Several years ago now, I was standing in front of some nightclub in San Francisco, talking to a few people. A girl whom I didn’t like very much interrupted me and said, “Oh, GOD. Is this one of your long and boring stories that no one wants to listen to?” (After that I didn’t like her AT ALL.)
I wanted to retort with a witty comeback, but I felt punched in the throat. She got on her Lambretta and rode off into the sunset, and I was left feeling tongue-tied and stupid. And it really, really affected me.
All my life I wanted to be a writer. I thought that I had stories to tell, and I always had a sense that people actually liked hearing them. They were never particularly moving stories — my life is pretty run-of-the-mill and undramatic, but I could make people laugh and that made me feel good. And even if people did think I was long-winded and boring, most people were kind and polite, unlike this woman.
it’s taken me a while to get over it, and I’ve had a lot of speed bumps on the way regarding my confidence as a writer and my ability and mostly my subject matter, but I have grown, and I’ve decided to take her mean comment and use it as constructive criticism. I think of her and I edit and murder my darlings and omit filler. I think of her when I think of what I want to write about, and though sometimes her nasty voice paralyzes me, sometimes I can turn around and write something not very boring. My Facebook posts may still be too long and unedited, but my actual writing can always use improvement, because I want to write and tell stories that at least someone wants to listen to.
And I guess someone does — I am doing The Moth November 24th at The Public Works in San Francisco. To say I am excited is an understatement — when I got the email I had to go outside and cry and catch my breath. It is a dream come true — I get to tell a story to lots of people, and hopefully people won’t think it’s long and boring. Or at least some people will like it.
And I finally have a retort to that mean girl from all those years ago. Take THAT, mean girl! I’m doing The Moth!