Friday, August 28, 2009

Why I Hate Inanimate Objects Almost as Much as Your Dog and Your Grandchild

Before you write a story about a treehouse, from its beginnings as lumber through its nailing-together (ouch!) to its old age, after it has proudly watched its boy grow up,

Before you write a story about a shawl and the old woman it keeps warm through thick and thin,

Before you write a story about a leaf that's afraid to fall from the tree,

Before you write a story about a rock and all the changes it witnesses from its ditch or hill or goddamned outhouse,

ASK YOURSELF WHY ANYONE WOULD GIVE A FLYING SHIT ABOUT A MAIN CHARACTER THAT CAN'T DO ANYTHING.

Ahem.

When we are writers and have a story in our heads, and begin thinking about how to tell said story, and we ask ourselves "whose story is this?" we look for the character who is most changed by the ACTION of the story, who has the most at stake in the ACTION, or whose ACTIONS have the most impact on the plot.

When we are readers and are looking for a story that will fascinate and entertain us, we are looking for a story in which SOMETHING HAPPENS and in which the main character is someone who can DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

For fuck's sake.

76 comments:

~Aimee States said...

I think you need a drink or five.

Anonymous said...

The Giving Tree?

Sarah Laurenson said...

What if it's a squirrel who's building the tree house for the little baby squirrels? ;-)

Michael Reynolds said...

Yeah, Estragon. Dammit. You're just waiting around.

He's not coming, numbnuts! Now kick Vladimir's ass.

R.J. Anderson said...

I think she may have had the drinks first. And if she's currently being inundated with manuscripts featuring inanimate objects, she is entitled to every one of them.

The drinks, I mean, not the manuscripts.

Richard Lewis said...

Goodness, I'm glad you so dislike Inanimate Objects like the Unmovable Rock, for I have a brilliant story idea from the POV of the Irresistible Force.

Actually, the story idea that has slithered into my head is one wherein every dawn before the child awakes the mother, who wants to be a writer, sits down to her computer and finds a new document there upon, a brilliantly written story, and she has no idea who is writing these, far better than he or she could ever hope to write. But she begins to suspect her cherubic (or possibly evil) toddler.

But story ideas are a dime a dozen and hardly ever original. It's the execution anyhow that counts. And gosh the execution is hard work.

Dominique said...

Wow. I'm with Aimee. Tough day? A pint might be in order.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

I just love how a kids' book editor says "for fuck's sake."

That's awesome. :

Anonymous said...

Children are generally pretty powerless in their own lives, and some writers might feel that a child will relate to a leaf that's afraid to fall or a tricycle that's been left out in the rain. That's why a child, at any rate, might give a flying shit about a "protagonist" who does nothing, even if an editor doesn't. (At least the editor doesn't have to go to time-out for saying it.) I'm not defending the practice, mind you, just saying I can see why some people might write such a story and expect it to become a best-seller.

myimaginaryblog said...

I would read that leaf story. But maybe it's only good when it's you telling it. Maybe I identify too easily with inanimate objects. (Lifting fingers to place chips in mouth and moving jaw to chew counts as animate, no?)

Ebony McKenna. said...

Ohmygosh I can't stop laughing.

I'm so sorry, I should be more sympathetic to your plight. But this is also very, very funny.

Anonymous said...

The Brave Little Toaster.
The Steadfast Tin Soldier.
Miss Hickory.

The problem isn't the inanimate object; it's in the treatment. A good writer can bring anything to life.

Sadly, this post has now inspired me to write a book about a dead cat. You just can't keep issuing these challenges and expect people to ignore them...

Chris Eldin said...

"A leaf that's afraid to fall from a tree" made me spew coffee!

Deirdre Mundy said...

You HAVE had a miserable week, haven't you? I guess today's not the day to email you my account of "Penne the Pencil" and his heartwrenching tale of woe--- from the day he is pulled from the box, full of hope....

To that first, painful yet fufilling sharpening...

Through all the erasings, drops on the floor, and hours spent lost in the bottom of a backpack.....

Until that sad morning when, ground to a stub and eraser long since chewed, he's finally used up and tossed away like yesterday's garbage, as he watches Mickey the Mechanical pencil get refilled with lead.........

Sigh..... Poor Penne--it sounds like his tragic life will never serve to inspire children.... I guess it was all for nothing......

You're just cruel and heartless, EA!!! How can you overlook the bathos of these poor, inanimate objects.

Ps. I hate HATE HATE the giving tree and I think it's actually a sick joke of a book. I'm sure Silverstein is snorting and laughing somewhere everytime a teary-eyed teacher reads the story to the class.

"Fool--- you're right, you are like the tree, pouring yourself out for the children. And you know what? THEY DON'T CARE. THEY THINK IT'S THEIR RIGHT TO TAKE, TAKE, TAKE..... MUHAHAHAHA"

Now the ABZ book? Pure, unadulterated genius........

Thomas Taylor said...

Ha ha! Great post:)

ae said...

The only Inanimate Object pb I can think of that I like is,"I Stink."
(And on that note I had better get back to my writing.)

There is plot, emotion, great art complementing raucous text...and an element of truth in it.

Matilda McCloud said...

Do they also send you painted rocks with googly eyes and troll hair to go along with the story about the rock? I got a couple of those when I read children's book mss.

Nancy Coffelt said...

Throwing my new story about the amazing adventures of the treehouse, the leaf, the shawl and the rock into the wastepaper basket now....

Rats.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Anon 12:51- Yes, children are usually pretty powerless-- but they TRY to assert themselves in any way they can, and their fantasy lives are NOT about being powerless. (Superheroes, pirates, knights in armor, lions, dinosaurs, sharks, etc.)

In fact, the only people who seem to LIKE powerless MCs are the therapist-guidance-counselor types, who would probably be all over "Quentin the Quartz crystal learns that life just happens and the adults are going to screw him over, but really it's not about him at all and he should just be happy because his parents are leading fufilled lives while he dies on the inside....."

But kids? They like books with action and heroes.

Anon 4:04 Am-- Brave Little Toaster doesn't count. He's ANIMATE. He goes places and does things. Like Thomas the Tank Engine-- technically, trains are inanimate, but he's not.

EA was talking about the story of Toby the Toaster-- where toby gets plugged in, watches people but bread in him, watches it pop up, watches junior put a crumbly muffin inside, watches the muffin catch fire, watches junior try to get it out with a fork, get electrecuted, and lie dying on the floor, goes to court as exhibit A in junior's mother's suit against durabrand, and finally ends up in the junkheap.

Toby doesn't ACT. He just passively has life happen to him. Even though the story has it all (fire! Electrical shock! death! Lawsuits!), Toby is just an observer. And a dull observer, at that.

Haste yee back ;-) said...

I see children in parks all over the world flyin' like pigeons and shittin' on famous statues...

At least they're doin' somethin'!

Haste yee back ;-)

Mireyah Wolfe said...

I've always wanted to write a story titled "The Prophet Rock"

I have no idea what it would be about...other than the fact that it would have no prophets, and there would be no rocks.

*ponders*

Of course, I would have to wonder at who would actually bother to read it.

Carradee said...

This post (and the responses) had make me think long and hard about my own (ironic) inanimate object pieces. I'm certainly not expecting them to actually *sell*. They're just to be silly.

This is making me want to finish some more and see how they'd do as e-publications, though. Just as an experiment.

(And, actually, when I think about it, I think they actually do act. Hm.

Sean Ferrell said...

What about a story about an inanimate object that gets shredded by an editor? Any action there?

Lauri said...

Whoa! Are you sure you're a children's book editor with language like that?

Anyway, how is it that some people can get away with stories about inanimate objects? Someone must care if these stories are being published.
Out recently: Spoon by Amy Rosenthal, about the life of an unhappy spoon.

The Pencil by Allan Ahlberg, about, you guessed it, the misadventures of a pencil.

Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas...enough said.

And why are those talking tools so popular in the Handy Manny series?

Alissa said...

Stories about inanimate objects can work if you animate the object and make it a character with emotions and the ability to act. I would argue that the successful examples cited in the comments are all cases where the inanimate object has been imbued with characteristics that make it rise above it's lowly inanimate object, but if it is only an object that gets acted on throughout the story then it will be boring as hell.

Becky Mushko said...

Perhaps a story about flying piece of, um, well, you know? Little Freddie Feces, upon being flushed soon after he's created, for goodness sake, soon finds himself slithering through a sewer, whereupon he wishes he were somewhere else and his wish is overheard by a magic something-or-other (Squirrel, maybe? No, what would a squirrel be doing in a sewer? Maybe a sewer rat?) and suddenly Freddie is soaring above the clouds experiencing a bliss that he never dreamed of attaining when—

Yeah, you're right. This story isn't going anywhere. Freddie just goes straight to the sewage treatment plant.

lynnekelly said...

The best description I ever heard of The Giving Tree was, "If you give and give all your life, someone might finally sit on your face."

working illustrator said...

Umm..

Leaf afraid to fall:

The Little Yellow Leaf, written and illustrated by Carin Berger, published by Greenwillow in 2008 to widely positive reviews. It was a New York Times Best Illustrated Book, a Junior Library Guild Book and the art went into last year's Children's Book show at the Society of Illustrators.

Inanimate objects:

Not only the widely hated Giving Tree, but also the widely loved Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and half the stories of Hans Christian Anderson.

I know that pitches and sales meetings and all the rest of the publishing world focus on content. I appreciate, EA, the amount of dreck on these subjects you have to sort through.

But let's beware the hard-and-fast rules regarding subject. In the hands of the right creative people, anything is possible.

working illustrator said...

I meant Hans Christian Andersen, of course.

Most blog misspellings are OK. That one's not.

Kelly said...

The Giving Tree is seriously one of my favorite books.
But LynneKelly's description made me giggle uncontrollably!

Aimless Writer said...

But what about the Little Engine that Could?
lol
Glad I don't write children's books.

Anonymous said...

re: Language. EA is a children's book editor, not a child.

Mechelle Fogelsong said...

You guys remember the blink-grin paper clip dude in the old Microsoft Word program? Okay, I think the anonymous agent just had a day where the literary equivalent of that paperclip dude landed on said agent's desk in 100 different forms.

Venting is acceptable.

ae said...

Yep. The right creative people with the right creative people will make a great product. Bien sur!! :)

But I think EA is talking about things that were lame from the start.

Those get published too.

word verification: retop (verb) -- To make something better than the last success. Ex: I am going to retop my last book.

Mira said...

This is hilarious.

But what I don't understand is why you hate my dog and my grandchild? I don't even have a dog or a grandchild. Please stop hating my dog and my grandchild. They don't exist, and it's very confusing for me.

I will admit it's hard for my dog or my grandchild to take any action in the story. That's because they don't exist.

As for personification, well I think sometimes the shawl or the leaf or the rock are a metaphor, then sometimes you can only tell the story from that viewpoint. That's what I think, anyway.

This was fun, thanks for the chuckle. :)

Michael Reynolds said...

A slight OT rant here on EA's language and objections to same:

The one thing that makes me want to quit writing for kids is this idiotic obsession over language. I find it infuriating that I can write about kids busting heads with a baseball bat but no one can yell, "Shit!" when they do it.

It's ridiculous. It's absurd. Words are words, there are no magic evil words, aside possibly from racial slurs that rise to the level of fighting words. But your basic list of so-called curse words are just words. And they are the right words for many, many situations.

Here's an experiment: take a hammer. Now place your thumb on a hard surface. Now hit your thumb with the hammer. Really hard.

Now tell me the first word that pops into your head. Is it "Ouch?" No, it's not. The first word that popped into your head was "Fuck!" You know why? Because that's the right word. It's le mot juste.

Insisting that the language in YA or kidlit generally be limited to whatever is approved by some Bible-verse-needlepointing grandmother in Kansas damages literature. It is irrational, it is unrealistic, and it's stupid.

Larissa said...

Thanks for the laugh, moonrat. This post and the comments have made my day. :)

Larissa said...

whoops! Sorry, I got my snarky blog writers confused. :P

Anonymous said...

Everyday, I find signs that I should publish my book myself and not query agents. Thank you editorial anonymous for one of the greatest signs of all. The fact that you have a "How to Tell if You're Never Going to Get Published" topic is sign enough, but this post is just icing on the cake. My God. All of those topics could be rendered into heartwarming or imaginative children's stories. Not only do you reject them out of hand, you make fun of them in a public forum? Thank you again. To think I was going to waste my time, money and energy on agents...

JM Diaz said...

Fantastic. This post has earned you a new fan! Loved it...

makeithappen said...

Love your ramblings but "fuck" is a word better thought than typed... maybe if you spend a moment trying to put it into a sentence that makes sense, you'll change to a different word. I understand you read a lot of crap, but really...

Anonymous said...

You know, I'm completely in your corner on an intellectual level. I've never liked stories about inanimate objects either.

But emotionally? Good Lord! Break out the violins!

Seriously. Don't post stuff just for the sake of posting.

For fuck's sake.

Eilonwy said...

The shocking part isn't EA's burst of authentic language, it is how many people are missing the point.

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble is about a boy who discovers belatedly how unpleasant it is to be inanimate. He didn't start that way and he doesn't end that way. The Giving Tree is not beloved by children--though it does continue to sell well and is probably the exception that proves the rule. (Besides, was Silverstein serious or does he burst into fits of ghostly laughter everytime someone buys this book for a hideously misguided mother's day gift?)

Think about it people--do you really have a favorite book about an inanimate object that starts inanimate, stays inanimate, and never dreams of escaping inanimation? Animating an inanimate object doesn't count--that is called imagination.

Bonnie A said...

Golly, before we all start snorting milk out our noses--as working illustrator points out, Carin Berger's The Little Yellow Leaf has been extremely well received--and how about a classic like Virginia Lee Burton's The Little House? A passive observer as main character, but a story filled with action and drama nonetheless.

The truth is, children themselves personify objects all the time. I hope EA's point is that some storytelling devices are simply more likely to be mishandled.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Um, Anon 3:43? I hope you're joking....
Because if you're not.... take a look at a bunch of self-published books. Have you noticed how most of them (except for yours, of course,) suck?

Now think...why is yours special? Is it because YOU wrote it and YOU love it? Then it's probably just as bad as the others and you don't have the emotional distance to see it.

Save yourself some money. Join SCBWI, go to the library, and read about 500 picture books. Read all the new ones your library buys. Ask your librarian for recommendations--what are the best picture books of the last 5 years? What are the best of all time?

Then look at your MS again, and write another one.

Also, as for why noone publishesclassics like "The Little House" or "Sylvester and the Magic Pebble" or "Make Way for Ducklings Anymore?"

They DO. They're called 'reprints.' They sell quite well and they're excellent books, but..... WE ALREADY HAVE THEM! Why should anyone publish or read your sad knockoff when they can read the original instead?

Also.... one last bit of advice, since I'm putting off scrubbing the floor. :P

Heart-warming is hard to do. Most attempts are boring, mushy bathos. As a Mom of 3 PB lovers, I avoid heartwarming like the plague--it's almost shorthand for long and boring with too much flowery language.

Believe it or not, from the time they hit about....two, kids want action, adventure and laughs. They want books short enough to memorize, or long enough to tell an involved folktale (my older two---well, actually, the toddler too, if it involves dragons and realistic stabbings....) They want awesome illustrations. They want stories they can act out again later. Just because they;re short and talk funny does not mean that their BRAINS are stunted.....

We do some heartwarming, of course. Like the Max books by Rosemary Wells. But Rosemary Wells is Pithy, Funny, and treats her toddlers like.....human beings, not rocks!

Ok... end of rant. It's just that I get sick of how so many people who want to write for children don't understand what 'children' are.

They are short. They are clumsy. They trip over their words sometimes and their sense of 'reality' is skewed because they've experienced only a small bit of the world.

BUT: They have wills. They have (often thwarted) grand plans. They have goals. They have ideas. They like mystery and adventure, sharks and long-lost-jungle-kingdoms (my 3 and 5 have an Angkor Wat obsession at the moment--because the pics in National Geographic make it look so cool!)

Kids are NOT little lumps of unformed clay that you can project things onto or mold into whatever you want.

They're just people who happen to be shorter and weaker than you. But if you spend time with them, you'll realize that they are INDIVIDUALS and have big dreams....

OK... end of Rant. Now get out there and write something I WANT to buy for my kids! (Or email-bomb O'Malley and O'Brien and inform them that 'Captain Raptor' was way too good a concept to stop at 2 books.... my kids want MORE!)

eluper said...

Great post, EA. I engaged an a long argument with a big chunk of my local SCBWI group about this very issue. I argued that Edward Tulane, although written nicely, was far too passive to be engaging.

The biddies in the group argued that i just didn't understand because I wrote violent, dirty, YA boy books and didn't have the patience (read as intellect/class) to allow a story to unfold in a beautiful way.

Thank you for, EA, for this bold and truthful post.

Donna Gambale said...

This post is HILARIOUS. And the intense love/hate comments... made my 15 minutes of lunch all the better!

Anonymous said...

What if the rock actually sprouts legs and lips and really does something exciting?

Esc said...

What if the rock suddenly sprouts legs and lips and actually does something exciting?

Anonymous said...

And then there's "The Little Fir Tree" by Hans Christian Anderson that I loved, loved, loved as a child (because I suspected even then that it might be the story of my life).

But probably no one reads it anymore...

fakefrenchie said...

The Velveteen Rabbit?

Deirdre Mundy said...

fake-- But the rabbit and the toys are ANIMATED. They're alive.... partially-real.

To really be a story about an inanimate object, it would have to be something like.

"The rock sat on a pavement. A boy came and kicked it across the road. Beep Beep! A huge truck smacked into it. A man came by, picked up the rock, and tossed it out of the way....."

Actually, this book could be amusing if the pictures depicted Mayhem and madness with the rock in the foreground. But EA wasn't talking about funny or ironic books. She was talking about dreadfully dull books written from the POV of a MC that does not move, act, react, think or feel. Blah.

(It reminds me of the song "I felt Nothing" from A Chorus Line.....):

Second week, more advanced, and we had to
Be a table, be a sportscar...
Ice-cream cone.

Mister Karp, he would say,"Very good,
except Morales. Try, Morales,
All alone."

And I dug right down to the bottom of my soul
To see how an ice cream felt.
Yes, I dug right down to the bottom of my soul
And I tried to melt.

The kids yelled, "Nothing!"
They called me "Nothing"
And Karp allowed it,
Which really makes me burn.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:43 said: To think I was going to waste my time, money and energy on agents...

Yes, now you can waste your time, money and energy trying to sell a self-published book to people who have never heard of you.

Sarah Heacox said...

Ever read Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman? MG novel with a MC who can't do anything. At all. No purposeful movement and no communication and no sign that he is anything other than a vegetable. All he can do is feel and think about stuff.

Much like your average giving tree or magic pebble or steadfast tin soldier.

Anonymous said...

I also immediately thought of The Little Yellow Leaf and all the good reviews. But I thought it was boring and I would not read it to my preschoolers. Same with the MANY picture books with the plot: Quilt is made from emotionally meaningful pieces of cloth and then passed down through generations.

sylvia said...

I was already laughing (in a cynical, sharing way) at the end of the post. But the comments just took over and now I can't stop guffawing loudly.

shell said...

Gee, the list of what we can't write keeps growing.
Squirrels. pandas, geese, my beloved dead dog, inanimate objects, my twinkly old grandma.

what's left?

Oh, yeah. Well written characters

Deirdre Mundy said...

Anon 5:07-- yeah, I call those books "Grandma Picture books" --They're not aimed at the pre-schooler, they're aimed at the grandma who gets teary eyed while browsing in the bookstore and buys the book as a gift because SHE liked it.

"Guess how much I love you" falls into the same catagory.

"Runaway Bunny" is saved from similar schmaltziness b/c the illustrations are so much fun (i.e. Bunny as Sailboat)

I've noticed that a lot of the people who try to sell me on schmaltzy books say 'But toddlers love them!" -- I tend to be suspicious of any statement that takes toddlers as a monlithic group-- all of my toddlers have had strong preferences for picture book subject matter. And those preferences seldom match an adult's!

(Hmm.... can anyone recommend a good picture book about a shark that eats cute cuddly creatures, btw-- that's how my almost-2-year-old's tastes are running at the moment....)

Anonymous said...

I don't think EA is being fair to our poor little leaf. The ACTION a leaf who is scared to let go can take is LETTING GO and FALLING. This can represent a huge change in character. In addition to the previously mentioned "Little Yellow Leaf", don't forget the classic "Fall of Freddie the Leaf", which has sold millions of copies. Neither book is exactly my taste, but their stories are not as pathetic as EA described.

Jill Edmondson said...

I totally get this! It's akin to other bits of advice when I first began writing. I have to say, the advice seems to have paid off! I sent out query letters in later August (2008) and signed a publishing contract in November (2008).

Now, I'm anxiously waiting to see how well it will do when it is released...

Jill Edmondson

~Mary said...

Hilarious!
The comments are even funnier! The unpublished trying to tell you they are right and you are wrong! HAHAHA!!! I LOVE IT!!!!!

sari said...

None of my three boys will even LOOK at Edward Tulane. Not that that has anything to do with anything other than one comment but I thought there was something wrong with us.

I guess not.

Tina Lynn said...

EA you are pure awesomeness!

Laura said...

Minus the swear words, this post totally made me laugh. I loved it. And, for whatever it's worth, I totally agree. I like characters - not the accesories- to run the show.

April Wilde said...

I agree with this. Even characters who move around and do things -- sometimes you just don't care.

It's a fun exercise on how you can stretch your creative limbs, writing about inanimate objects. But I can understand where you're coming from.

I've recently started following you, so I'll read back. I enjoyed this. And the title was great.

Nichole Giles said...

Okay, the post was hilarious, and the comments even more-so.

I have four kids and twenty three nieces/nephews. I am literally surrounded by kids, and I promise, not a single one of them would touch a book about an inanimate object. Not even if you paid them in gummy bears and chocolate. Why? Because objects that do nothing are...BORING!

No kid wants to be bored, and those that do don't know any differently. The only people who buy those types of books are old people who remember stories like that from their childhood. And for that matter, those same people don't have a clue of what kind of active, excellent books are available in place of boring things like "The Giving Tree."


Thanks for the laugh, as well as the advice.

Khanh Ha said...

Aside from your spicy language, you are right!

Use this post as Creative Writing 101 for aspiring authors, because -- as far as I have seen, read and sighed -- most writers have their protagonist 'whispering' -- a lot. And they are 'animated objects'. They have dreams. Big-time dream sequences. Like actions in dreams are much stronger than in real life, real time. Weak protagonists, wimpy ones, who don't do much to inspire readers. Well, if a leaf, a rock, a shawl can spice up a story in their unique way, make us wide-eyed with surprises, then Viva Inanimate Objects!

Cheers!

Khanh Ha said...

Aside from your spicy language, you are right!

Use this post as Creative Writing 101 for aspiring authors, because -- as far as I have seen, read and sighed -- most writers have their protagonist 'whispering' -- a lot. And they are 'animated objects'. They have dreams. Big-time dream sequences. Like actions in dreams are much stronger than in real life, real time. Weak protagonists, wimpy ones, who don't do much to inspire readers. Well, if a leaf, a rock, a shawl can spice up a story in their unique way, make us wide-eyed with surprises, then Viva Inanimate Objects!

Cheers!

Pandah said...

I would have to say I agree with you. Stories about nothing or that have too many boring details aren't what I like to read. I think you are correct. Most people don't want to read something that has a main character that doesn't do anything. So props to you for telling people like it is.

Anonymous said...

Having illustrated a number of books in which NOTHING HAPPENS, I found this post hysterical. The swearing was icing on the cake.

Rubenesque Writer said...

This is a fabulous post...I actually snorted while reading!

As an aside...getting onto EA because of her use of the word "fuck" is rather ridiculous, isn't it? Yes, she is a children's book editor. But she is also an adult. I'm a preschool teacher...I also use the word fuck quite often. Not in class, of course, but when children are not present. As far as I know, there are no second graders reading this blog...why do we care if EA said fuck?

Anonymous said...

preach it sister! I wish I could send this link to a few aspiring authors I know...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the laugh! I needed it after reading Edward Tulane. Which is about a mute quadriplegic bunny in a world full of randomly cruel people.

Weepy grownups, nostalgic for the days before child labor laws and the ADA might like it, but kids? What's to like about a protagonist who is completely frozen while bullies strip him naked and throw him off an ocean liner?

Anonymous said...

Can I ask you a question?

If you could do something else, start over, and do something else with your life, what would it be?

If I were a friend of yours, and I didn't know that you had a blog, and you told me you did, and then I read it, I would feel concerned, because it's obvious that you're furious and deeply frustrated with all the idiot novice-writers with whom your job forces you to come into contact. And that frustration has turned into scornful bitterness. Do you see that?

Why not do something else?

You're smart, at least in the sense that you know how to construct a sentence. (I teach in a literature dept at Harvard and I know a decent sentence when I see one. So do you). But you're not smart enough to know when you're unhappy. And girl, your job is making you pretty unhappy. Why not do something else?

Jane said...

When I was at Random House Children's Books we were inundated with brave little inanimate objects. My favorite was Bernie the Brick who foils a robbery, by refusing to be chucked through a shop window. I think he spoke 'arabrick'.

Pam said...

I admire the honesty. About time:)