Friday, March 8, 2013


I just read Barry Maltzberg's piece on being part of a "big f-club" and, boy, can I relate to his sentiments, just as I saw myself in the character of the protagonist in Jo Walton's Among Others! It's miserable, being on the fringe, where you look with longing at the table of the neat kids who seem to "get it' and realizing that you will never sit there.

I know I am one insecure son-of-a-bitch, worrying about whether anyone reads my stories, concerned that they may not get the point (and not always the obvious one), worrying about where my name appears, worrying about whether this or that young upstart squirt, still living in his parent's basement, is writing and selling better than me, worrying about my ability to build a coherent story ( I've  never really thought about plot, but one never fails to magically appear), worry about when the next BIG idea might come along, or if, worrying about whether I should waste time going to conventions where mostly I stand around chatting with whoever passes by and become embarrassed when recognized by ANYBODY and even more when any praise is involved.

Is this  a way to live?  After few hundred stories (some sold) and over a jillion words edited away I still feel like that young (I started writing seriously at 51) scribbler struggling to learn his craft, reaching out to make connections, and envying all those who I saw as more successful in the field and whose excellent writing I hunger to emulate. My watchword has always been "Gods, I wish I could write like [fill in your favorite author here] who must NEVER ever pen an unsalable word."

It's horrible to feel this insecurity, of being an outsider, of sitting at the side and watching the others.  Yet I wonder if it is that feeling of unworthiness, that embarrassment I feel at undeserved praise, that burning desire to be one of the neat kids is what keeps me striving, keeps me creating, keeps me writing, even if it doesn't always produce salable stories.

Will I ever "get it?"

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