The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Saturday, April 7, 2012

What Comes Out of YOUR Butt?

photo by Lemon Lauren

       One of the writers in my critique group--She Who Will Not Be Named (SWWNBN)-- has done the same thing for several meetings in a row. When it comes her turn to share, she hems and haws, saying she really doesn't have much. What she has brought are "old" pieces, stories and essays that have sat by the wayside, wasting away. And as the other four of us read her piece, our mouths gape open. Our eyes spin around in our heads. Our brains whir in wonderment. Where did she get this awesome idea? How did she craft such a poignant piece that's simple and mind-blowing at the same time? How can we take her down a notch? (Okay, that last one probably only ran through my mind.)

       And her perception is her reality. She honestly thinks--each time--that her pieces suck. (That's my term. SWWNBN's far too much of a lady to say something so crass. I myself am not disabled in that way.)

       And each time, Lynn and I roll our eyes and then give this writer the stink eye. We started making jokes that she was pulling Pulitizer-prize winning stuff out of her butt.

       It came to a climax at our last critique session. After reading her piece, we each drew a set of buttocks at the end of her story. Some of us drew two butts--one like our own, with the normal "waste" coming out and then SWWNBN's rear end, with gold nuggets of words coming out. (I even think I saw one of the butts sporting sprouts of hair. Disgusting!)

       Of course, she is going to keep those drafts forever; someday, those doodled posteriors will bring some big bucks, when we all become internationally-known writers. ('Cause we sure ain't going to get known as illustrators. The drawings are proof of that.)

        It's crucial to have a sense of humor (in my opinion) when you're a member of an effective critique group. It's also important that all the writers feel safe. Tammy (oops, I just named her), with the multi-skilled sphincter, did not feel threatened at all by the good-natured ribbing we liberally dished out. 

        As a writer...create a safe community for your writing to flourish. Dish it out. And take it. Serve it up and suffer through it with the love and respect that it's generously peppered with.

        Because, of're a writer.


  1. I know someone like this! Her writing kicks nine kinds of tail, but she is all aw shucks who me? When she's famous, I hope she'll give me a job setting up the tables for her book signings or something!

  2. Reading Tammy's story was akin to eating a delicious meal. Reading this post was like having dessert. You can really dish it up! You are a word weaver.

  3. Fireblossom--I'm sure your "Aw Shucks" friend would KILL to have you sit next to her as you bask in her glow.

    Linda--Thanks. And hey, no calories in either Tammy's stories or my post. (We won't talk about what we DO eat every other Wednesday...)

  4. Today was my day for "feasting" with my critique group. We were short by 2 this week, but still had ooh-gobs of fun and served up plenty of the good stuff. I agree that it is important to feel safe with one's group.

    Your post is a riot, Sioux. You seem to have a rather talented, er, bootie, as well. :)

  5. What comes out of my butt? Two posts a day for my two blogs. Sometimes it's very evident. I don't even have the common decency to bury it, like a cat. But one out of every hundred or so, I deposit a sparkling gem that has potential. In my mind, anyway.

  6. I may just frame those pictures as a reminder not to "flush" some writing too quickly (though I suspect when I run to the bathroom laughing again that you all really whisper, "Hee hee, we really got her believing this sh*t is good!") Nevertheless, this is without question the nicest compliment I've had in ages. Other than the guy from my single's group who told me I have the beautiful eyes of a hedge hog, of course! My ample ass is lucky to sit in the presence of such greatness. Your own sphincter is as stellar as they come.

  7. Sioux, again, you're so funny. LOL, good thing we are writers because illustrators... uh, not me anyway. And now that I'm following Tammy's post, listen, you're starting to sound like me... (though I suspect...) cut it out. We'd never say that about you behind your back. If you ever brought something crappy, you'll probably hear us all cheering right in front of you! YAY, she can write something bad. She is a normal writer. You do have beautiful eyes, but, uhm, not like a hedge hog.

  8. Hi Sioux,
    Interesting question. Your group sounds like loads of fun; it's no wonder you are all so productive.

  9. Lisa--My rear end is flat and wide, but talented? Not so much...

    Tammy--I think the hedgehog compliment tops them all. You shouldn't have rejected that one.

    Lynn--I agree. I wish Tammy WOULD put out some poo. But no. She never obliges...

    Donna--They ARE a barrel of monkeys.


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