great article: how not to be a writer

A colleague in my writing class wrote this...here is the intro. Click anywhere in the paragraph to read the rest. Very fun!

THE WRITER'S EDITION: 5 Ways To Fail As A Writer
August 7, 2008 - 4:27PM


by Brent Kerrigan

My father, a farmer and a good man, believes that reading and writing are complete wastes of time. It's a belief he feels all men share, along with a predilection for backbreaking labor and animal husbandry. That's why I long ago perfected the art of hiding. When I was young, a typical day would consist of my father searching for me throughout the farm-groaning wagon of hay at the ready in the 35C heat-dreaming of new and complex beatings he could unleash. When he did find me, his punishments were rare, but the disappointed look on his face and his questions were more than any five-year-old should bear.

"All you ever do is sit up here and read all the time," he'd say, standing in the granary doorway, red in the face, manure dripping from his coveralls. "Where in the hell is that ever going to get you?"

I'd lie there, buried under a mound of corn with my copy of Remembrance of Times Past, and think about that question. Where was reading going to get me? Even then I knew I wanted to become a Serious Writer. A writer who would leave his mark on the world. A writer with my name on schools and parks dedicated in my honor. A writer who would influence millions of men to quote my words to millions of women of questionable intelligence. I wanted fame, fortune, and a ticket off that farm.

It was decided for me. My father was right, reading wasn't enough. I needed to do more. I put pen to paper and started to write.

Keeping the faith

Yet, here I am at age 35, sitting on this park bench with my notebook and wondering why my life as a Serious Writer is, for all intents and purposes, dead. Hundreds of first drafts coupled with countless outlines and I've yet to be published. Thankfully, this did not stop Peterborough Community College from hiring me on as a teacher in their Creative Writing program. It's a great job with many benefits. Nevertheless, as a teacher of Creative Writing, I always face the same question at the beginning of each semester.

"I can't find your writing in the library," a student will say. "Maybe they forgot to enter you into the card catalogue." At these moments I often stumble over my words. I say I'm currently working on a manuscript, expect it any time, and have agents at the ready.

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