This week I’m reflecting on “The Life of a Writer,” which is forthcoming in my short-story collection, Measuring Time & Other Stories (Wiseblood Books). The piece is a response and homage to one of my favorite short stories. Here’s the first line: “It began with Lorrie Moore’s story ‘How to Become a Writer,’ which you read in English 325 as a college junior.”
Just as Moore’s story is, my story is told in second-person point-of-view. Rather than offering “instructions,” however, it chronicles the educational experiences of a writer in the Midwest, following him through the undergraduate, the MFA, and the post-MFA levels.
Just as in Moore’s story, humor plays a significant part of my story. Four or five years after I wrote the initial draft, and had revised it, the piece was accepted for an anthology of humor fiction. Unfortunately, after a lengthy delay, the anthology project fell through. I was disappointed, of course, but I pressed on, working on other stories and setting this one aside.
Later, I read the story at a conference, and it was well-received. The piece eventually found a home with a Texas-based journal, Writing Texas. I’ve read the piece at other events where it has also been well-received.
Even though it’s a short piece (by my standards) at around 1,000 words, it’s one of my favorites, one I’m most proud of. It’s me being somewhat experimental and playful, commenting on the atmosphere of creative-writing programs and the artistic process. I can’t wait to share it with more readers when the book is finally released.