This clears the bar of acceptable, which I appreciate because now I don’t have to feel guilty about watching Billions while I grade papers.

“Tell us more about this.”
You had the seed of a decent idea here, but you dropped it and now expect me to pick it up, as if I don’t have enough to juggle between transferring my credit card balances and treating my cat’s UTI.

“Did you have this peer-reviewed?”
I can’t fix everything before my overnight job restocking Target.

“Next time, think about…”
I was offered a scholarship to a state school, but I thought going to Dartmouth would launch my career as a very specific short story writer, but you know what, that’s on me.

“Well done!”
I’m pleasantly surprised, but I’ll still judge you for the comfortable way you walk into class as if someone at home loves you.

“Beautiful descriptions.”
Flowery language does not compensate for the lack of a clear thesis, no matter how many times you raise your hand to tell the class Walt Whitman is your spirit animal.

“Needs a smoother transition.”
I’ll just assume you sat on your keyboard here.

“Get to this point sooner.”
It doesn’t matter if Congress cuts my pathetic excuse for health insurance because reading the first two pages of your essay is a fine substitute for Ambien.

“Consider your audience.”
I couldn’t figure out the end of Birdman, so I definitely don’t have the patience to follow your nonsense.

“Stephen King makes a wonderful point in On Writing that might help you here.”
Lest you think I’m a fraud who will never know a fraction of the success of Dale, my old MFA classmate, I’m going to put it on the record that I read about writing.

“Be more specific.”
You can’t say your favorite book is Leaves of Grass and have this level of disregard for language.

“What motivates this character?”
Now I feel like you’re just venting some stuff about your dad.

“There’s a lot going on here!”
I got in trouble with the school the last time I wrote, “This is so, so, so bad.”

This is where my tolerance for your tangents ends, and I allow myself to daydream about one day sleeping in something larger than a twin bed.

I’ll have to ask my sister-in-law if it’s too late for me to sell Pampered Chef.

Did I turn off the oven? Sylvia Plathing myself wouldn’t be the worst way to go. That would give Dale something to write about.

“Substantiate this claim.”
I drive without car insurance because I can’t afford it, and it’s the most alive I’ve felt in years.

“What’s the main point you’re trying to establish?”
Searching for the core argument in your essay feels like tripping into a bouquet of knives, heart-first.

“This is coming along nicely.”
You did incorporate my feedback from last week so I can’t fault you for much, but you’ll never reach Dale-level fame. An excerpt from his forthcoming semi-autobiographical novel about a dolphin-therapist-turned-detective is in Harper’s this week.

“Please re-do for next week.”
I’m addicted to misery.