teeth with a bowling pin.
“Pretty basic stuff, typical arc with no twists. I knew from the first paragraph where it was going so I quit reading after the dog dies.”
“You didn’t get to the climax?”
“Can’t see it being much more than a revenge kill with unseasoned imagery and hackneyed adverbs trying to prop up a woefully lacking vocabulary.”
I had a shrinking feeling in my pants. She was right and I knew it. My writing wasn’t that good; it always sounded good in my head. I guess that’s the opposite problem Leonard Cohen had.
I took up other things after that meeting which was doubly hard. My pride was bruised and I knew that girl was never going to get with me after evicerating my work. We were too young for pity fucks. She eventually moved away and got into screenwriting.