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Two Weeks Before

I’m going to enter that short story competition even if I’ve never written anything before, and I’m going to win.

And after I’ve won I’m going to see my story anthologised, and once it’s been anthologised I’m going to be asked for more, stories that is, which will be published in Granta, The Paris Review and The New Yorker, and once they’ve been published they are going to be collected in a book, which will be received with praise that will be printed on the back of the paperback (of course there’ll be a paperback), praise using words like ‘assured’, ‘groundbreaking’, ‘breathtaking’, and ‘minor masterpiece’.

And once I’ve won an award or two, I’ll go away and write a novel funded by something like MacArthur or Guggenheim, a novel which will not only please the critics but the general public as well, leading me to being named the ‘voice of a generation’, and I will win more awards just as my subsequent novels will too.

I’ll be the most admired, imitated, influential and respected novelist of my generation, my immortality secured by a magnum opus of breathtaking scope and ambition, a flawed masterpiece that will live forever.

It can’t be too hard. I’ve read The Oxford Book of Short Stories and The Oxford Book of American Short Stories. I’ve read Hawthorne and Poe and James and Conrad and Mansfield and Pritchett and Cheever and Carver and Munro. I know the form. I know about twists in the tale and epiphanies. I have a first in English Literature from an ancient university. I’ve read the Canon. I subscribe to The London Review of BooksThe New York Review of Books, GrantaThe Paris ReviewThe Believer, McSweeney’s. I’ve visited the graves of Eliot and Wilde, and attended workshops and seminars and lectures on the craft and development of the modern short story.

I can’t lose.

Two Weeks After

I lost.


57 thoughts on “Confidence

  1. I sense a definite arrogance, but also a sense of hopefulness. Like the hope and the dream you have to have to take on any creative endeavor, but also the misguided belief that knowledge will make you good when really it comes down to heart. A nice effort. I really enjoyed it 🙂

  2. Lovely story . I can relate to it . . If you know how to nail a hammer you can build a mansion . That’s confidence . Just that the learning curve should be straight . The protagonist got little carried away . I like how your characters have voices of their own .

  3. See I got carried away and the typing error changed the meaning . I wanted to say that my comment was the after effect of reading the story which is beautifully written . The almost good litt that I was referring to was the litt that the hero of the story would have created if he had won.

  4. As much as I don’t admire the arrogance, your description of it is great – a wonderful consistent voice. So arrogance lost. Will humility step in and try again?

  5. This article was definitely assured, groundbreaking, breathtaking and a ‘minor masterpiece’. I commend you for capturing — so accurately — the inner voice we authors are beset with hearing, regardless of the cruel realities of our own limitations as artists.

    I liked it a lot. And rest assured, I’ll be back to read/hear more of your other voices.

  6. The best rejection letter I ever got was from a respectable poetry magazine.
    I had sent some of my poems in and, after a few weeks, I got an letter back from them.
    I was very excited but when I opened the letter I was greeted with a small piece of paper on which was written:

    I don’t think so.

  7. When you follow a mold, or live someone else’s blue print of what constitutes a writer, you will always be disappointed. Every writer’s journey is a unique and exciting, and we should each embrace ours.

  8. This was great! I like the voice that comes through here, loud and clear. And I have a feeling that this person won’t give up easily, which is a great quality to have in this life. 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, and for the “like” on my recent post. I am happy you enjoyed it, and I appreciate your visit to my site.

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