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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I didn't know that ordinary people get paid to write

That comment has been made to me so many times I've lost count.
Friends look around my house at the 'stuff' all over everwhere, the computer surrounded by
papers and files, at the mess, the toys and the general 'balagan', and add.
" But I thought you had to be a professional to write"

I usually either ignore the comment, or answer with something inane like, "creative people are always messy"

My English literature teacher ,Miss Hare, ( who must have been at least 90 if she was a day) first gave me the idea.
To pass English Lit. A levels ( university level school leaving exams ) in England many years ago, you had to write reams and reams of prose about the many books we had to study. Those still writing when the exam finished got the highest marks - well that's how it seemed to me.
Every time I looked around , after I'd finished answering all the questions the rest of the group were still scribbling away filling page after page.
When I received my papers back, I got a so-so mark. But this annoyed me intensely because I knew it was simply because it wasn't long enough not because something was wrong or was missing.
At the bottom,Miss Hare had written the remark that was to set my life on its course.

Your style would be better suited to journalism than a career in English literature.

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