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There's Nothing Special About Me (1 Viewer)


Friends of WF
Hello Everyone,

Recovering writer here, from a little town a little south of Cleveland, Ohio, in the US.

There's nothing special about me.

I wonder about things a lot. Like the name of my country. Why doesn't it have an interesting name, like Wakanda, or Bagombo, or Efflines? Why did we name ourselves what we are supposed to be -- United -- and not what we are -- Untied? The last country who named themselves what they were supposed to be was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; and, well now, just look what happened to them. I mean, the words we choose are important.

See? I wonder. At inappropriate times. Nervous tic, I suppose.

So. Hello everyone. I'm exploring WF because my current site, a short story/novella workshop, is, shall we say, close to no longer meeting my needs. We might be breaking up. After 22 years. Yeah, I know. No, not because of any of drugs, alcohol, politics, religion, or infidelities. I don't know the word for it. Corrosion, maybe? Infestation? And me being without the word for it, is, well, unsettling.

Sometimes you just have to get away from things, you know? Then you have a better chance of seeing what they are. Perspective. Vacation. Except then you can't see them at all, you have only memories. And you are likely wrong about those.

So it's all iffy, sketchy.

I'm not writing fiction right now. But I know it's burbling around in there. I can feel it. And my dreams, my goodness, things are really wangjangling over there. So, yeah, I'm not one of those writers who can take a setting, a character, and a premise and just snap them together, duct tape 'em up, shove in the factory-made motor-modules with their tried-and-true story-arcs, and grind out story-looking-things in time for press. I have to be involved, have some skin in the game, feel something, have the dark side leaving cryptic clues, have the abyss watching me dream at the loom. It's not pretty. Sometimes the results shock me. I ruined a sprawling auto-fiction novel by accidentally writing the perfect ending before I'd earned it.

I'm happy perfection came from me. But I'm sad the lights went out. I'd been stupid. You are supposed to hide the cooler full of ice and beer at the front of the moving van box. That way your friends stay motivated to help you move all that crap out of there so we can get to the refreshment. But no, we celebrated too soon. We just lolled about, forgot about the unfinished novel, fell asleep, arguing about Mitchell's frigging "Cloud Atlas," of all things.

It really was perfect, that ending I wrote. Gives me shivers, still. I wish I would stop remembering it. It's like it's trying to tell me something. Something I need, something important.

But when I'm not writing, I love reviewing and critiquing other writers' work. Just get a lot of deep down satisfaction being part of the process.

And I'm usually not a jerk about it, either.

People over there at the other site mostly liked my reviews. Even if I had to be strict with the text.

I try to tell the truth. But nicely. Or at least constructively. "Suggestions, not advice," you know?

But if your shape-shifting she-monster has resumed her slavering ogress form, you can't have the hapless hero still be wrapped in her anaconda coils. That just can't be. See? Things have to be real, especially if they aren't. People just won't believe you otherwise. And you have to want people to believe; they go insane if they can't. Have you noticed that, too?

Right now I'm supposed to be writing a review for a genius story, just an impeccable thing; probably one of the most moving things I've read in almost forever. Seriously. The author was brilliant in their framing for the tale. And in the detailing. And a complete tense-change dream-flashback that fit like a dove tail joint into the main story. And the most fabulous thing? The most fabulous thing about the story is something that is not even there, never said. Something that should have been there but wasn't. An absence. And the way the story spooled out from the presence of the absence was breathtakingly perfect. Broke my heart when I realized what was going on, what must have happened. Breaks my heart anew each time I think of it. I will have a hard time with the review. My eyes are crappy enough without adding tears. But I will write it. Because the text deserves it. The author deserves it. My soul deserves it. The story reminds me like earthquakes I'm still mostly human, after all; I have invisible absences, too, tectonics, still moving me.

So, yeah. I like reading and reviewing and critiquing and I'm hoping the WF Workshop will prove fertile ground.

What's gone wrong over there, at my other workshop site? I mean, I've still got a hand in over there, got a sterling rep and some rock-solid cred. Why leave?

Because that brilliant story I just now talked about reviewing is the last story up for review. The last one. Maybe for forever.

Last breaths are also terrible things to never forget.

Well. what else can I say about myself by way of introduction?

Perpetually open browser tabs? Current reading list? Books on repeat? Favorite author? What's clogging my ancient e-reader these days? What's in the sagging bag I need to remember to return to the library today?

So. Hello everyone. I need to post 10 public things, right? Before the [Hidden] doors open? And then I can find out what's what? See if I belong here? I have to show you mine before you will show me or even talk about yours?

Okay. Piece of cake. I'm curious and I've almost always plenty of words left.

See ya

Darren White

co-owner and admin
Staff member
That is a fantastic introduction. Very nice to meet you, and welcome to WF!
Looking forward to reading your work and your critiques :)


Staff member
Sorry to hear about your other site, always saddened to see a place that feels like home, end. I hope you feel welcome here and will learn to feel at home with us. Welcome to WF, I can tell you love the written word.


Hey, welcome! Sorry to hear that your former place to workshop is winding down. Here's hoping you find community here.

Hi Rob ... That was brilliant.

I would like to add more, but still smiling from your extended introduction and 'speech' ... it was really impressive!

I think i would be terrified to show you anything I write (not that I have posted anything here for anyone to read) but great to have your talents to hear from. Welcome aboard.I


Friends of WF
I think i would be terrified to show you anything I write

This has been heavy on my mind since I saw it yesterday.

Will I break a rule if I respond in this section? Let's find out.

The short of it?

Me, too! I am terrified to show myself anything I write!

(Which why I am not fictioning anything just now.)

But in my reviewing, I'm nicer to you Out-There people. I don't bite. I don't pass myself off as authority, although it might sometimes sound that way. Like now.

My approach? Anyone writing something and putting it out there and inviting comment is to be admired. And told so. You made this? It is precious. Here what it seems like to me. Is it what you meant it to be? Here's what surprised me. There's what not so much. Is there more? I hope so. Please sir, I want some more.

Oh sure there's those ticky-tacky "they're confused about their there there" sort of moments. Isn't there always?

And then there's the bit where you inspire me. Those are dangerous times. Because it means I am about to leak some me all over your pristine precious thing. But I might not tell you about that secret thrill, depending upon how susceptible you seem.

And there's best part. The part where we talk about The Text. Talk as if it's a Thing, an object completely independent from us both -- no "you wrote," no "I need," no "right," no "wrong." Just declaratives and lotsa questions. There's just you and me, poring over this miracle called The Text.

So there we stand around The Text like it was a sizzling meteorite fresh from space, begging to be poked and explored.

Or maybe we stand around The Text as if it's a patient open on the operating table, our bloodied hands and fingers gently "appreciating" the situation and the various parts, working or otherwise. We might even talk about repairs if we understand what it was supposed to be.

Or maybe we stand around The Text like it's dusty roadkill, nudging it back and forth a bit with the toes of our boots, and then not ever looking directly at each other but squinting off into the distance, we go, "Yup. Sure was pretty, wasn't it? Too bad the damn fool thing ran straight into traffic."

Doing this, reviewing, critiquing, whatever, lets me again get close to the edge, close to the creative forces and events I miss. So please don't hide your stuff.

Am I interacting with your creativity to help heal mine?

Oh, yes, you betcha! And thank you so very much for that.

(NB: some cussing along this link not to me, but to The Oatmeal, by the brilliant Matthew Inman)
I was ashamed of my process. I was ashamed of my eraser...

[2021-04-21 2048]
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One is most sorry if I put your mind in that way, it was my way to recognise talent far superior to my own. It will be fun to hear your views and debates on the threads!

To Foxee I will PM you :)