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Mistah Complaina

Mistah Complainas meet one-on-one with our youth writers to introduce them to the revision process and give them feedback on their writing.

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He’s famous (if such a man can be famous) for using very, very long words incorrectly. Or perhaps he’s made these words up entirely. It’s difficult to say which. He’s a know-it-all, too, so rather than admit he doesn’t know a word — or the word for something he’s trying to talk about — he’ll just make something up. If he forgets the word for “window”, for example, he might just say something like “Open the floobenhoober”, and of course he’ll expect you to know exactly what he means. If you don’t, he’ll complain about you.

Suffice to say, Mistah Complaina is true to his name. He complains about everything. If there are lots of writers in the room, there are too many. If there are but a few, there are not enough. It’s too hot. It’s too cold. The floor is too hard. Or too soft. But he also has good manners (For a master of complaint), so he’ll never say he hates anything (because that would be considered rude by the standards of anyone from the Republic of Meh). Instead, he’ll prefer something else. “I prefer there to be less of you” or “I prefer the temperature to be warmer” or “I prefer to have the floobenhoober open”. You get the idea.

Mistah Complaina was born and raised in The Republic of Meh (as in to shrug and say “meh”, hence dismissing all situations as mediocre at best). He still carries a vague accent which is something like French, or Indian, or Bangladeshi, or Hungarian, or Chinese, or just poorly spoken English. It’s hard to place. So is he.

The one thin Mistah Complaina never complains about is himself. He, himself, of course, is perfect, perfect, perfect. If there’s ever a problem, it’s certainly not his fault. In fact, it’s not even his problem. It’s yours.

Needless to say, pleasing Mistah Complaina is quite difficult.

One thing in your favor is that Mistah Complaina loves good writing. Loves it. He’s enthralled by it. It’s like a great bowl of ice cream. Or a candy bar. Or a ride on a rollercoaster. He just can’t get enough. But he has high standards. Very high standards. He demands originality. And creativity. He’ll often prefer something else, but if the idea is good and the execution is superb, he’ll prefer you keep it just the way it is.

It might also be noted that while Mistah Complaina thinks of himself as an expert in all things, he’s really not well versed in American culture, so TV and movie references are often beyond him. If something like that shows up in a piece of writing he’ll prefer the writer do something else. That’s just how Mistah Complaina is.

"Much like Superman emerging from a phone booth, your entire identity will change the moment you don the blue topcoat and trusted top hat. Like Superman, you will vow to use your new powers only for good, for the betterment of man. Unlike Superman, your new powers will not include X-Ray vision, super strength or the ability to fly. Instead, you will fight for the greater good using a silly accent, a youthful spirit and a ball-point pen. Playing the role of Mistah / Missy Complaina is one of the most rewarding positions a 916 Ink volunteer can accept. Mistah / Missy Complaina is a publisher (pronounced pooblisher) from the distant Republic of Meh

who travels to the Kingdom of Sacramento to help young authors prepare their stories for publication. They sit down with each student one on one to discuss their work, and how they can expand their fanciful words into new, unexpected areas. 

The role is so rewarding not only because you get to provide feedback to students who are weeks away from becoming published authors, but also because you get to do it in a fanciful and ridiculous fashion the students are sure to appreciate. You can help a child write, bring a smile to their face and give them confidence...all without a fatal weakness to Kryptonite. Take that, Superman! "

Henry Stroud - Mistah Complaina