Random Opinions About Poets, Short Story Writers and Novelists

 

Goats eat up short stories.
Goats eat up short stories.

A farmer once told me that sheep farmers were elitist pastoralists interested in landscape and art, cow farmers were salt of the earth types and goat farmers were fun-loving and crazy. But what about writers? Today I want to generalize.

Poets are the ones who say they do it for the art and don’t care about publication. They LOVE words and like sharing them at small critique circles. They dress funny.

Short story writers take themselves very seriously. They’re impulsive. They’re blunt and they cut to the chase. They wear sneakers.

Novelists do things no one knows about for a very long time. They have other lives, lots of secrets and have the feeling that they’re in the world but not of it. They forget to shower and dress up only if they get discovered and they WANT to get discovered.

Okay so I just made this stuff up. My best friend in high school was a poet and dragged  a shoe around with him. He died young and had no time to stop being pretentious. So what do you imagine are the differences between poets, short story writers and novelists?

15 thoughts on “Random Opinions About Poets, Short Story Writers and Novelists

  1. I think you nailed it. I have been all three. Only, when I was a poet, many years ago, we didn’t have internet and I hid them all away for my eyes only. I was certainly a manic tennis shoe wearing short story writer, very impulsive. The novelist thing; if I didn’t HAVE to get dressed, I wouldn’t. I only shower when I know I’m going out (not to the grocery store, but “out”.) I would LOVE to be discover and I do keep secrets despite being very candid online.

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    • When you were a poet did you wear peasant skirts? LOL. Poetry is so alien to me–I like a lot of it but can’t imagine how I’d ever do it well.

      I just don’t get to explore enough in short stories–though I adore Hemingway’s Nick Adams stories. I read them over and over again in high school.

      I never thought I’d have the staying power of a novelist, but once you fall in love there’s no turning back!

      I write this in my favorite pajamas that I also milked the goats in. Sad.

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      • Too funny. I’m not milking goats anymore but the dogs stay in my lap. I probably smell disgusting right now. My hubby has been OOT, so I have been particularly lazy.

        I like writing short stories. My writer’s group does a lot with prompts. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I have been to deeply occupied with my current WIP to give attention to too much else.

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      • The only prompts they ever used at one writing group I went to were different sized rocks we were supposed to make talk. I just wrote weird stuff that no one understood–but it was about rocks–of course it was going to be weird!

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  2. I haven’t been a novelist – yet, lol – but as a poet and short story writer I can say that’s pretty accurate, except you forgot the soul-rending terror of exposing your work to other people. You can’t help it. You want the whole world to read your words and fall in love, but at the same time you want to keep them safe in your notebook because…well, cause they might just not be any good!

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    • The worst is when you think it may be a good idea to join a writers’ group specializing in flash fiction. there’s always the one guy who captures the very essence of war as hell and then it’s your turn to read about a ridiculous argument you had with your daughter about skinny jeans vs boot cut and when you’re done people are embarrassed for you. LOL.

      BTW, I love your writing style, Steph–and the name of your blog!

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      • Oh God, I haven’t been that brave yet! Lol. I may never be. A friend of mine is a published author, used to be a college English professor, and then a relative teaches at Yale…I always feel like they might be grading my work! And thanks so much!

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      • I know some people love writers groups but my experiences with them have always been pretty negative. I think I’m too sensitive and also it’s difficult to bring a thousand page manuscript to the library community room and try to explain what you’re doing and have people comment on a tiny excerpt about murdering puppies. I think I set myself up for failure on that one–no one looked at me the same after that 🙂

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    • I imagine we all dress in smurf costumes–isn’t that what trolls wear? LOL. I never knew about trolls until I had a blog and I’m still not sure exactly what they are–but I think they’re bad. 😉

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    • Do explain. 🙂 I just made the descriptions up for fun. I bet you don’t wear sneakers (I never do–I see others in sneakers and think they look fine but terrible on me–they make me feel down about myself)..

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      • Ha, of course it is made-up fun. Everyone else seemed to recognize themselves in your descriptions, though, so they must be pretty astute! 🙂 I’m usually the odd duck, so no surprises that I don’t fit the descriptions! No, I don’t wear sneakers (unless I am working out). I’m a dressy person (although not when I am working). I take words seriously, but not people (including myself). I’m only blunt if I don’t like someone or something. I have OCD, so I am not impulsive. I’m eccentric and intellectual, and care way too much about ideas and thoughts. For starters!

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