“It makes me cringe when I read it.” Martha, a writing student, is glaring at me.
“Great,” I reply.
“Great? Whaddya mean great? Didn’t you hear me? I feel so self-conscious, so embarrassed, so yukky.”
I told her what Arthur Miller had said, towards the end of his working life: that he had never written a good thing that had not made him blush — and that he didn’t think anyone else had either.
Obviously I’m not talking about the workaday embarrassment at recognising a cliche or a laziness or a mistake in your writing. That’s just something fix.
I’m talking about a rawness, a feeling of being not just naked but skinned.
That is good.
That is your offering.
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