Saturday, July 4, 2009
Anonymous Has a Bad Day
A few days ago I got the following anonymous comment on one of my writing group posts:
“Dyou people realize what a joke Grub Street and other groups such as this are among the literary and publishing industry. Having read some of the "work" of this group, I can see why. What all of you need to do is go out inot the public and listen: listen to the flow of words and how people talk.listen to the stories.
Finally, I have been published and haven't taken or attended a "workshop since colege. Writing is about life so live it”
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what anonymous is unhappy about, and why. Let’s parse this cryptic note and see what we find.
Dyou people realize what a joke Grub Street and other groups such as this are among the literary and publishing industry.
I can’t speak to ‘other groups,’ but as far as I know Grub Street is highly respected in the industry, and gaining momentum by the week. Proof comes every spring, when Grub holds its annual writer’s conference. There, dozens of established literary agents and editors donate their time to participate in panel debates, luncheon discussions, and the manuscript mart where they meet with writers to discuss their work. More than a few writers have secured agents through connections made at the conference. Many respected, best-selling authors run workshops and seminars at Grub Street. It’s unlikely either the conference or the workshops would attract such participation from representatives of the literary and publishing industry if Grub Street was a joke. Right now I have a partial out to an agent I saw at this year’s conference. I’m almost certain that my affiliation with Grub Street was a tremendous boon to sustaining this agent’s attention.
Having read some of the "work" of this group, I can see why.
Low blow, that. Certainly you haven’t read work from the veritable thousands of writers that have attended Grub workshops, classes, conferences, and special events since the mid-90s. Grub Street’s vibe has always been inclusive, embracing all levels of experience; where writers who are just starting out can mingle with, and learn invaluable lessons from, seasoned vets. Where non-pubs meet the pubs. You imply that Grubbies aren’t talented enough to gain industry attention and respect, yet every week I read success stories of Grub writers getting stories, essays, memoirs, and novels published. This is more than a show of respect from the literary and publishing industry, this proves what a sustainable resource Grub Street writers, and writers from such organizations around the world, are to publishing.
What all of you need to do is go out inot the public and listen: listen to the flow of words and how people talk.listen to the stories.
Good advice. As long as it doesn't preclude taking an occasional writing class.
Finally, I have been published and haven't taken or attended a “workshop since colege.
Congratulations on finally getting published. I’m guessing that you were not impressed with your college workshops. I don’t know what college workshops are like; I didn’t study writing until I was well out of college. Sounds like you are implying you got published in spite of these college workshops, and you’re grumpy about Grub Street workshops. Perhaps you had one or two poor experiences with Grub Street. Are you saying, ultimately, that writing cannot be taught? That taking a writing workshop is a waste of time? That a like-minded, supportive writing community is not a good thing? A few thousand Grub Street writers would probably argue the point. I suggest taking another Grub class, see what you think this time around.
Writing is about life so live it
I couldn’t have said it better myself.