Tag: writers

Nosy Parker


I’m a nosy parker. I don’t believe you can be a writer and not also be a nosy parker. This whole idea that there’s virtue in not caring what anyone else does or thinks irritates the shit out of me. Perhaps you, as a human, don’t act on your curiosity, but can you be alive inside and never be interested in other people’s lives?

Being curious about what people think, how they live their lives, why they make the choices they do, why they won’t eat broccoli (was it finding half a worm on their plate that turned them off the green floriferous crucifer, or do they just hate the taste?), and how they got their hair so big – this is a normal human trait and isn’t the same thing as judging them for the answers to these questions. Though, making judgments about people is also a very important thing humans do. It’s how we avoid getting into cars with serial killers.

I think it’s disingenuous to claim you don’t care what anyone else thinks or does. It’s something people say when they find other people’s curiosity distasteful. It’s a smug untrue thing to claim. Only a very dull minded person or a narcissist genuinely doesn’t wonder or care about what anyone else is up to.

I will admit that the curiosity of writers is necessarily greater than average. I will admit that my curiosity is non-stop during all waking hours. I’d even argue that my dreams reflect my mind continuing to be curious while I sleep in addition to processing what it sees and has experienced. I am in a constant state of observing everything around me. Color, light, shape, composition, movement, action, noise, interactions – all day long. Much of the time I observe silently. I squash the constant questions that come to mind because I’ve been taught it isn’t polite, it isn’t okay to ask people personal questions unless I know them intimately. I’ve been taught it’s a bad human quality to want to know everything about everyone in the world.

But I know it really isn’t. I know this is human nature. I know that our sense of curiosity is how we learn, how we progress, and ultimately how we survive a constantly changing landscape. So I don’t feel any shame about being a nosy parker. I just try to reign it in for other people’s comfort.

The Destructive Hubris of Humans

the fly up close

Does this picture make you uncomfortable? Itchy? Grossed out? Are you trippin’ on the fact that me and this fly are equally hirsute? Okay, fuck you, I’m hairier than a goddamn fly. It’s body is also a much prettier hue than mine. Fucker. This fly was dying. I find flies intensely irritating but I also have mad respect for how much more important they are to the planet than humans. That’s a true fact. Humans do nothing for the planet’s ecosystem while flies are a vital part of breaking down organic matter into nutritious soil-improving humus that helps plant life flourish. Ants and flies are vitally important, humans aren’t important at all.

All humans contribute to earth is their destructive hubris.

There was a time when at least dead humans fed maggots and ants and could be counted on as fertilizer for plants  but then we, in our hubris, decided that we were too good to rot like other animals. We began to devise ways to avoid returning to the soil naturally and learned to turn our corpses into toxic land mines.

I DO kill flies sometimes when they get in my house and won’t stay out of my face or off of my food. But when I do so, I understand that I’m killing a better creature than myself. It’s not sometimes I celebrate. This dying dude and I shared some poetry together and I let him hang out on my arm as he pleased. I had beer, it was a moment. I later found him on my floor feet skyward.

I’ve gone mentally microscopic. My thoughts have become macro views of an almost invisible universe.

I’ve been thinking a lot about all the novels I have in my queue. My urge to work on fiction is strong but not strong enough right now. It’s all percolating. I’ve had the freeing thought that I don’t have to ever work on the stories I’ve semi-mapped out already if a newer more urgent one starts screaming through my mental discomfort.

I had awful nightmares last night. So much going on in them. It’s hard to quantify what made them so disturbing. What made them stressful. If I have one directive with my writing it’s to put the tension and strange terrain of my nightmares into stories, out of my head and into other people’s heads. You probably think I mean to write horror. I do not. I don’t like the horror genre. Incidentally, this might sting some of my writer friends, I have always disliked Lovecraft. I don’t care for monsters and mystical creatures as villains or gore for titillation. Humans are the villains of my nightmares. Humans and chaos and slowing time and the vile sludge of human filth.

Broken-down over-flowing stench-filled public bathrooms have long been a recurring horror in my nightmares.

Rape, torture, dismemberment are other horrors of my nightmares and of my mind. I’ve heard a lot of people on Twitter saying lately that they’re tired of rape being depicted in books, that there’s no need for that. I get not wanting to read rape scenes. I get that women are tired of the rape of women being common.* A lot of people are calling rape in fiction a “device”. I disagree wholeheartedly with this assessment. It’s true that some authors may use rape as a story device. But in a lot of stories, especially by women, this is a depiction of reality. Rape is an inexorably common occurrence, particularly against women, and to stop telling stories that have rape in them is to expunge an enormously life-shaping experience too many people have.

I think rape has been featured in stories so much and continues to be featured because it’s so common in reality. Dwelling on the scenes might be sensationalism at times but I’ve read at least a thousand books in my life and in most books rape is glossed over. So much so that when it’s treated to a dose of reality in books like “The Color Purple” it’s shocking and gutting. I believe this is a more important story for women to tell than the age old story of women being mothers, wanting to be mothers, worshiping motherhood. Good god, we never stop reading stories about women as mothers. The impact of having kids in every possible circumstance. Women as wives. Women as Femme Fatales.

But books that deal intelligently and honestly with women as the sexual objects of men and as the punching bags of bitter disappointed angry men – WRITTEN BY WOMEN – are still too thin on the ground.

I don’t actually want to read books that are just about women’s experiences of being raped. I want to see stories about women’s lives from a more complete view. I want to know about the violence women experience and how it shapes their lives and most importantly I want to know how they come through it, I want to know how women have become empowered after being crushed.

Life is full of violence. I don’t have any stories to tell that aren’t full of violence too. I don’t have any gentle stories to tell. There are no gentle corners in my head. There are no verdant green spaces full of fairies and flowers and flooded with only love and good and beauty. The brighter the beauty of a thing the darker its corners are in my experience.

Most of my stories don’t have rape in them specifically. One of them does and it’s important. It’s so important to me that I write it but it’s the one story that I’ve written so much for and remains hopelessly tangled and inarticulate. It’s the hardest story to tell of all the stories in my queue.

Until violence against women and abuse of women becomes a rare thing, stories that involve violence and abuse against women remain important. For every woman who remains silent about her experiences out of shame or fear, women writers need to open the way. We need to be telling their stories for them. We need to be exploring how to come away from those violent experiences stronger than we were before we went through them. We need to explore how to stop it from happening to others. We need to explore why it happens. We need to explore the dark tunnels that lead to light.

Not talking about bad things has never fixed a thing. Burying stories because they’re unpleasant gives the unpleasantness all the room it needs to flourish. Silence is never the way forward. Silence is never the way to healing.

I’m not interested in reading stories that use rape or violence as a “device”. But I dare you to find any great story that isn’t propelled forward by either an overt or an implied threat of violence. It’s pretty much the underpinning to all conflict. If not literal violence, then aggression that ruins people. There are no good stories devoid of either aggression or violence. Without one or the other (the one is just one end of a continuum that leads to the other) there can be no conflict. Without conflict there is no tension and no tension means no story to follow.

Sometimes you have to stop listening to the voices of strangers on social media, even of other writers, and trust yourself to write what you need to write and know that someone out there desperately needs you to write it. I write for myself and for that someone who hasn’t yet found their own voice and needs to borrow mine for courage.

Part of this journey of self care is to shut out all the approbation of others, the shoutings and the directives others are pasting all over their own walls and sharing publicly, to paint my own directives, to shout my own truths. To ignore the wider world so that I can listen to the macro world, the almost invisible world around me. I’m shutting out news and activism and babble and rabble – so that I can get to a deeper kind of spiritual activism.




Thinking Out Loud About Book Reviews and Author Interviews


(Random pic I chose from Instagram)

My vacation is almost over. I’ve decided to act like a grown up about it and not cry. Something I’ve been thinking about for a long time, that I wanted to start doing on this blog last year, is book reviews. To do book reviews you need to be reading. I have been in a long non-reading phase. I tried to break it a couple of times last year and ended up reading The Typewriter Girl which I couldn’t finish for several reasons, one being that I’m not fond of the word “cock” or scenes in which tongues are urgently thrusting and exploring and “flicking”.

My main goal in doing book reviews is to be sharing more new authors and independent authors with others. I’m not interested in writing reviews that tear authors down. I want to build them up. I think it’s possible to write honest reviews that aren’t mean. Here are the aspects of a book I want to cover in a review:

Genre: did it live up to my expectations based on the genre the book claims to be? Or does it belong in a different genre? Or is it true cross-genre?

What was the most engaging aspect of the story for me?

Who was my favorite character and why?

What was the biggest theme of the book?

What is one thing I would like to have seen more of in the story?

What is one thing I would like to have seen less of in the story?

Describe this book in five words.

I want to address research and development too, but I’m not sure how to do this without sounding like a bitch. It’s like when one of the readers of Cricket and Grey questioned how Cricket got ammunition in a post apocalyptic world (are bullets readily accessible, for example) and I was annoyed because there’s a scene in which I specifically showed Cricket refilling bullet shells with a tool people use to do this at home. Something I actually did research on. Sometimes you can do research but somehow still leave a reader unconvinced you know what you’re writing about. Sometimes you just don’t do enough research. And this is important, few things will tear a person out of a story faster than some unrealistic action or a reader catching the author out in a poorly researched subject that the reader knows more about than the author. I will have to think on this more.

Historical novels that get the fashion wrong seriously irritate me. Victorians actually showed very little boob, for example. Cleavage was something you only saw on prostitutes or with ball gowns. In day-garments you would not see cleavage and the corsets were so tight, generally, you would be hard put to see a woman’s chest actually heave. But in the regency period, the foundation garments were different and you might see more cleavage during the day. These details matter. They matter because if you’re going to write about a tediously documented time period, you need to know the tedious details as an author. If you don’t want to stick to the details then you need to write in a genre that allows you to make shit up and do what you want that works for your story. Steam-punk is a good example of that. It’s Victorian-like but not.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on reviewing books. I also want to do author interviews. I want to do them where I ask every author the same questions. Things I always want to know about a writer.  Here are some of them:

What are the 3 main themes that show up in your novels?

Do you write in the genre you love to read the most? If not, why?

What’s your favorite part of the novel writing process?

What’s the hardest part for you in writing a novel?

Tell me 3 of your own characteristics you always give your main characters?

What is one characteristic you have given a main character that you don’t possess yourself but wish you did?

What’s your favorite book of all time and what about it do you love the most?

What’s your least favorite book of all time and what about it did you hate the most?

What drives you to write novels?

What is your biggest pet peeve that novelists commit in their books.

What do you think is the biggest pet peeve readers might have that you commit in your own books?

List your 5 favorite words.

List your 5 most hated words.

What is your best/favorite writing tool?

Favorite place to write?

What’s your preferred steam level in books?

1) G-rated, as in: no one is getting any

2) PG-rated, as in: people are getting some but once kissing gets heavy the curtain falls on the scene

3) R-rated, as in: people are getting thrusty and hard and you’re watching with popcorn

4) X-rated, as in: so explicit you have to put the popcorn down and actively participate


There you have it. I’m off to a pub now. I will refine these questions in time to start with my first book review of “The Parting Glass” by Katherine Lampe

Hemlock Veils Cover Reveal!


This is not a sponsored post! This is the cover reveal for my friend Jennie’s book Hemlock Veils that’s coming out in November. Her book was inspired  by the forests near Portland Oregon and since Jennie loves rain and forests and fall weather it was obvious we had to be friends. Jennie is kind, funny, modest, fierce (rawr), and smart. She’s also a talented singer even though she’ll deny it if you tell her that.

If you like fairy tales being retold in fresh ways you have got to buy her book this fall. Check it out:

Hemlock Veils

by Jennie Davenport

Release Date: 11/25/14

Swoon Romance

Summary from Goodreads:

When Elizabeth Ashton escapes her damaging city life and finds herself in the remote town of Hemlock Veils, Oregon, she is smitten by its quaint mystery; but the surrounding forest holds an enchantment she didn’t think existed, and worse, a most terrifying monster. The town claims it vicious and evil, but Elizabeth suspects something is amiss. Even with its enormous, hairy frame, gruesome claws, and knifelike teeth, the monster’s eyes speak to her: wolf-like and ringed with gold, yet holding an awareness that can only be human. That’s when Elizabeth knows she is the only one who can see the struggling soul trapped inside, the soul to which she is moved.

Secretly, Elizabeth befriends the beast at night, discovering there’s more to his story and that the rising of the sun transforms him into a human more complex than his beastly self. Elizabeth eventually learns that his curse is unlike any other and that a single murderous act is all that stands between him and his freedom. Though love is not enough to break his curse, it may be the only means by which the unimaginable can be done: sacrifice a beauty for the beast.


About the Author

jennie davenport

Though Jennie Davenport was raised throughout the Midwest, she now lives in the little desert mining town of Bagdad, Arizona, where six guys beg for her constant attention: a husband, three young, blond sons, a German shepherd with a name much mightier than his disposition (Zeus), and a black cat named Mouse. When she isn’t trying to run her home with as little casualties as possible, Jennie loves snuggling with her family, laughing with her friends, delving into brilliant entertainment of any vein, and playing outside. Despite the way being a writer is in her blood, and the wheels of her writerly mind are constantly turning, Jennie likes to think that in another life, she would have been a Broadway star. Or an American Idol finalist.

What Works For My Writing

I read a post on 80,000 Words called “What Works For My Writing” that I enjoyed a lot because Christine Lee Zilka discusses in loose list form what things get in the way of her writing and what things help it along.  This is the kind of stuff I always want to know about other writers.  I have an infinite curiosity for it.  All writers have their own processes and it’s fascinating to me to know what they are.  Christine’s post about what works for her writing was inspired by a post on “distraction no. 99”  about the same subject.  I just read that post and now I want to write my own.  For any other writer I know –  I would love it if you would do the same so I can know more about the things that work for you.

What Works For My Writing:

Music –

If other people are in the house I listen to music on headphones.  I have always written to music.  There is a soundtrack to every single thing I write but the longer the work the more difficult it is to find the soundtrack.  Music sets the tone in my head and I often find a song that reflects and can sustain this tone and then listen to it obsessively until the piece is done or until my ears hurt with it.  I estimate that most chapters in my novel are 100 – 150 song lengths.  I can’t change the song until I’m done with it.  I don’t pay attention to the music while I write, it doesn’t obtrude, it simply holds me in the proper space.  Change of chapter, change of scene, or change of post almost always requires a new song.  Sometimes I know what kind of mood I need for what I’m going to work on but can’t find the right song.  It once took me three days to find the right song and so I didn’t write for three days.

I once wrote a whole chapter to the Moonlight Sonata and it came out all wrong.  The writing was too quiet and slow but I couldn’t figure out why.  I sat down to re-write it and started off with the same song but it wasn’t right – I found a song with more urgency and anger and the chapter, though not all that changed in content, was completely changed in feeling and it was so much better.

Solitude –

I know it’s a cliche but I write best when no one is home, when no one is around.  I love writing at 5am because most people on the west coast and certainly in my town are asleep.  The world is a lot more quiet when it’s sleeping.  I can hear the churning of the earth and the buzz of collective humans and find it hard to shut out.  I don’t get to be completely alone very often so writing while my whole house and whole town sleep is a good match.  I hate the feeling of writing at 5am if I got there by staying awake all night.  By the time I’ve dragged myself through 3 and 4am I feel like a drug addict coming down from a high and losing my teeth right there on the spot.  I only do that when I feel like all the words will be lost if I don’t stay up.  I hate  being awake between 2am and 4am.  I’ve spent a lot of time in my life up at that hour because of insomnia.  I rarely do it on purpose.  But waking up at 5am to write is awesome when I can manage to do it.

Beverages –

I love that Christine mentioned this too.  Unlike her, I can eat while I write.  I can eat through most things, unfortunately.  Beverages are necessary.  I can’t imagine writing without a drink near my left hand.  It goes like this: wake-up to 11am is coffee or black tea time, 11am to 5pm is water time, 5pm until bed is beer time.  Except that I don’t always get to drink beer so when I’m not drinking alcohol I’m drinking either tonic and lime, water with lemon, ginger ale, tea (herbal or decaf black), lemon Italian soda, or mineral water with a little unsweetened cranberry juice.  I don’t prefer writing between 11am and 5pm and I think this is because I don’t find water very creatively inspiring though I do drink a lot of it.

Facebook –

The majority of the time I wrote Cricket and Grey I used Facebook as a breather.  Giving status updates on word counts and favorite words and bits of the research for the book gave me a chance to breath between stretches of writing.  In many ways it was part of the rhythm.  Friends commenting on those writing statuses gave me all the connection with other humans I needed so that I still felt like I belonged in the world instead of outside of it.  A couple of people responding to Nova’s post mentioned Twitter providing a similar function for them – I was glad to know I wasn’t the only one.

Outlines –

I wrote The Winter Room without one.  I just wrote and wrote and wrote with no plan and thought it was going really well until I got to 108,000 words and suddenly realized that I had no idea where to go from there.  I couldn’t finish it, I couldn’t see in my head where it was supposed to lead and pretty soon I discovered such huge plot problems I had to set it aside.  I’m still trying to figure out how to pick it up again.  When I wrote Cricket and Grey I used a fresh outline for each draft because with each edit I had made so many changes I needed a fresh outline that accounted for them.  The outlines really helped move me along and seeing my chapter plans on paper helped me SEE plot holes.  So I’ve discovered I write best with one.  I find them really hard to write.  But once written they are a great tool for me.

Word Counts –

I know this kills creativity for some authors, freezing them up.  Not me.  I think my philosophy about lists keeps word counts from being oppressive to me.  A list is a way to organize my thoughts and once I write a list I may refer to it to remind myself of my goals but I never use it to measure my personal successes or failures.  I have never been one to scratch everything off of lists.  By the time I get halfway through it either becomes apparent that I’m not going to get anything else done or I simply forget because my day has evolved however it needed to.  No guilt.  A list is a suggestion.  A list is a thought organizer.  A list is not an appropriate measurement of your worth in any way.  This is how I feel about word counts.  To reach my larger writing goals I would figure out how many words I needed to write every weekend or every day to get there.  I figured out the approximate number of words per chapter and sometimes simply told myself that I would finish one chapter per weekend or sometimes when completely charged – per day.  I often met my goals.  It kept my momentum going.  I can get caught up in infinite details and not paint a whole picture.  Word counts kept me moving forward instead of stagnating.  For me it was a positive pressure rather than a negative one.  I knew I could walk away if I had to and I wouldn’t feel I’d failed in any way if I didn’t meet my goal for that day.  I would just start over the next day.  Fresh conscience.  Fresh mind.

Big writing goals –

Much like word counts, I found these very useful for me.  I know that a book is going to ultimately take as long as it’s going to take to be written.  You can’t always control that.  However, deciding how long I wanted to give myself to complete each draft was very helpful in pushing through the tougher weeks.  I suppose it helps that I’m 42 years old and I don’t feel like I have all the time in the world to finish my novels if I want to get published.  I’ve got a fire under my ass and a lot of ground to cover to become the writer I want to be (published AND making a living at it).  So specific goals helped me move steadily.  Again, I didn’t thrash myself for not meeting those goals but I did work better when I set them.

Talking about the novel with people I trust –

discussing issues I’m having with plot or character development with Philip or close friends was necessary for me to get it out of my head where it these things tend to gnaw at me.  Most useful of all was discussing these things with writer friends.  Talking with other writers was incredibly sustaining to me.  Talking with people is often helpful in this way: their opinions often make me more clear about my own, especially when I disagree with them.  As Philip likes to say, I’ll do the opposite of whatever you think I should do.  I admit that hearing other people tell me what I should do gives me this clarity: they don’t know how to write this book and hearing their misbegotten opinions has shed light on how strongly I feel about points I didn’t realize I felt so strongly about.  Opposition flushes out the important things.

The Stupidocracy of Elitism

I despise elitism.

That can sit alone on the line for a while.

Still, elitism naturally occurs and seems to perform an important function which I originally thought was to allow a very few to live high above the writhing dirty masses but which I’ve recently (today) come to think may actually serve to force those outside the club to try harder to reach their potential.

If the world was all fair, all egalitarian, and peaceful, maybe none of us would have reason to become better than we started out.  Maybe we need something unattainable to reach for; something to want that we are told we can never have based on something as arbitrary as money in the bank or skin color or sexual orientation or social class.

For anyone who hasn’t figured this out yet: America has just as strong a class system as every other country in the world.  We like to claim that our “democracy” protects us from such an inequitable division of people.  It doesn’t.  Just try to get in tight with the Astors if you’re a nobody from the slums of the East Bay.  Even if you have wads of money to toss out the window at whim you will undoubtedly give your origins away or if you don’t they’ll know where you came from by some other means and guess what?  It will matter.

I have been feeling discouraged about my writing in the last couple of weeks.  Today I felt particularly low.  I’ve been reading some extraordinary work by other writers and I let it get under my skin that I have never written anything half as memorable.  I was going to write a post called “The great boo-hoo” in which I planned to shove myself into a black hole of self pity and self denigration.  Very useful tactic for the self destructive but hardly a constructive way to improve my writing.

Then I read a post in an ongoing discussion about the struggle of bloggers and other online writers to get the respect they deserve from the print community.  The most recent discussion sparked some comments from people in the traditional journalism community that caused my hackles to rise and my ire to ignite.  It’s really just the usual skirmish in which the establishment is afraid that the brave new world is going to destroy everything meaningful and worthy and replace it all with complete crap and garbage.

Apparently many journalists are scornful of any writer who hasn’t gone to college for a “proper” ( meaning expensive) education  and it angers them to think that lowly upstart bloggers can just press “print” and their words will go live to the whole world.   What about the importance of credentials?  What about the importance of having an actual establishment backing you up?

There are a lot of different kinds of writers and journalists are by no means more important than technical writers or creative non-fiction writers or novelists.  I think perhaps some journalists feel a bit superior to other kinds of writers because supposedly they’re telling “the cold hard unemotional facts”.  What a bunch of rubbish!  Nowhere have I heard more biased crap than in newspapers and on news channels.

Listening to one kind of writer thrashing others with their diplomas and their connections and their paid gigs makes me angry.  Many extremely stupid people have managed to get degrees from esteemed colleges and at least one or two of those very stupid people with fancy degrees actually became president of our country and screwed everything up more royally than I could have done.

This is all layered on top of other conversations in which established writers say that you’re not a writer until you’re published or that you’re not a writer unless someone else is willing to pay you, or until you have a note from your doctor to prove you’ve destroyed the nerves in your hand from all the word slaving you’ve been doing.

I believe most writers out there aren’t first rate.  I believe this because in all fields there is a great deal of mediocrity.  I don’t believe anyone can call themselves a writer just because it sounds kind of cool.  There are transcendental writers, shitty writers, good writers, boring writers, writers that break all the rules and get away with it, and those who break all the rules and don’t get away with it because they aren’t good enough.  There are new writers who haven’t had time to mature yet, there are old writers who used to be good but who have become hacks out of complacence or boredom.  Being a writer isn’t about being good or bad, paid or not paid.  Being a writer is something you are.  If you’re a writer you’ll know it the minute it’s true.

It’s like being a human being.  We may all be born with similar or the same potential (I’m undecided on this point) but due to a thousand different influences we may become good humans, mediocre humans, or bad humans.  But we’re all still humans.

When I hear people suggesting that you can only be a legitimate writer if you can acquire the proper education and be lauded by other more established writers I want to rise up and knock down establishment.  I want to prove them wrong.  I want to show them all the incredible writers who didn’t go to Yale or Harvard or even community college but whose work is held up in most of those institutions as examples of excellent writing.  Jane Austen comes to mind.  Not good enough?  Mark Twain had no formal education in writing or journalism.  Is there a writer out there who would dispute his legitimacy?

What it takes to be a great writer isn’t about the education at your disposal.  To any reasonably intelligent person there is a world of education available without benefit of college in the public library.  Practicing your discipline every single day and striving constantly to improve and evolve is what it takes.

The underdog is my great hero.

I don’t believe print will die because of the Internet.  I also think the print industry needs to recognize that just as much complete crap is pushed through newspapers and publishing houses as you can find on the Internet.  Just because a person writes for a newspaper doesn’t mean they are a good writer or that their standards are better because they have the New York Times standing behind them.  I’ve read the most amazingly biased untrue crap in newspapers.  The same is true of online journalists and publications.

I don’t think the platform gives legitimacy,  I believe that personal skill and integrity gives legitimacy and you’re just lucky or persistent (or both) if you get someone to pay you to write.

I needed to hear all the pomposity to light a fresh fire under my ass.  I’m not the writer I ultimately want to be yet.  Every single day I’m working at it.  Every single day I work harder to reach the level of skill to fix the fickle eye to my page- to prevent the hurried reader from closing the book or leaving the site because they just have to read the rest of what I’ve written.

That’s the ultimate compliment to a writer; to force the hurried person to stop and listen, to catch some one’s imagination or their interest with such force that they feel compelled to keep reading even if their house is on fire.

Instead of dissolving into a great puddle of self doubt and hideous self pity I am using the establishment to spur me on.  I am the underdog. I am paying my dues every single day I work harder at my writing than I did the day before.  I pay my dues every single day I put all my time into my writing for no worldly compensation.

I still despise elitism.

But perhaps it is useful for overcoming and surpassing elitists.