Two years ago, I wrote a story entitled, “The Women in the Club.” It was about the family of a man who committed a heinous crime. The story felt a bit edgier than what I normally write, but I believed the topic was worth talking about. My writing group loved it.
I began to send it out both as a regular submission and a contest entry. Every time it was rejected, I edited again to see if I could make it just a bit tighter, sharper, clearer.
“Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
From the time I was twenty until I was forty-six, I barely wrote a word of fiction.
God, what a waste.
A devastating college workshop experience left me convinced I had nothing to say and didn’t know how to say it anyway. On that dark February evening, I sat in stunned silence at a conference table as a handful of seniors mocked my story mercilessly. No one else spoke up (although one student told me later, “I didn’t think it was that bad.”). The professor did nothing to stop the train of ridicule, nor did he ever say anything to suggest that my writing wasn’t hopeless. He gave me an A in the class, but I’ve never believed it.