OF CUPBOARDS AND WRITING

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Submitted Date 02/21/2020
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About a million years ago, give or take a few, my fiancé and I were enjoying a lazy Sunday morning and sleeping in…

To be rudely awakened by my roommate banging around in the kitchen.

 

"He does that sometimes," I said. "I don't know why."

"It's because you don't close the cupboard doors," mumbled my fiancé before falling back to sleep.

 

Moi?

It couldn't be true. If it were, why had he never told me? We'd been roommates for years. All right, maybe I had forgotten to close one cupboard, exceptionally, last night. To say I didn't close cupboards was a gross exaggeration.

Doubt set in. Was it possible? Could I be less than perfect? From that day on, I paid attention to my movements in the kitchen, and made sure never to leave an opened door ever again.

 

Two years later, I was visiting my family in Germany. My cousin came down from Hamburg to my aunt's house in the country for the occasion, and, Lo and Behold! everyone I shared DNA with left the cupboard doors open!

 

It really opened my eyes.

 

First thing: genetics is weird.

Secondly, not only had my roommate not lied (nor exaggerated), but I finally understood how annoying my habit had been.

 

Not to mention dangerous. I must have had a bat-radar thing going back then. Nowadays, when I leave a cupboard door open, be it one minute, I automatically slam my forehead into it.

 

What in the world does any of this have to do with writing you ask?

 

Well, for one, writers have almost as high an opinion of themselves as French people… We all have bad/annoying habits, and the most well-ingrained ones are invisible to us. We have developed mechanisms to avoid seeing them. We need someone to point them out to us if we want to improve.

 

So when someone takes the time to criticize your writing, be grateful, don't be defensive and refuse to see your work with fresh open eyes.

Be invested in the future of your work, and open to learning something you can apply to other projects. Get good. Already good? Get better. You are never done learning your craft.

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