So, I’ve dipped my toe into the online writing community. I’ve put this off for a long time, terrified of being ridiculed and jeered at and hounded off the interweb once the real writers found me out.
See, I don’t have an MFA in creative writing. I don’t even have an English degree. I did one creative writing course in my second year, got nothing out of it, and dropped out relatively promptly afterwards. I can’t recall ever being taught grammar at school. I learned from reading, from studying Latin and, when caught in my own sticky phrasing, from google. I’ve never published a short story in a literary journal, unless my school magazine counts. I don’t own a beret. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink whisky from a paper bag. I’m not a vegan, vegetarian, semi-vegetarian or member of the squirrel family. I like my steak to gout blood when I slice it open. I don’t have existential pain or sobriety chips or legal problems or a shrink on retainer. I don’t live in Brooklyn. I don’t wear black skinny jeans. I’m not, in short, AN ARTIST.
I’ve realised, though, that existential crises are not words on page. And I DO have those. All those scary imaginary Brooklynites making me feel all inferior with their poetry and their battered classic paperbacks and their TINY LITTLE ARTIST BUTTS in their tiny little skinny jeans are not the people I’ve encountered. It turns out, writers are just, like, HUMANS. Normal folk with normal pants, who drink their beverages from a mug and wear headgear of a non-European origin. They just happen to love to read and love to write. And, more importantly, they DO write. They sit their reasonably-sized butts down and put words on a page. And then they stare at that page until they’re red-faced and near-blind, weeping tears of horror and inadequecy. And then they make the words better, and they make better words. They’re kinda just like me, in fact.
And, so far, they all seem really nice. Sorry, writers of the internet, for unfairly maligning you as a cruel pack of salad-nibbling hipsters! MY FACE, IT IS RED.