Editor’s Note

At some point I decided that I’m not going to be a writer.  Reading amazing works of literature was incredibly rewarding, but it came with a cost: how could I ever write anything that would compare?  I felt that every idea for a story, every line I conjured in my head, and every character I imagined, were all derivative, a pale imitation stitched from the texts of my betters.  If that wasn’t enough, I shuddered at the thought of the world criticizing my work, perhaps unfairly dismissing it as worthless, exactly as I had done so often.

Not until after I finished my degree, did I realize that I lacked forgiveness.  I needed to forgive the new flaws I found, so different and glaring in comparison to  the flaws in writings of the past, which we’ve all learned to embrace or ignore.  And once that happened, the experience was incredibly freeing.   I allowed myself to enjoy a Beyoncé song, a Buffy TV episode, or a teenage movie, without guilt.  I recognized the value in each one – how they brought a smile to my face, recalled a distant memory, or moved me to tears.  I appreciated the freshness, the new complexities, and the original voices that I discovered.  The world seemed infinitely richer.

Despite my progress, I’m still not brave enough to attempt writing myself.  I applaud the writers of this issue for their resolve to write and for their courage in the face of criticism.   But above all, I congratulate them for the great work they share with us – interesting, fresh, original, and truly moving.


Yoni Heiblum, Editor.



Filed under Editor's Note, Issue 7

5 responses to “Editor’s Note

  1. When asked why I write I reply: for the pleasure it gives me, for the challenge of putting one word after another so that they make sense, not necessarily to others, but to myself, for the discipline it requires to keep at it even when only rejections have come in the mail, for the occasional acceptance and publication from an editor who feels that my words make sense. I try not to think about much better other writers are.

  2. I am not, nor do I every consider the prospect of being a creative writer, but I really connected with Yoni’s note. I think it is true for anyone attempting to stake his/her place within their professional niche, and is a worthwhile thought to ponder at the moments when things aren’t going well. Yasher koach, if we’d all learn to take a deep breath and remind ourselves of Yoni’s message more often, we’d enjoy our lives that much more.

  3. First, this editor’s note of yours reads as a beginning of a novel, and a good one too, if I may. Then, I suspect that critics and editors, as a species, find it extremely difficult to write themselves. Maybe you should only be doing either one at a time, for a while. And only after publishing a novel or two, resume the meta-writing thing. Excessive criticism, both self- and external, is the ultimate suppressor of our creativity, if not of our outreaching attitude to the world.

  4. K. Wall

    Carmel made some valid points. There are certainly inherent complications as an editor when we turn our talents to writing. Simply turning off that inner editor so our prose can flow unfettered becomes next to impossible when we spend the majority of our time with it on full-force during our day jobs. Still, struggling as a writer or not, the creative endeavour should not be buried. In fact, I think releasing creative energy will make us better editors.

  5. Sheikha A.

    Yes! This is precisely what I need for people to see! Forgive errors in writing! Some editors take their work so seriously, to the extent they kill the ‘feeling’ in every creation! I read every piece of work with the acceptance it may contain flaws and I need to look beyond it to find the ‘feeling’ the piece is trying to reach out to me with. If I’m left devoid of that ‘feeling’, then I am liberal to criticize, else I’m in settlement.

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