Confessions of a Writer                                                                             

“I swear, if you come one step closer, I’ll cut your heart out and then kill myself!” Ashleigh
was clutching the scissors so tightly that a drop of sweat ran through her fingers like melted
steel. Eaton paused while gazing into her eyes. The lovers’ destinies were tangled in the
moment.  The sound of her heartbeat echoed in her ears. Life and death were blended in
split seconds.

The moment Eaton sensed the hesitation in her eyes he stormed to seize the blades, but she
determined to take revenge, turned her hand a half a circle and stabbed him in the chest.  
Blood spewed from her lover. She was petrified by the cold look on her man’s face. The
sharp edges of scissors cut the life string of the two lovers. Eaton collapsed into his blood and
Ashleigh wept bloody tears for her loss. A tender love burned to ashes by the flames of
jealousy.”

                                                           -------------------------

This was the final paragraph of my romance novel.  First I gave it to my wife to read. She
reluctantly put down her nail file, blew onto her nails scattering dust on my novel, and
plucked the manuscript off my hand as if holding a filthy rat by the tail.  She then hastily
glanced through the pages like a lazy pupil forced to do her homework.

“Honey, this is nothing short of a cheap melodrama.  Do you have to become a writer?  Can’
t you make money like everyone else?" Later in the day she said.
The moment she picked up the phone to call her hairdresser I swiftly I grabbed the
manuscript and darted out the door, thinking to myself, what the hell does my wife know
about literature?
Then I gave the manuscript to some of our friends. The very first one commented, “The
artistic value of your novel is below zero.”
“This is an insult to literature. Thank God all great writers died before seeing this.” The
second one said.
“Don’t worry if you don't get noticed. Fame always comes after death.” Another friend
remarked with a stinging smirk on his face.

I made copies of the manuscript and sent them to publishers. Months passed and none
contacted me so I called them.
One asked about the published works which I delicately avoided a response then he
explained to me as a teacher does to a slow student, “we cannot jeopardize our reputation
by investing on your work.  Nowadays anyone who runs away from home wants to be a
writer.” He droned on and I slammed down the phone.

The only publisher who showed interest was the one who asked me for a $25,000 non-
refundable security deposit.  He explained, “Your drama is powerful. If a reader under the
influence of your novel commits a crime of passion, we may get sued. The deposit is for
insurance premium and possible litigation costs. We only require deposits from powerful
writers.”   

Then I sent my work to literary magazines. Days and weeks and months passed and no one
even bothered to send a rejection letter.  Once again, I swallowed my pride and called a few
editors to follow up.  One swore on his mother’s milk that he had not received my
submission.  The next one said his journal was on the brink of bankruptcy and he was opening
a strip bar instead.

The most peculiar conversation I had was with a prestigious magazine editor who said,
“Your story stinks!" I politely requested a clarification and he continued, “your story smells
like a rat. It’s politically slanted. We are an independent magazine and not affiliated with
any political organizations, therefore, we can’t publish your propaganda.”

It was stunned. How could my romance novel get such an ugly review?  Suddenly I realized
mentioning that the pair of scissors Ashleigh used was purchased at Wal-Mart therefore
made in Communist China. That must have been the reason why the publisher was under
impression that the novel was politically biased. That was easy to fix, she could use one
made in the USA.  They would cost the killer a little more but why would the victim care?
But before I could get a chance to offer this compromise, the publisher called me a Commie
bastard and hung up.

The disappointing truth was that for very odd reasons I was not getting published.  My only
consolation was that in this misery I was not alone. There were so many unpublished writers
desperately looking for readers.  After months of exhaustive research and in-depth study of
the commercialized nature of the literary market, I considered establishing an underground
organization for unpublished writers. One that could organize obscure authors and make
their dream comes true. Why not? Such a unique society could use the collective efforts of
these desperate writers and expose their work to the public.  The most appropriate name
for this secret fraternity was The Average Talented Writer’s Society; a secret brotherhood
that could easily recruit an army of failed writers. The only criterion to join the society was
the proof of complete failure due to the writers’ average talent. All prospective members
had to prove that the total number of their readers –excluding immediate family members-
was fewer than the total number of their fingers and toes. I knew that the mental state of
my fellow writers after consistent failure would empower them to do anything to help the
society achieve its goals. Abject failure was our most precious asset.

It was stipulated in the constitution of The Average Talented Writers’ Society that if the
writings of a fellow writer suddenly get noticed and her number of readers increased
drastically, her talent and her IQ would promptly be scrutinized and her loyalty to the
society would be questioned. She would then immediately and without notice be expelled
and a below-average writer would be promoted to full-member status.   

After careful consideration of initiating such grass-root movement, I began inviting my
fellow unknown writers to join. Contrary to my expectations however, this process was slow
and painful. No one showed interest in joining The Average Talented Writer’s Society.  They
seemed to be insulted merely by my invitation. In a few months my literary movement failed
miserably.  I insulted many friends and created countless enemies. My continuous failure in
every endeavor adversely affected my marriage. My wife, who could not face our friends
anymore, left the house to go to the cleaners one morning and never returned.  

Why? I kept asking myself over and over again during my lonely and sleepless nights. Then I
remembered the advice I had carelessly ignored a friends gave me once, “Don’t worry if you
don't get noticed. Fame always comes after death.” What an epiphany.  No one was reading
my novel because I was still breathing. Suddenly my streak of bad luck made perfect sense.
Wasn't it true that brilliant writers, musicians, and painters lived in misery and died in
poverty and obscurity?  Obviously everyone was anxiously waiting for me to die to read my
novel. The critics were just itching to see me in permanent horizontal position before
praising my work.  Editors were waiting to read my obituary before they could publish my
fiction. Why should I be an exception to the rule? History was repeating itself and who was I
to stand in its way. What the hell was I waiting for?  I had no conceivable reason to wake up
in the morning anyway.  Every friend of mine had turned to my sworn enemy.  I had lost my
job, wasted all of our life savings to promote my novel and establishing the damn writers’
society.  The truth was I had received several death threats from writers whom I‘d invited to
join and I was too scared to leave the house. I had no choice but to let the history run its
natural course.

But I couldn’t leave the material world without writing my memoir. I had to write my
experience for future generations of writers.  So, I did and the result was what you are
reading and I appropriately called it Confessions of a Writer.
“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…”

                                                   -------------------------------------

As I was standing in a long line to face my creator, I noticed a writer friend who had recently
lost his life in a car accident. He had the Inferno Times opened to the Literature section as if
he was expecting this meeting. He could hardy hide his sneer as he handed me the paper. In
the Successful Mortals column of the paper I saw a picture of my wife and her complete
biography. She was praised as a brilliant writer. Before letting me open my mouth, he
informed me that after I died, she’d published the Confessions of a Writer to rave reviews
and the first line of the memoir read, “To the sweet memory of my late husband.”