Recently my friend Carolyn Jennings posed a question to a writing group: What would be in a letter reviewing the upcoming year? Yes, throw your mind to the end of 2014 and see what bounces back. My letter came in the voice of my inner critic, whom I have named Hubert Mumbles. Hubert was the first name of my high-school English teacher, who insisted on an essay due every Friday. He instilled the need to produce a piece of writing on a regular basis. It’s all his fault that I sit here throwing words around. Mr. Mumbles is my Quality Control Officer. He tells me when I’m falling behind on product. I try to ignore him, but he insists that my dallying with process will not do. Here’s his letter:
You did it, another calendar ripped off the wall. I had my doubts. First of all, you had the nerve to publish that ridiculous novel. Magical realism, really? You are lucky anyone wanted to read it, let alone pay for it. And let’s talk about that trip to New Orleans. All that money and what did you do? No parties, no Harrahs, no jazz and gin joints that might show up in a piece of fiction. No, not you. You had to sit in Café du Monde and people watch. You had to ride the street cars and the ferry. Boring! Of course, you said it was relaxing. You wanted solitude. Sh*t, girl. And speaking of travel–that whole month back east, more laziness, family fun, as you called it–watching reality TV with your sister! That behavior and a dollar won’t get you anything. If you would just listen to me and write one whopper–a romance novel or a bloody thriller, then we’d have something to brag about.
As it is, I’m fed up with this creative gig. Get yourself a different attitude or I quit.