A Question about My Writing
Last week I was taking the CalTrain to Redwood City and found a man reading Travelers' Tales Central America. I was pretty excited. I'd never seen a stranger reading a TT book in public before. I invited myself to sit down and was even more excited to discover that he knew BootsnAll, too.
At that point I looked at his ring finger and was pleased that it was naked. My personal life would be quite a bit easier if I didn't have to sell the next man on these two large compacts in my passion purse.
So we met over the weekend for a strange few hours in the world of all things kindred. The kind of time spent joking, berating, debating, and gossiping as if you've known someone for years. Nothing really too strange except to hear how he'd already read my work before even meeting me, had seen my name on the back of No Touch Monkey right after he met me, and a small list of things that make you wonder if you're in the Twilight Zone.
Now, all of this is not really pertinent to Written Road except that he asked me a question about writing that I've never been asked before.
"Do you like your writing?"
I was momentarily puzzled and I suppose the question of whether or not to tell this stranger the truth flashed before me. Me being me, I couldn't lie.
I don't know if he was surprised or not but he definitely wanted me to expand. I told him that I enjoy writing, but that by the time the story gets to print (as in the stories I've done in the TT books), I've usually outgrown my writing. So when I read it in the book, I don't like it anymore because I no longer feel connected to the quality. In essence, I think I'm better than whatever ends up in print. "Boxcar Steve," for example. Even "A Prude in Patpong."
Now, I'm not telling you this because I am fishing for compliments. I'm putting it out here because I'm wondering if anyone else feels the same. Do you feel like your writing has gotten better by the time it gets published? Are you ever embarrassed by what gets out there?
Don't get amped, I don't get that upset. I'm usually quite pleased to see my byline and if I'm at a reading I'll skip over the parts that I wished I'd edited. I do enjoy most parts of the process of writing, and I definitely have my darlings (whether they make the cut or not). It's just something to think about.
I love people that challenge me. And yes, it helps when they appreciate my other loves, too. If only he had gone to USC and hadn't had a girlfriend.