There is a line in The Princess Bride (a movie I can quote endlessly) during the greatest sword fight in movie history when Inigo says to Westley:
The Gutter by Guttermouth(opens new window). I remember the exact reason I decided to check out The Gutter. She made a comment on my Substack, so I read her brief statement Substack authors have the opportunity to write:
I admit it, you are better than I am.
If I sound awful, there’s a very good chance I’m fucking with you. If you can’t tell, it probably doesn’t matter.
It made me laugh out loud and any writer who can get me to laugh out loud deserves more than a passing glance. I started reading her “stack,” as she calls it, and began to feel, as I sometimes do reading others, that she should be writing a book and not me. I think some of this has to do with starting to write later in life. I didn’t start seriously writing until I was almost 30, so to some degree I have always felt a little out of my depth, not quite comfortable in my writing skin.I was an athlete in high school and college, something that came easy for me, but writing was painful and laborious. Receiving criticism in the some of the writing classes I took and in some of the groups I attended was difficult, particularly after I finally realized I had a LONG way to go, something I didn’t realize soon enough.
So I’ve rarely felt as much ease putting words down as I felt shooting a basketball through a hoop or catching a football.
I’ve come a long way and I still have a long way to go even as the road before me looms shorter and shorter. I’m not a great writer and I know that. Maybe it’s because I’m now 65, but as Guttermouth might write it: I don’t give a fuck.
There’s something to be said for that. Except for momentary lapses, ultimately I don’t care. I enjoy writing and at this moment in our history I want to help and contribute. Not giving a fuck makes me a better writer than I would be otherwise.
That’s partly what my book is about. Get involved in this war we’re now in, worry about your skills and qualifications later. Maybe you read my book and think, “I can do better.” I hope you can.
Shakespeare wrote (a quote I use in the book):
Our doubts are traitors
And make us lose the good we oft might win,
By fearing to attempt.
Check out the review
I only have one comment about the review. Guttermouth wrote:
It’s something you have on the coffee table or in the bathroom (no disrespect to The Inmate intended; bathroom reading is a diverse and not at all unimportant genre)…
No argument here. I like to envision Sancho Panza on the shitter reading I’m Nobody. Who Are You? Can We Save the World? with such intensity that he doesn’t hear Don Quixote banging on the outhouse door yelling, “Hurry up, Sancho! We have to save the world!”
And we do…but we also need the respite and solitude that nature gracefully affords us everyday.