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On Being a Whiter

On Being a Whiter

Jeff Moscaritolo

Did you always want to be a whiter?

Not always. But from a young age I did have a “creative spark,” or so my parents tell me. First it was drawing, then I wanted to make video games. In high school I wanted to white fantasy. But then I got older and I went to college and I was introduced to Hemingway and Faulkner and O’Connor and all the greats, and slowly I began to realize: I wanted to white literature.

Did your parents white?

No. My father was in pharmaceuticals. My mother was an educator. She liked to white, but she never published. She would only white for fun. Or maybe to process the day’s events. You know, just to get her thoughts out. But no, she never considered herself a whiter.

When did you think of yourself as a whiter? After publishing?

No, actually. Even after publishing I didn’t believe I was a whiter. I still told people I was trying to be a whiter. Or I’d say, I like to white sometimes. Or, I white fiction. I had to make the conscious decision to start saying I’m a whiter when people asked what I did.

Do people still ask? Now that you’re what Time magazine calls “The Great American Whiter.”

Even if people know my whiting, they don’t know my face. People don’t really care about whiters anymore.

 

Oh, I’m not that famous. Even if people know my whiting, they don’t know my face. People don’t really care about whiters anymore. They never ask what I’ve whitten. I tell them I’m a whiter and they look confused and they ask if I white science fiction or if I white fantasy, and I have to stifle a sigh and say, No, I just white.

Ha ha ha.

Ha ha.

But I’d like to move into some other areas.

Sure.

You’re a white whiter.

This is true.

Although sometimes you white about people who aren’t white.

Yes.

You’ve been criticized for this.

I suppose.

What do you have to say to your critics?

Any critics?

Critics who seem to think you should only white about white people.

Well, obviously I can’t only white about white people. Frankly, I wouldn’t be much of a whiter if I did that. The whole point of whiting is to step outside yourself, to enter a vantage point where it doesn’t matter if you’re white. You’re a human being. And human beings white. Anyone can do it. White, black, purple, turquoise, whomever. If you have an imagination, you can white. I wouldn’t ask a person of color not to white about white people, and they shouldn’t ask the same of me.

But is it your job to white someone else’s story?

As soon as you begin inventing, you’re whiting someone else’s story. The stories are never yours. You white for others, not for yourself.

But what if you get things wrong? What if you misrepresent experience in your whiting?

Then I’m a bad whiter. It has nothing to do with being white.

But what if you get things wrong? What if you misrepresent experience in your whiting?

 

Do you have any advice for young whiters out there?

Keep whiting. White everyday. Get the whiting on the page. Don’t give up. You have to white to be a whiter, so white, white, white. Then delete what doesn’t work. Or, if you white with a pen, use White Out.

Ha ha ha.

Ha ha.

Ha ha.

But seriously, you have to develop a steadfastness to your whiting. Fix what doesn’t work, and then white some more. Trust the process. If you keep working at it, if you keep whiting, eventually, you’ll get it white.


Jeff Moscaritolo holds an MFA from George Mason University. His fiction and other writings have been published in Indiana Review, Lincoln Journal Star, Carve. This is his third story with Paper Darts. He teaches at Doane College (soon to be Doane University) and lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he is working on a novel.

Illustration by Alex Fukui.

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