For a guy who’s learned a lot of words, I’m having a serious problem with words. I thought I’d take a shot and write a short essay to introduce my upcoming revision to a previously-published poem called Heartbreak Morrow, which I was planning to release some time this month. I thought it might be clever to give readers an insider’s look into the self-loathing, egomaniacal, just plain crazy maelstrom that is the torment of being an artist. The purpose of that essay was to take a moment to be vulnerable with my readers, to usher them into the fears and doubts of an author’s mind. And so, I spilled my heart out. As candidly as I could, I allowed myself be arrogant, self-pitying, and apologetic.
Three experienced readers offered feedback. They all told me the same exact thing: this essay is too arrogant, self-pitying, and apologetic. You should probably go back and fix it.
Two of them said this: I had to do a better job of “eliciting sympathy from the reader.”
Sympathy from the reader.
Is that what you think we’re doing here? Eliciting sympathy from the reader?
There’s only one way forward: create and cast into the universe. Don’t look back and don’t ask questions. Just make and throw. Otherwise, I’m going to unravel. I’m starting to think that I’m a duck. Only a duck is this incomprehensible to people.
Back to chapter one.