Last week my writing group had a prompt that tickled me: “Can you use the word ‘dichotomy’ in a story without sounding like a pompous ass? Give it a try!” Psh! I can use any word in a story without sounding like a pompous ass. It’s my superpower. As a matter of fact, my superhero title is HRM Queen Antipompousness, Duchess of Downtoearthedness and Lady Somethingerother. But you can call me Hey Sweetie for short.
Here’s my piece, slightly altered for the masses:
Every time I write, I struggle with the dichotomy of what is brilliant and what is bullshit. Naturally, I think it’s all bullshit. Then something miraculous happens: I share this bullshit, and people react! They do crazy things like laugh or say, “Wow!” Then I’m brilliant! bRiLliAnT!!! With trumpets and multicolored font!
Here’s a good example. Esther, my writing teacher, says, “Write with the camera eye.” I suck at that. I tend to go overboard with adjectives. I need to pick something simple and write it like I see it. I can do it! So I choose a moment when I’m in a restaurant parking lot waiting for a friend. I’m still in my car because it’s hot outside and I can’t bear to leave my AC.
The crap that ends up on paper is not camera eye. It’s the verbal equivalent of Dora the Explorer as the Virgin of Guadalupe in chalk: the colors are wispy and pretty but on the whole it’s just wrong and a little uncomfortable. Here’s my final sentence: “My heart feels lighter as one turn of my key stills my personal shoebox, and I brave the sear of the blacktop for the sake of time with a friend.” In other words, my friend has arrived. I don’t want to get out of my car, but I do because duh, that’s why I’m here.
Esther’s feedback takes up just as much space as the piece itself. Of course it does. It should have taken up twice the space. Who writes that kind of crap? I do. So I’m back to the flipside of the dichotomy, waiting to be brilliant again.
Did I fail? Don’t be afraid to tell me if I did. I won’t cry in front of you.