Is Your Story Not Embarrassing Enough?

Arthur Miller: Collected Plays

The writer must be in it; he can’t be to one side of it, ever. He has to be endangered by it. His own attitudes have to be tested in it. The best work that anybody ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing him, always.

—Arthur Miller

2 thoughts on “Is Your Story Not Embarrassing Enough?

  1. Well, I’m new to the idea of even thinking about writing creatively. I have never struggled writing exposition or academic research, having a 400 page doctoral dissertation that I was encouraged to publish but which I haven’t. Things got in the way, like a mother’s death, a slide down a stress chute with an early retirement after 30 years teaching, and a forced move to a more affordable location. And now I think I’ve gone round some bend on Harry Potter and on Rowling. (It’s how I found this site!) In less than four months, I completed a second and third reading–back to back, non-stop–of the entire series, with the accompanying movie in-between each volume. I’m now immersed in accio-quote interviews with Rowling. This is a corner whose curve I can’t see around, but the velocity has a centripetal force to it that is undeniable. I have made the decision to just trust it and let it pull me. I’m going to dabble in Susan Sipal’s Harry Potter course next month and just learn to play around with an idea. I love gathering big ideas and synthesizing them and, though that is a strength of mine, that has always been exacting work. I keep reading Rowling telling, over and over again, that writing Harry was “so much fun” and “absolutely joyful.” Maybe that’s the pull, that force, exerting itself on me. A third act just might be swelling itself up. Thanks for reading, and thanks SO much for the courage to write this blog.


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