Day 74: You’ve had a really rotten day, you’re mad at the world, and in an evil moment you decide to give a classroom full of impressionable, hopeful young writers all the worst possible advice anyone could give…

“Give up. You heard me, give up. Stop trying. There’s no point. Let’s face it, you’ve spent your life thinking ‘I’m gonna write a novel,’ and how far are you into it? Ten thousand words? Twenty thousand? Pah.

Standard novel is forty thousand. After editing. And of course, you’ve been editing as you go, but that’s never going to be enough. You have this vision of yourself just twenty years old, the saviour of writing.

You’re not. This is the thing you need to remember. You are just another cog in the wheel of literature. A slave to your urges, to your addiction. We all know it, we’ve all been there. We’ve experienced the rush, the thrill of getting words onto the page. You still with me? You, falling asleep at the back? You should probably fuck off now. If you can’t even stay awake in a small talk from me, you’re never going to make it. Go on, get out.

As for the rest of you, hanging so eagerly onto my every word, why? You think listening to me will make you better? It won’t. All it will do is waste an hour of your life.

Stop reading. Stop writing. Give up and just fuck off!”

That’s the speech he gave. My writing professor, a small balding man perpetually in tweed, chalk smudges on his nose. Often, these things are accompanied by an exploded pen in his pocket.

We all filed out, just decided to get out of there as soon as possible. The last image I have of him is a broken man, hunched over a desk, elbow patches polishing small circles on the mahogany. It was a tragic picture.

It was one we’d never see again. Professor Michaels disappeared that day. Everybody thought he’d committed suicide, but there was never a body. He just… Vanished.

But I think he’ll be back. I don’t know why, I don’t know what makes me think it. But he’ll be back.

The Idiot in Tin Foil


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