The creative writing was going well. I dashed off a poem about juggling cats, a big hit with my prof, the class and my cat loving wife. I was working, creating. Life was good. The assignments grew bigger: short story, book chapter. I gained confidence in my abilities. I was a writer, hear me. Friends, family, classmates and professor complimented my prose, my ideas, my stories. The notion of ditching the day job entertained me during dreary work hours.
Posted in the classroom I found an ad for a Writer’s Conference. In town and keynoted by John Updike, this was a natural for me. I found a professional writer to critique my work. Go, get that seal of approval. In my 30’s, youthful exuberance in abundance, I signed up, submitted my work. Scared… yes, but I was meant to do this.
The day arrived. I attended workshops paying little attention to the content. The one on one with my destiny awaited. “All good writers have to write like this before they learn their craft, “ was his opening comment. “Pretentious, lacking plot, action, dialog…” I stopped counting the litany of demerits, but I think the list went on. I was stunned, muted. I tucked tail, slunk home. The wife, anxiously awaited a decree of greatness, found encouragement in the review. ‘Hey, he lumped you with good writers.”
I put the pen and paper away for another 5 or so years. (Pen and Paper – see it was a while back) Job, paycheck, family that’s what matters. Landscape the yard, paint a room or two, design a computer network. I could still be creative, tell a story, get a laugh.
And, still a bit full of myself, boy could I brood.