Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pain on the Playing Fields

When I read a published story that fails in technique or vision or clarity, I feel as if I, too, had failed. I feel ashamed.

My last girlfriend would have scowled at this admission and replied, in her stern, cold voice, "Boundary issues!"

Well, perhaps. But I recall a moment from decades ago, on a playing field back in school, when someone was hit by a soccer ball right in the groin. He clutched at himself, staggered, nearly fell over... and all around him, the other boys gaped in sudden sympathetic agony. At moments like this, boundaries vanish.

Writing can fall apart easily, and mine often has; I kept two woodstoves burning for years with my failed attempts to learn. For that reason, my reading boundaries are thin, and they, too, have been known to vanish.

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