I didn’t have time to read the new applicant’s submission word-for-word, but I don’t think I have good feedback for his piece. I agree that his background sounds exciting and interesting, but his writing is not something I’d ever choose to read.
Of course, if you disagree, I’ll defer to the group.
What I mean is that after I read his piece, I could think of nothing constructive to say. The feedback it elicits from me would probably not be helpful to him. What I looked for when I was shopping for a writing group was…
- others’ writing I feel I can be helpful with, and
- comments from others that are helpful and give me a clear idea of what I should do to improve my writing.
I assume he’s looking for the same thing, and I’m saying up front that I don’t think I can provide that to him. It seemed like he didn’t even bother to read the writing you sent him. But if you both have good feelings about his one, I’m willing to give it a try.
So by “I don’t think I can provide that to him,” I mean that I can’t think of anything constructive to say about his writing. By “constructive,” I mean good or helpful. I’m trying to tell you I have nothing good to say about his writing. Sorry if that was unclear. I really hope you guys don’t want him in the group.
So maybe I chose my words too carefully. The irony is not lost on me here—as writers, we should try be vivid and incisive with our words, right? Perhaps I was trying to be subtle; show don’t tell, less is more, blabbity blah. Maybe I do tend to pencil-trace around what I’m trying to say rather than filling it in with a bright red sharpie. This must be my blind spot, since just now I re-read my previous emails and I’m jarred at my harshness. (“His writing is not something I’d ever choose to read,” really? Ouch!)
But I want to grow as a writer so I really must listen to your feedback, right? I mean, that’s the whole point of a writing group. So I’m going to remember this the next time I sit down to write.
Thanks for the feedback,
Okay, it’s not true that I didn’t have time to read it, it’s just that every sentence overwhelmed me with queasy embarrassment and I just couldn’t go on. I read through my fingers because I was covering my face with my hands. He writes as though he were standing on a stage with a thesaurus in one hand and his dick in the other, like he jerked something into a paper towel and then shook my hand without looking me in the eyes. It’s a flexing, flabby catwalk and I’ve already seen enough to last me a lifetime. If you want him in this group, then I’ll probably have to drop out because I won’t be able to respect your opinion anymore.
Do you understand what I’m trying to say now? Is that any better?