It’s funny that you don’t learn from what people tell you. At least I didn’t. I didn’t learn until I had tried and failed.
If only life were longer. So that by the time you learn how valuable mistakes are, you haven’t made quite so many of them.
I took only one creative writing course in my life, and a memorable moment was when Thomas Sanders, the older gentleman who taught us, informed us in his dry drawl that “No great writer ever sat down to writer Lit-er-a-ture.”
All the same, I think I tried to write Lit-er-a-ture.
Sometimes I worry that I’m still trying to write it. But isn’t that the same as trying to write the kind of story you like to read? How can you avoid mistakes if you can’t recognize them?
I wanted to write something that resonated beyond “story.” That was “about” something other than people getting in trouble and getting out again. I think I’m still trying to figure out how being “about” this other thing is different from “story.” I think there are writers out there–much blessed writers–for whom this question never occurs.
Whatever you’re drinking when you write, please send me some.