Shattering a Vase

I’m posting today at Austin Mystery Writers–a meditation on how harrrrrrrrrd I work at writing and why I should stop moaning about it. I also share an anecdote from Tracy Chevalier, author of Girl with a Pearl Earring and Falling Angels, about turning failure into success.

Austin Mystery Writers

…it was like taking a vase and setting it down so hard it shatters…

~  Tracy Chevalier

When I taught secondary English, grading essays was my least favorite task. I was happy to read them, but assigning letter grades? I hated that.

I hated judging. I hated trying to determine the difference between a B and an A, or, worse, between a B-plus and an A-minus.

English: Henry Fuseli - Hamlet and his father'... English: Henry Fuseli – Hamlet and his father’s Ghost (1780-1785, ink and pencil on cardboard, 38 × 49,5 cm) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But the worst–the part that made me want to moan like the Ghost of Hamlet’s father, “Oh, horrible, oh, horrible, most horrible!”–was listening to students who thought their work merited higher grades: “But I worked so harrrrrrrd.

Some had watched classmates complete an entire assignment during a lull in history class and then score A’s. It wasn’t fair.

“Harrrrrrrrrrd”was my signal to say

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