I've read a lot of writing this weekend and am happy to report that some of it sucked. Most of it was great — Dani Shapiro, Debbie Urbanski, Henry Wismayer, a couple of friends writing email and letters — and taught me things I need to know, but some of the writers (all of whom I'll refrain from naming) did terrible work. I'd like to believe they meant well but it was as if they didn't understand anything about writing for an audience. Some truly awful stuff.
The saying of which has me self-conscious about writing this. Nothing like setting myself up for a fall.
My point isn't to revel in how bad those pieces were or complain about them getting published. I'm not ready to be that envious yet. I've got time to indulge deeply in that deadly sin. I'm petty but not about that sort of thing.
I'm happy to have encountered all that suckage because it places me in the middle of the spectrum. I've always known there are writers with abilities so advanced they are indistinguishable from magic. Their work sometimes leaves me wondering what the hell I'm playing at in this business, but mostly I accept that there are gods walking among us. Reading the tripe I've been served this weekend I smile because, hey, I write less terribly than that. Score!
The middle is a good place. It gives me hope of moving up. It reminds me where I've come from. And being the middle sure beats the crap out of even thinking that I'm on the bottom.
I'll keep reading the best stuff I can find, but once in a while the worst writing is music to my ears and ego. I say, bring on the crap!