Thursday, February 01, 2007

Valley of the HeteroWhite People

My first writing class went swimmingly. I was articulate, funny, and engaging, especially if you consider my clever use of the word "thing" in almost every sentence and how I engagingly punctuated every other word with "um" or "er." I lack the critical vocabulary necessary for a workshop, methinks. Pacing? Interior dialogue? It had a good beat and I could dance to it?

14 people attended the first session - 10 women, 4 men, all white, all very, very straight (except lil ol' flaming gay me). I wonder if my first story should include explicit gay sex? Most of the people in the class are experienced writers. About half the class is made up of lawyers. Yawn! "I want to be the next John Grissom," they scream, as they launched into boring anecdotes during break about class action suits and tort laws. Mmm. Torts. Aren't those yummy little layered cakes?

3 people brought in completed short stories for us to read and comment on for next session. 1 man read his very short story during the class. We have to comment on the story? I'm second? How did that happen? How does one say, "Um. I hated it" nicely?

I went for "The strength of the story lies in its rhythm and use of language. Generally, I felt like it needed to be developed, like it was a very good beginning to the first chapter of a book." I hope that sounded like I knew what I was talking about.

I don't. I figure, though, it's going to be a lot like a business meeting. Once I learn the popular buzz words, I throw one or two around ... tossing them among my classmates like a beachball. Rhythm. Cyclical. Layers. Pacing. Deeper meaning. Conflict. External. Descriptive.

After class, I walked to Bethesda metro station, debating whether to take the train or the bus. My question was answered by a J2 bus pulling into the parking lot as soon as I arrived. I rode to Silver Spring standing among the festering, seething masses, yearning to breathe free. On the bright side, the bus ride only took about 20 minutes. The train takes about 40. Getting home at 10:30ish versus getting home at 11 might be worth the discomfort.

Once I got home, I couldn't turn off my brain, so I typed up about a page of a story that's been floating around in my head. Got to bed around midnight. I am very tired.



  1. Next class tell them you want to be the next Augustyn Burroughs, and you're working on your first novel: Running with Knitting Needles ... a rhythmic, cyclical, layered, paced, deep meaning, conflicted, external, descriptive metaphorically woven yarn.


  2. LOL, yes, what Cooper said. Good luck with the class! (Ah, Bethesda, where my office used to be. *memories lighting the corners of my mind*)

  3. I know you're not hugely confrontational, but why not just tell the truth? "Honestly, I didn't like it. It seemed well-written enough, but the topic failed to engage me."

    I mean, grown people who are taking a writing class want real feedback; this isn't a mandatory high school class. Why lie?

    No need to be mean, of course, but instead of the jargon maybe just be straightforward. (Never straight! Always forward!)

    Just my .02. I still think you're brave and fierce for taking a class that made you so nervous you tried to pull your eyebrows out.


    remember, you say horrible hurtful insensitive things to your friends so why should you spare strangers? go for the jugular. have fun with it. take no prisoners. go in for the kill. leave no one standing. fill your pages with cliches! that will put an end to them all!

    p.s. you can thank me later.

  5. i'm being driven nuts by the blogger comments. it keeps telling me i'm not logged in when i am.

    it's "torte" that is the yummy cake thing (i especially like the custard layered chocolate torte that is covered with ganoche).

    i agree with mush. be honest with your critique. they're lawyers. they're used to being abused.

  6. Be honest. Don't worry about vocab. Look at clockwork orange - some people hated that because they didn't (couldn't) understand the words. Idiots. Does context mean nothing to some people?

  7. i agree with goblinbox.. to be frank does not mean aggressive/ mean. can't wait to read the first short story on the blog?

  8. How does one say, "Um. I hated it" nicely?

    Hahaha. That was priceless. But I came up with the same question from time to time so I can totally relate to it.

    Being Japanese, I usually stay quiet...