Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A warning about stepping outside your comfort zone

I'd like to apologize for not posting lately. Even though that's not too strange, considering that my blogging is pretty erratic, I'd like to offer an explanation. This spring I'm taking a Creative Writing class. You 'regulars' on this site know that I've struggled with reclaiming my creative spirit, and so I thought a class that forces me to write things that AREN'T analytic essays almost every day would help me in my endeavor. For the class I am required to keep a separate blog that I must post on three ... yep, a whole three... times a week. Because of that arduous task, my blogs on here will be getting less frequent, even though I will try and keep up on both. Trust me, in eight weeks that mockery of a blog will be gone and it will be Angst Muffins all the way. And as for the "other" blog, even though most of them are boring assignments, if you just can't get enough of my amazingly gifted word smithing, you can check me out at mandatorymusings.blogspot.com.

I guess my Creative Writing class is why I wanted to write. I just suffered through my first workshop today, where my classmates read and criticized a creative non-fiction essay I wrote. For my essay I went out on a limb and tried something new: writing something very personal and important to me. I wrote about the relationship between me and my mother, how we are so alike and yet different, and about the influence she has had in making me the person I am today. I found almost poetic language pouring out of me. I used sentences with more metaphor and imagery in an attempt to convey the weight I gave this subject. When I finished, pride (the good kind, not the sinful one) filled my heart as I looked upon something I had written that I truly considered beautiful.

In workshop, people were kind, praising those three sentences I too thought were the most worthy examples of excellent writing, commenting on how much I must love my mother, and commending me for writing about something so intimate. I was full of gratitude, because I had exposed myself in this piece, done something completely new to me, and I was nervous about seeing how it would be received. Things were going well, and then tragedy struck.

As I was rifling through the essays, I came upon one with this written at the bottom.

I was crushed. Even though I had read comment after comment praising my work, of course this is the phrase that stuck with me. How could someone grade my emotions as boring? They went on to say that as a writer, I had some "fictional leeway" that I wasn't taking advantage of. Well, I'm sorry anonymous idiot, but the assignment was a creative NON-fiction essay. Next time, I'll throw in some car-crashes and maybe a subplot about a diamond thief who falls in love with his arch-enemy. And I'll use really simple words so you can understand. Nothing over four letters. So just words like this one. JERK.


Ashley said...

Dear Cat:
I freaking love you.
I want to read your writing!!!
Writing can be so much fun and freeing and orgasmic.
Yep, I said it. And I mean it.
Hmm. I think that kid isn't quite sure what fun is. Maybe he gets off from criticizing wonderful writing. I say, kick him in the face!!!!
P.S. I'm glad you have confidence. I'm glad you believe in yourself like I BELIEVE IN YOU!!!!!!

paigeistheword said...

Those readers who cannot connect with human emotion because it is not "fun" do not have the depth of character to match the depth of what they read. Just for that, I am going to step out of my comfort zone on my blog for you, Cat.