"You're not cute." --Comment by an elementary school teacher.

"You have talent." --Comment on program by director of high school play and drama teacher.

"Anyone can be a teacher." --Remark by the bass player in my last band upon telling him that      I was quitting to study creative writing and might end up in education.

"You're a light in the darkness of the world." --Remark by the keyboard player in my last band.

"So you spend your whole life writing, and you end up with a story in a literary magazine. So      what?" --Remark by the boyfriend of a fellow student in the creative writing program at UC      Davis (1975).

"If this gets published, I'm going to quit." -- Comment on a story I wrote by a fellow student in 

     the creative writing program (1976).

"That's the best thing Clarke's ever written." -- Remark by a fellow creative writing student on      a poem I wrote tacked to my girlfriend's kitchen wall (1976).

"It's a moral tale." -- Comment by Karl Shapiro, explaining my MA thesis to other members

     of the committee (1976).

"This is not the worst class we've ever fielded." -- From remarks by Chair of English Dept. at

     Ohio State U to incoming PhD students (1981).

"Don't write." -- Advice from a fellow writer.

"Thanks for letting me read this. I enjoyed it." -- Editor's comment on a rejected novel 

     manuscript (1980s).


Old Acquaintance: So what have you been doing lately?

Me: I just had a novel published.

Old Acquaintance: What for?









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