“Who died, and made you king of anything?”
Here now, I formally introduce The Undaunted Pen: a commentary, and (hopefully decent) analysis on things related to my writing processes (thoughts, opinions, observations, etc). I’m starving for a different kind of discussion, one with actual discussion taking place, and since I can’t seem to find it in class I turn to the internet. You know, being constructive and all that good stuff.
I want to write. You know, with keyboard and computer screen? But over the last couple of years I’ve built up a lot of angst, anger, and frustration with regards to writing discussions and critique. Honestly, I expected better from my educational system than what I’ve received, and not just because of the amount of money it takes to keep me here. I expected to learn about writing from my writing classes, to learn about finding my voice, and to build my skills around a style that I would be allowed to call my own.
I believed that what I write, and my interests within writing, don’t matter so long as the effort was there. Well, the effort was there, but the interest as far as teachers are concerned, was not.
Not to say that all of my teachers were bad–I’ve had some very good ones–but the ones running the writing workshop courses have left me routinely with rage.
I want a creative writing teacher (outside of nonfiction) who embraces the world’s variety. I want the kind of teacher who looks at my work and says, “I see what you’re doing, and here’s what we can do to make that happen.”
Instead, I’m accustomed to, “I see what you’re doing, and here’s what you can do to make it better for me.”
I expected better. Something that would hold in the face of logic.
I’ve never seen a class
defeat destroy its purpose, lose completely misplace its cause, and beat that dead mixture with a stick more than creative writing aka “fiction workshop.” I understand that at some fundamental level fiction/literature, and fantasy/science fiction/mystery/horror/romance/etc are viewed on separate and unequal platforms that may never, ever intersect–and I was aware of this going into English to begin with–but I never expected the amount of resistance towards any deviation from the norm.
So far the message I’ve gotten is, “We embrace your creativity, as long as it fits our standards.”
Maybe my approach is wrong. Maybe those in a fiction workshop to begin with are writing to the kind of people they expect to still be in a fiction workshop course at the advanced level–people who share their interests alone. They’re reaching out to their audience because these kinds of courses provide them a sample, a test run. And that’s fine, my problem has never been with my classmates, just the people running the class.
Call it what you like, but I’m searching for another way.