I hate scrammbled eggs.When William Kennedy started talking about his first story about eggs I thought, This story has to be as bland as scrammbled eggs are. There is nothing exciting about scrammbled eggs. I was hoping for a turn around about how his story turned out to be incredible. But considering it was about eggs that was not likely.
His father’s reaction to his story was harsh, but he was being honest. Obviously it was what Kennedy needed to hear. I like that he realized it was a stepping stone in his career. Even though “Eggs” was a complete failure, it was a failure that needed to be made. Kennedy needed to fall on his butt before he could pick himself up to be something great.
Kennedy also mentioned Eudoa Welty. He says she once wrote that a writer should write not about what he knows but what he doesn’t know about what he knows. I found this interesting because I have always heard that you should write about what you know. Kennedy wrote about eggs because he knew eggs and he knew that everyone else knew about eggs. But he didn’t know that he should have included more of a mystery. He said, “The only mystery about ‘Eggs’ is why I didn’t know it was awful.” I can relate to that statement. Looking back on some of my earlier writing, I almost feel embarrassed. I wonder how I could have written something so terrible. Now I know that before one can write something worth reading, he has write something worth throwing away.
I used to think that great writers sat down and poured their thoughts onto paper with ease. After two short weeks of reading essays about writing, I have realized that isn’t the case. From “Shitty First Drafts” to William Kennedy’s essay about eggs, I have learned writing isn’t about finding the perfect words from the beginning. Writing is about failing. It is about writing something so bad that it can only better from there. Writing isn’t easy and it isn’t something any sane person chooses to do on purpose. It is a collection of words pounding on the door inside of you, waiting to be let out and rearranged.