Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dear Editor

I wrote a letter to the editor of Writer's Digest Magazine, and they printed it. In a previous issue, Leslie Epstein, a distinguished writer and professor, had shared some tips on writing and life. I took issue with some of his "tips," and I wrote the magazine about it. As WD printed it, my letter looks like this:

In the MFA Insider article "Tips for Writing and for Life," Leslie Epstein tells us not to write such things as "He go out of bed, pulled on his pants." He says such constructions, leaving out the and or the then, are pretentious. Well, they're not as pretentious as Epstein instructing us not to pronounce the e in forte. How is that supposed to make me a better writer?

Brian Crawford
San Francisco, CA

It's embarrassing to admit how excited I was to see my name in print (reason enough for Epstein to give me no more notice than an errant thread on his tweed jacked). But I was disappointed, too. The magazine edited the content of my letter. In the printed version, my final sentence is missing:

Following that kind of advice is likely to get me punched in the head.

Come on, that was the best part. How could they cut it? Did WD think it was too incendiary for their readership? Or were they simply trying to preserve a modicum of hope that I could someday get into Boston University's Creative Writing Program, of which Epstein is the director? Regardless, this will no doubt be the first of many futile attempts to censor my dangerous literary genius...


  1. "...to give me no more notice than an errant thread on his tweed jacket"

    dangerous literary genius indeed...!

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  3. Hah! Punched in the head. I like that!