from an interview with Troy Jollimore, poet and philosopher:
What lessons were most important to you as a student of writing?
I think what I most needed to learn was that the fact that I sometimes, indeed often, wrote things that weren’t very good and that did not mean that I wasn’t a good writer. I had this illusion, I think many people have it, that when you’re a good writer you have a kind of golden pen, your first drafts are wonderful, there is no struggle; the mark of genius is apparent in everything you produce. Which of course is insane! Your favorite writer, no matter who they are, produces lousy first drafts. And lousy second drafts. And slightly less lousy third drafts. That writer, like you, like me, goes through a long process of rewriting and revising and struggling to get the damn thing right—and, in all likelihood, of cursing and clenching her teeth and shaking her fist at the sky. She produces reams of bad drafts, in all likelihood. But of course we never see those, because she has the sense to hide them, to burn them, to erase the files, whatever. We only see the masterpiece at the end of this long, painful process. So I had to learn that I could do that too, that I could hide and erase and destroy all those lousy drafts and only show the world the gold that lies at the end of that long and painful rainbow. I had to learn that no one would hold those lousy attempts against me, because they wouldn’t even know about them; and since I did know about them, I had to learn to forgive myself for those.