This week I have FOUR workshops back to back for four different classes. Which means reading eleven stories carefully and figuring out how to offer constructive criticism that’s appropriate to each author. Three of the stories are for a workshop I’m leading for beginning writers, so I have to be gentle with them and keep in mind what my own writing was like at that age. One story is by a guy who I’m pretty sure hates me, which means tying myself in knots trying to figure out how to tell him what didn’t work for me without giving him a reason to hate me more. The situation is made worse because I’m pretty sure he just tossed this one off, so I’m angry with myself for putting more effort into the critique than I think he put into the writing.

And one story is by a friend of mine and Oh My God, is it good! It’s this huge step forward in her abilities and I’m just squeeing to see all her hard work pay off. Sometimes in this program I wonder what we’re doing here, and then I see people make that leap from “good enough for workshop” to “go submit this to the New Yorker, NOW!” and it restores my faith.

Back to work, whistling…


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