Day 9: Bradley Harris

“Good writing is the hardest form of thinking. It involves the agony of turning profoundly difficult thoughts into lucid form, then forcing them into the tight-fitting uniform of language, making them visible and clear. If the writing is good, then the result seems effortless and inevitable. But when you want to say something life-changing or ineffable in a single sentence, you face both the limitations of the sentence itself and the extent of your own talent.” ~ Pat Conroy

My first meeting with Brad in 2012. We enjoyed brunch at the Blue Plate Cafe in Memphis.

My first meeting with Brad in 2012. We enjoyed brunch at the Blue Plate Cafe in Memphis.

(Note: I’ve worked off and on with award-winning author and editor Brad Harris during the last five years. Some people ooze brilliance. He’s one.)

Dear Brad:

Did you know that every single time I place two hands on a keyboard (like now) I think of you? You really got in my head, man.

I know it hasn’t been a lengthy time (see – my first instinct was ‘period of time’ which would’ve made you cringe) we’ve shared, but it’s been high quality. You’ve made an indelible impression. We don’t have much to show for it yet, but we will. I promise.

It was my good fortune we met at the Bartlett Christian Writers’ Conference in 2012. Your directness, intellect, and wit refreshed me so.

Honestly, all I thought I really needed was a cleanup guy. It was so completely arrogant believing there was so little left to learn. There was, in fact, a ton yet to learn. You showed me as much before we left the title page.

“Kill every be. Badly mixed metaphor. Artless sentence. Immaculately superfluous.” Your voice haunts me at every period. But I’m listening, Brad. I hear you.

If it’s not you, it’s Boris. Remember him – that imaginary character you created scoffing through my every graph? Yes, I see him there, twitching in his recliner, pouring a scotch in frustration with the prepositions and awkward syntax. Boris loves me one moment, loathes me the next. Thanks for introducing me to Boris, Brad. I hear him, too.

Every chapter draft, every social media post, I feel you watching. And why, oh, why, do I practice editing billboards at stoplights? Get out of my head, you tyrant! You think I’m kidding about this stuff? Nope.

Thank you so much for helping me with this craft, Brad, and for classy way you do it. Thank you for helping me improve at the thing I love so much. I hope one day you’ll be proud.

Your’s truly,

Steve Watkins

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