Guest Post: Who Will Read My Writing?

Please welcome my friend and fellow writer Anthony J. Mohr to the blog today.  This post made me laugh out loud–probably because I'm all too familiar with the sentiment behind it.  And I've been an admirer of Anthony's essays about growing up in Hollywood back in the day when it was still truly glamorous for quite some time now.  (He does write about other things, too, and just as gracefully.)  Enjoy!

Sometimes (okay–all the time) when I’m writing, I wonder who will read my work. Not just whether the audience will consist of millennials or astronauts, but whether an old friend or a long lost crush will happen to see it thanks to a Google search or, better yet, because someone will tell her, “Hey, you used to know that guy Mohr? You’ve got to read what he just published in the Left Toe Review.”

That hasn’t occurred yet. Everything I’ve published seems to have vanished, passing by the earth’s seven billion souls without touching anyone. I understand. After all, how many people subscribe to the Left Toe Review? But I did make it, once, into the Christian Science Monitor and, twice, into Chicken Soup for the Soul. And still nothing from the long losts.

Twenty-five years ago, I walked by a news truck that was parked along a West Los Angeles street. When I stopped to see what they were doing, the reporter asked for my view on some issue of the day. Of course I agreed to say something on camera. I was a lawyer, then, and thought the exposure would land me a client. I answered the question; they broadcast five seconds of my brilliance; and that night, my phone began ringing. At least ten friends saw me. So did a potential client, who never paid his bill.

For years my friend Amber has been struggling to escape from her reporting job at one of those tabloids, the type that runs headlines like “Cheerleader Becomes Dear Leader’s Sex Slave.” Amber longed to write something meaningful, an essay that would spark debates across the chattering class. It took four years of research and at least forty drafts, but one of the nation’s most cerebral journals accepted her piece about – if I remember right — the transformation of Asian society and its impact on post cold war diplomacy. The day it hit the newsstands, Amber stayed home by her phone, waiting to hear from the world.

Her phone rang once.

It was the wimpy nerd who had bothered her through high school, a kid who’d been too dense to take a hint. She hadn’t been able to shake free of him until graduation. Now, twenty years later, thanks to Amber’s assiduous efforts, he was back, still trying to cadge a date.

So I ask once more: why do I bother to write? Other than attaboys from close friends to whom I send links to my stuff, I’ve resolved to hear from precisely nobody. I use my imagination – the same imagination I call on to write — in order to envision someone reading my story. I imagine that person showing it to her spouse, who at the end blinks back a tear or falls asleep thinking about my stunning last line instead of his kid’s dental bill. I refuse to imagine that person tossing my pages on the floor before he turns out the light.

Photo Judge MohrAnthony J. Mohr’s work has appeared in or is upcoming in, among other places, California Prose Directory, The Christian Science Monitor, DIAGRAM, EclecticaFront Porch JournalHippocampusThe MacGuffinWar, Literature & the Arts, andZYZZYVA. Three of his pieces have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. By day he is a judge on the Superior Court in Los Angeles. Once upon a time, he was a member of The L.A. Connection, an improv theater group.

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7 Comments on "Guest Post: Who Will Read My Writing?"

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J.D.
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J.D.
04/09/2015 09:27

Very interesting, quirky. I have LA stories as well.

J.D.
Guest
J.D.
04/09/2015 15:31

Anthony has some big time writing creds. Pushcart nomination . . . wow.

Charlotte Dixon
Guest
04/09/2015 16:26

I love Anthony's writing.  And I love your writing, too, J.D.

Dyoung
Guest
Dyoung
04/10/2015 06:11

Good perspective. In many ways, but mostly for those of us who cringe at the thought of others landing their eyes on our open stories…exposed for all to see…. There really may not be all that many sets of eyes landing on those precious words, once hidden, now out there. The ability to say “everyone’s reading it” really is a rare occurrence.

Love the references and quirkyness of the post. Nice to have a little chuckle alongside humility.

Pete Costanzo
Guest
Pete Costanzo
08/15/2015 02:22

I hope I’m not being inappropriate and, if I am, please forgive, but, I have to ask this question… Would Judge Mohr be the Son of the great Actor Gerald Mohr? I’m a great admirer of the many productions he was in and the good Judge DOES resmble him greatly! Pete Costanzo in Las Vegas, nevada

Pete Costanzo
Guest
Pete Costanzo
08/15/2015 02:36

OK, I just answered my own question. Judge Mohr wrote a remembrance of his Father in the above mentioned publication ZYZZYVA.

Charlotte Dixon
Guest
08/15/2015 06:27

You are not being inappropriate in the least and you are indeed correct–Tony is the son of Gerald Mohr, the actor.  Some of my favorite pieces that he's written are about growing up in Hollywood during that wonderful time.  I'm glad you stopped by and commented!

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