Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Perception versus Reality

Had my first writing class today. It was actually really interesting. There were a mixture of people. Despite differences in age, we all shared a common desire. That is, to write. That in itself took some of the pressure off. After a discussion on what the difference was between essay writing, composition, and creative writing, we had to write five things about creative writing and what it means.

Wait. What? Seriously?

Ok. Back up. You want ME to write five things about writing and what I think it means. Um. Yeah. Ok.

So, after a brief moment of panic, I desperately tried come up with something deep and insightful. So, let's see. When we were discussing the differences between the three types of writing, I mentioned that creative writing was the soul as opposed to essays, which were dissection of a body, and compositions were constructing the body. He liked that, so let's try it.

1) Writing expresses the soul

Ok, a little cheesy, but that didn't hurt too bad. On to the next one. Let's see, someone mentioned that creative writing creates an experience. Ok, I can work with that.

2) Writing creates a world for others to experience.

That was a little painful, but I can't think of anything else...um, let's see...oh here's another one.  I think...

3) Allows us to be someone else

Ok, that's a serious "DUH!" That's the whole point! Aarrgh! This is horrible, but I have to come up with two more! It's like pulling teeth! Ok, just two more.  I can do it.

4) Express our deepest feelings

Not as stupid as number three.  But seriously, this sucks. I feel like I'm regurgitating something I learned in English 101...ok, one more and then I can finish.

5) Explore ourselves/the world

Seriously? What the hell is that crap!? I mean, yeah, you can do that, but I sound like a freaking parrot! People are going to hear this and think, "What the hell was he smoking at the last break?" Come on. I can do better than that. Think. Think! It's all crap. Wait a minute. That just might work.

6) It's all crap, but everyone eats it anyway.

Hey. That's different. What does it mean? Hmmm. I might be on to something here

7) You have to say what has to be said.

There you go. That's what I want to say. That felt good.

Number 6 and 7 happened after I read "Thirty-two Statements About Writing Poetry" by Marvin Bell and "Thirty-two Statements about Writing" by Catherynne M. Valente. If you ever get the chance, look them up. They are very interesting. On the one side, you have Bell who is very intellectual in his approach. He sentences are economical and sparse. He says a lot with just a few well-chosen words. On the flip side, you have Valente who uses the phrase, "...joyless husks of once-living flesh, and should be given no more attention than your average lurching zombie".

After reading them and the resulting class discussion, I had an "Aha!" moment (for the lack of a better cliche). What I figured out was that I really want to be like Bell and be the intellectual who can say a lot in just a few words. The reality is that I'm more like Valente. I might still have some deep insights, but I'm going to take my time and enjoy the scenery while I'm at it.

I'm not sure what this means for my writing. I still have genre's that I'm interested in writing and exploring. What I think it means is that I have a lot of perceived notions about how I am supposed to write and that what I am actually supposed to write are two different animals.  Perception versus Reality gets ya every time.

Till next time!


  1. Interesting insight for a non over-achiever ;-)

    1. I just realized that I forgot to respond. :0