Writers Never Change

I recently stumbled across a collection of complaints from medieval scribes, and since writing is my thing, I found these centuries-old comments amusing and moving. As you can see by my modern equivalents, nothing has changed in the last 500 years.

#1 New parchment, bad ink; I say nothing more is the same as, ‘God damn you Microsoft, your latest Windows update completely fucked up Word!’

#2 I am very cold was me before I moved from Canada to California.

#3 That’s a hard page and a weary work to read it is almost a word for word quote of comments recently left by editors tidying up one of my stories.

#4 Let the reader’s voice honor the writer’s pen is what every writer hopes for.

#5 This page has not been written very slowly is when you write a perfect page of prose that slides out of you like a turd from a healthy anus* instead of laboring over the same paragraph for hours and hours.

#6 The parchment is hairy is when your own relentless typos really start to wear you down.

#7 The ink is thin is the same as ‘my laptop/tablet battery is dying.’

#8 Thank God, it will soon be dark is when you have to throw in the towel and step away, cause you ain’t gonna get ‘er done tonight.

#9 Oh, my hand is me, because I never learned how to type properly.

#10 Now I’ve written the whole thing: For Christ’s sake give me a drink is what every writer thinks when getting a story in just under the deadline.

#11 Writing is excessive drudgery. It crooks your back, it dims your sight, it twists your stomach and your sides is truth, especially that last part, a clear reference to bad reviews from armchair critics.

#12 St. Patrick of Armagh, deliver me from writing is when you wonder why you put yourself through this shit and cannot find fulfillment in simply sitting on the couch and watching football while eating Doritos.

#13 While I wrote I froze, and what I could not write by the beams of the sun I finished by candlelight is when you are gonna finish this goddamned thing, and you are gonna finish it TODAY!

#14 As the harbor is welcome to the sailor, so is the last line to the scribe is completing a story and having it turn out as you expected instead of collapsing like a house of cards and making you throw shit across the room.

#15 This is sad! Oh little book! A day will come in truth when someone over your page will say, “The hand that wrote it is no more” is every writer’s epitaph.

 * Richard Adams, The Plague Dogs


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