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Callousness

My biggest weakness, as a writer, is probably callousness.

I don’t think, in my day-to-day existence, I’m particularly callous. In fact, I’m sorta sensitive. I hate seeing people hurt, upset, sad, confused. It genuinely pains me—as it does most folks.

When I wear my writing hat, however, this sometimes changes. I gravitate toward barbs. Digs. Little kicks to the back of legs. I learned long ago that great writing means looking for the small elements others might miss. Oftentimes, these small elements aren’t particularly complimentary. A mole. A scar. An odd way of walking. A quirky phrasing. Spit dribbling down the chin. A snot bubble. Because I’ve taken much shit throughout my career (some of it well, some of it not especially well), I generally assume others can take shit, too. I assume folks can laugh things off because, hey, it’s just writing. It’s just me—a relative nobody.

This is a lousy premise. Words hurts. And sting. And last. I write something today, you’ll likely be able to Google it five years from now. I don’t go out of my way—ever—to bruise feelings. But, in this area, I’m not very nimble. A joke to one isn’t always a joke to another. Lightheartedness does not translate as easily as we like to think.

I’ve had a great, joyful, blessed career. I’m a lucky guy who has been able to make a living out of writing.

I am, however, terribly imperfect.

A work in progress.

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