A clunky oxford comma won’t save your hide this time, youngling, I’ve personally seen to that. My crack team of professional writers and editors has just completed debriefing your current (and long-suffering, from what I understand) creative writing instructor on the grammatical and stylistic negligence running rampant through your work, and all she could do was shake her head. Apparently you’ve only ever provided her with “disjointed exercises in irrelevant futility” (her words), and haven’t even attempted to link your compositions to the innovative writers before you. You know who I’m talking about, those mental giants who made your layabout lifestyle possible in the first place. We are all appalled, to put it mildly. This will most assuredly sound harsh to you, seated right in the midst of the most comfortable generation, accustomed to automatic rewards for any and all efforts regardless of actual merit.
Sure, I can accept your indignation. After all, you’ve never met me and probably believe in your heart of hearts that this intervention is unwarranted, but listen carefully, buddy boy. Having written three iterations of the great American novel, I would say I have some sway in this arena.
Now before you get smart with me here, I’m going to level with you in the hopes of changing your mind (or at least getting you to listen). When I was young and impressionable, probably just about your age, I was perpetually writing my guts out and getting nowhere. My very finest examples of literary achievement were all uniformly rejected by “The Man,” and I had absolutely no recourse. It was the absolute darkest time of my life, let me tell you. It was only then, when every day seemed like an endless moaning trudge through a soundproofed cave with no entrance or exit, that I began listening to reason. I snapped out of my loathsome little pity party and made it my new duty to read every example of classic literature that I could get my hands on.
Some time into this ritualistic behavior, I once again took up the immortal mantle and began emulating these immortal techniques as though my life depended on it. Only after three solid years of daily classic consumption and imitation did I have any basis for penning my own opus, and even then, I had no idea where to start. Six more years passed before I’d amassed enough material to complete my first manuscript and submit it to all the most prestigious presses for consideration, and it was uniformly panned as “uninspired and unoriginal.” I’d spent so much time absorbing previously-written works that I essentially boiled them down into one book of derivative nonsense that felt like twenty well-known stories smashed together. Now, in this situation, where nearly ten years had passed and I had virtually nothing to show for it, you’d think that I’d just want to hang up my gloves for good, never touch the stuff that brought me so much abject humiliation and self-loathing. Well then, you clearly don’t know me well enough. It was then and there that I sprang into action, dissecting my 1,200+ page manuscript and reassembling it into the three seminal works that have buttered my bread ever since.
Throughout that decade or so of tedium, I circled around the ultimate truth of craft so many times that it eventually became my every thought: “nobody wants to read your overly-complicated contemporary stuff, so just write something vaguely reminiscent of the literary canon and pretend that you organically reached those concepts.”
I know that most young people will stand up and scoff at such a notion, but they’ve never lived through a dark period of endemic illiteracy. So before you write me off as just another handsome eccentric on your eclectic road through life, remember that you’ll never get anywhere if you think it’s cute to be clever.