That was just irritating, but it was downright damaging when a guy who somehow wormed his way into boyfriend territory interrupted my description of a really good fiction writer with a question along the lines of "what have you written lately, anyway?" Actually, his statement was a lot meaner and a lot quieter, and I'm not going to bother mulling it over here, but the utter inanity of it is what interests me. Unlike sitcom acting, unlike being a shortstop, unlike teaching, unlike childbirth, unlike lead guitar, unlike almost any other job or vocation or art or creative activity, writing is something you can legitimately hope to excel at even as your skin grows liver spots.
I'm not sure if I'm allowed to quote at length in a blog -- I'll try to keep it to below 250 words, like they do at magazines -- but like McCourt's students at Stuyvesant, I have trouble keeping compositions to a minimum:
In the world of books I am a late bloomer, a johnny-come-lately, new kid on the block. M first book, Angela's Ashes, was published in 1996 when I was sixty-six, the second, 'Tis, in 1999 when I was sixty-nine. At that age it's a wonder I was able to lift the pen at all.
Oh, that wasn't so hard after all. McCourt makes everything easy: reading, quoting. Such a nice guy. Of course, every aged accountant with a Dell isn't going to have an Angela's Ashes in his soul, but it literally doesn't hurt anyone for him to hope he might.
In my case (wtf? it's MY blog! Let McCourt start his own frickin blog!), I've written a crapload of books, three of them even in my name. Despite the dismissive attitude of the William Morris agent who briefly inherited me when the one who'd signed me left to breed, I like my little paperbacks. I think they are better than that Traveling Pants book he held in such high regard. (I'm not even going to dignify that title by italicising it. I am rebellious and eloquent.) Two of these books are even dedicated to the asshole from 2 paragraphs ago (he didn't like how I phrased the first one). So I have no worries that I'll hunker down and type out some brilliance relatively soon.
Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But shoon, and for the resht of my life.