Amy G Coombs

author, reader, teacher

Risks of Writing

The other night two friends were discussing ABEL’S ISLAND by William Steig (no, I haven’t read it yet, but I plan to now). One was quite disdainful of and disappointed in the ending. She thought the main character reverted to his old callous and selfish personality. The other found Steig’s conclusion romantic and moving. Hmmm….

Isn’t it scary how writers put their heart on the page only to have readers react with a wide range of interpretations and feelings? No matter how talented we may be, or what emphatic choices we make, or how well-rounded our characters, we always run that risk.

I’m beginning work on two series of short stories which will particularly open me up to this danger. One, following a privileged white girl from the 1963 March on Washington to President Obama’s inauguration and her relation to the African-American woman who raised her, and race relations in general. The other, a series of stories about Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual teens (there may be a Transgender story inside me as well). My mentor says if I stay honest, I will pull it off. We’ll see.

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