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Guest opinion: A writer’s lament

By Anneli Byrd - | Jun 24, 2024

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Anneli Byrd

I know a surprising number of people who like to write and dream of hitting the big time, all the while keeping their pages in a drawer for fear that someone might read them. Putting your stuff out there is scary! Some, like me, write for their local papers, or self-publish, or have a blog or two.

Scary or not, I mostly have a lot of fun. But there are the times when I'm sure any chimpanzee could do better. I try not to take myself too seriously while in these moods. I'm sure even Shakespeare felt like that sometimes.

Not that I believe this today. Today, I am the chimp, and the only advice I have for anyone who thinks they might want to write comes from the humorist Dorothy Parker, who must have been feeling like a chimp herself when she wrote:

"If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do for them is to present them with copies of 'The Elements of Style.' The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they're happy."

This song is for all of us monkeys out there. Sing it to the tune of "I'm Just Ken" from the "Barbie" movie. I hope you never stop pounding the keyboard.

Doesn't seem to matter what I do

When the day is through

Rejections come by mail, Both by E and snail. Oh I

I have these words I must explain

Drivin' me insane

They keep me up at night

That's what it means to write.

***

I have a pen! Maybe it's true that I have ten,

Is it my destiny to live and die a life of anonymity?

Oh I need cash!

Where I see print, they just see trash

What will it take for them to see my words and publish me?

***

I wanna know what it's like to meet a publisher!

Should I write crime? Romance, that's a thought, or poetry?

And is my moment finally here, or am I dreaming?

I'm no dreamer.

***

Can you feel: BESTSELLERDOM?

Feels so real: BESTSELLERDOM?

Buy my book: BESTSELLERDOM!

Make Mom proud! BESTSELLERDOM!

***

I am dismayed! Anywhere else, I might be paid,

Is it my destiny to live and die without big royalties?

I have a pen!

So read my blog, just tell me when!

What will it take for them to put my book up on the shelf?

***

I have a pen (and it's enough)

And I'm great at writing stuff,

So, hey, check me out (at annelibyrd.com), yeah, I have a pen!

Look at this pen (just like I planned)

So put that contract in my hand

So hey, world check me out, I have a PEN!

Editor, I have a pen!!

Anneli Byrd is an academic adviser in Weber State University's Student Success Center.

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