LC: Dude, you were published in a literary magazine whose publisher rejects thousands of manuscripts a week. That’s a huge accomplishment, bro. You’ve got too way much talent to think about quitting.
GW:There’s no home for my short stories. That literary magazine you mention butchered my story, squeezed the blood out of it, and turned it into the editor’s paltry vision, not mine. Is that the reward I get after decades of writing? Bullshit.
LC: Even if there’s no “home” for your short stories, you should write them.
LC:Because they’re great. They should be in those anthologies with Chekhov, Cheever, and Balzac.
GW: I think I’m going to puke.
LC:You know it’s true.
GW: Can you cool it with the literary comparisons? I just ate breakfast.
LC: I stand by what I said.
GW: Okay, give me a million dollars then. Or is that too much from an Audience of One?
LC: The hell with money. That’s not why you write.
GW: Really. That’s news to me. Then why do I write? To feed my ego?
LC: I sure hope not. Who gives a crap about your ego? You can flap your wings in front of your intended audience all you like, but that isn’t going to appease your insecurities. You need to know who the hell you are, what’s important, and have the dignity and courage that comes from being centered. An uncentered life results in shame and anxiety, which people compensate for by trying to impress others. Come on, dude, you don’t need to fall into that trap.
GW: It’s too late. I write with the idea that people will be impressed.
LC: There’s your problem. As long as you care about what others think, your life will be trivial. As long as you see yourself as a victim whose stories can’t find a home, your life will be one of failure. I’m trying to shake you out of your stupor.
GW: Like I said, it’s too late.
LC: Or maybe it’s not too late. Rather, you’re too scared to not to be trivial and to not be a failure. You’re too damn comfortable just as you are—feeling sorry for yourself and giving a shit about what people think of you.
GW: Let’s say I agree with you. Let’s I want to embrace your vision of change. Then what?
LC: You can start by writing about things that aren’t fueled by the desire to make money or the need to impress others. You can actually write about stuff that you really means something to you.
GW: And how am I going to market this? Say I write meaningful stuff and no one reads it. Then I’m the tree falling in the forest that doesn’t make a sound except to myself. Then I’m just a solipsist. You seem intent on trivializing my rage, but I see my condition as not unique to me, but the condition of many—there are a lot of smart people out there who can’t connect with others because people are too absorbed by trivia. I have every right to be pissed off about that without you labeling me a self-pitying, trivial victim. Got that? So get the hell out of here.