I’ve been writing stories from the time I learned how to put letters together to make words. I don’t know when that was exactly but when I was seven I won a short fiction contest, so sometime before that. As a result, I have a pretty good body of work. Some I’ve shared and some not, but it’s available for me to reread and judge at my leisure.
My first book came out in 2012 and when I occasionally flip through it now, I am aghast at how amateurish the writing is given that I spent two years on it and worked closely with a big shot editor in New York. I totally glaze over important events and their emotional impact and I add unnecessary statements such as ‘in my opinion’ and ‘as far as I’m concerned’ when it’s obvious that since it’s a goddamned autobiography that the whole thing is in my opinion and is as far as I’m concerned. It’s verbose, liberally uses the word just and contains countless clichés, which is such a dead giveaway that an author is lazy. To say something that has been said exactly the same way before is pointless. If you don’t want to express yourself in a unique way, don’t be an artist, take up law or factory work or some such thing.
But make all those mistakes, I did and I’m here to tell the tale. Don’t be precious! You risk never getting anything done or being a closet artist, which I guess is fine but not for me since my closet is not a lot bigger than my thumb.
In spite of the cringe factor, I’m glad I unleashed my first memoir because I find it amusing and love an excuse to roll my eyes, as if my younger self was a separate entity. The silver lining to my rookie writing and actually the reason for this blog post (What? There’s point to this? Why are you just getting to it now?) is that reading past work is an excellent measure of how much progress one has made. To not evolve is supremely dull and to have evidence that you have by way of contrast is badass.
Always choose badassery.