Bewildering Stories biography
I was born in Michigan, raised in Florida, and have lived for the last twenty-five years in the Washington D.C. area.
Writing fiction full-time was less a choice than the simple inability to find any other work that didn’t seem like a waste of one’s always diminishing time. Although I’d written a few stories here and there in the 1970s, it wasn’t until the mid-eighties, when already in my thirties, that either a serious attempt or abandonment of the whole idea became imperative. I’ll give it ten years, I thought, and thirty-odd years later, I’m still giving it ten years.
Success? Certainly neither in renown nor riches but, since my original goal was to write a few good stories (harder to do than it sounds), I hope to end up saying I’ve more or less achieved that. Any writer must believe that he or she has written something worthwhile, even know it, in the teeth of rejections that continue to pile up over the years, and in fact never end.
Doubt and failure are the pernicious components of the air that all writers breathe. Some young writers have the dubious luck to achieve early success, then struggle as they age, never able to strike gold again. Others have a knack for the popular touch, and stick with it for decades, earning considerable wealth but not the literary respect they crave at least as much.
A few, like Robert Louis Stevenson or Rudyard Kipling, have the truly rare good fortune to be both great and popular writers. But most of us have a permanent address on Grub Street. That is, we struggle not only to write something good but to find an editor — whom we'll probably never meet face-to-face and whose literary tastes can only be guessed at — to agree with us, and confer that generally non-renumerative but longed-for blessing, an acceptance.
I have no more appetite for self-promotion now — when it has become an almost essential skill in a writer’s toolbox — than I did in the days when tooting one’s own horn was considered unseemly, a job for press agents, not the poor schlub who sweated out the product on which said agent would earn his percentage.
To possess the (usually) introverted personality that often comes with the capacity to isolate oneself daily for the hours necessary to produce a few hundred words, seems wholly incompatible with walking the streets wearing a sandwich board advertising one’s latest work in glaring red letters. Which is what step-into-my-parlor websites, Facebook pages and drummed-up reviews on Amazon feel like to me, as self-sabotaging as I know that is. Go back to the Jurassic where I belong? Would if I could.
Copyright © 2019 by Jeffrey Greene