Monday, July 27, 2009

Answering My Critics

You’d think in a blog with six followers, I wouldn’t get much mail. But the critics are out there. And today, I answer them.

“You just make yourself look like a whiner.”

Well, I am a whiner, so I suppose there’s nothing actually wrong (at least not dishonest) about my looking like a whiner. Besides, the literary world has a fine tradition of whining.

“You shouldn’t talk about agents rejecting you. It just makes other agents think they should reject you, too.”

Honestly, I am so over trying to psyche out what agents think. I don’t know why they think what they think. Or how they think what they think. Or if there is even a “they” out there to be analyzed.

“It will never work. The Modern Love column is unattainable.”

Maybe. But I’ve been told my goals are unattainable before. For example, the many many people who told me I would never make a living as a writer and would eventually have to break down and go to law school. First heard that one about 20 years ago. Still haven’t taken the LSATs

“Suppose you get to the end of your 12 months and still no Modern Love essay? Then what?”

Then I’ll have 12 funny, sexy, already-written essays. That’s practically a collection.

“Suppose you are successful with one of the early essays?”

It should only happen to me.

“Suppose you sell a Modern Love essay and still don’t attract an agent or sell your novel?”


“You should put your time into writing a second novel.”

Actually, that’s good advice. I’m on that one. In the meantime, this is as good an outlet as any.

“Maybe your novel just isn’t any good.”


“That could be it. It could be that you just suck and your novel does, too, and no essay you pitch is every going to change that.”

(That’s not actually from a real critic. That’s from my inner critic. He can be pretty brutal.)

Look, inner critic, why don’t you go back to hammering me about my parenting skills and let me have this moment where I feel like I’m making progress in my writing career.

“Okay. But someday, I’ll say: I told you so.”

Well, one of us will get to say that.



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