Portrait of the Artist, Part 1

I'd like to make something. Excellent.  What would you like to make? Soup? Bread? A painting?  An airplane?

No, I think I'd like a story.

Bravo.  Just give me a moment . . . How about this?


This one?

Didn't I read that once?

No, but how about this one?

Perfect! Let me just jot that down . . . Done! I love it.

Great. The very thing we're looking for.

Don't you think it's good?

It's lovely. Anything else?

I mean, but is it really good?

I couldn't say. How about another story?

I'd like to know if this one is any good first. It is unique, isn't it? I can't remember ever reading anything like it before.

Of course it is. You were the first to write it, so there you go.

But don't you think we ought to figure out if it's any good before we go on?

Do you want to write another?

Yes, that was a lot of fun, but -

So let me go find another.

But what if someone reads it and it isn't any good? That would be very embarrassing.

It's true that some people have trouble containing their disappointment when they read something they don't like.

Oh, I know. I hate that.

Sometimes you have trouble containing your disappointment.

Now that's just confusing. I'm never going to show this to anybody.

All right. Would you like another in the meantime?

Why bother if no one is ever going to read it?

. . .

Are you still there?

Always there. You ready for another story?

I asked you a question. It's a serious question. After all, a lawyer has to pass the bar before he can practice law, a doctor has to be certified, seems to me a writer ought to know if what he wrote is any good before he goes showing it other people.

Let me know if you want another story. I've got millions of them.

All as bad as this?


Tell you what. There was this one part in the middle of that story that I still kind of like and I thought it might be nice to do more of it in another story.

Very well.  How about this one?

That'll work. I'm not saying it's going to be any good. I'm just saying I wanted to do more of that thing I did in the first one.

I understand. That seems like an excellent plan.

Sorry - what?  I didn't hear you. I was working.

Never mind.  Carry on.