from  ‘How to Be a Writer’ (Lorrie Moore)

Sooner or later you have a finished manuscript more or less. People look at it in a vaguely troubled sort of way and say, ”I’ll bet becoming a writer was always a fantasy of yours, wasn’t it?” Your lips dry to salt. Say that of all the fantasies possible in the world, you can’t imagine being a writer even making the top 20. Tell them you were going to be a child psychology major. ”I bet,” they always sigh, ”you’d be great with kids.” Scowl fiercely. Tell them you’re a walking blade.

Quit classes. Quit jobs. Cash in old savings bonds. Now you have time like warts on your hands. Slowly copy all of your friends’ addresses into a new address book.

Vacuum. Chew cough drops. Keep a folder full of fragments.

An eyelid darkening sideways.

World as conspiracy.

Possible plot? A woman gets on a bus.

Suppose you threw a love affair and nobody came.

At home drink a lot of coffee. At Howard Johnson’s order the cole slaw. Consider how it looks like the soggy confetti of a map: where you’ve been, where you’re going – ”You Are Here,” says the red star on the back of the menu.

Occasionally a date with a face blank as a sheet of paper asks you whether writers often become discouraged. Say that sometimes they do and sometimes they do. Say it’s a lot like having polio.

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