Ann Padgett on Writing: Robyn the Critic

From Ann Padgett’s “The Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir about Writing and Life” (This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage. New York: Harper, 2013, pp. 19-60)

(Robyn is a graduate teaching assistant in a college poetry class.)

I admired Robyn and was terrified of her, and soon I had so assimilated her critical voice that I was able to bring the full weight of her intelligence to bear on my work without her actually needing to be in the room. I could hear her explaining how what I was writing would fail, and so I scratched it out and started over. But I knew she wouldn’t deem my second effort to be any better. Before long I was able to think the sentence, anticipate her critique of it, and decide against it, all without ever uncapping my pen. (p. 26)

 

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