Oh, G-d. It’s begun again. College writing workshops always turn me into such a bitch, but can I help it if I think people who don’t know the first thing about writing shouldn’t be allowed to take them?
I have a feeling that even though this is a more advanced class, one specifically for majors and minors and not for people to use as an arts class, it’s not going to be as good as my class last semester, which wasn’t all that great. Mostly I think my teacher, who does seem pretty cool, won’t appreciate my contributions to workshop. She seems too concerned with not hurting people’s feelings, and she’s a bit flaky with order and structure. I subscribe to the idea that anyone who is going to be a writer needs to a) have some natural talent, b) be willing to realize that natural talent isn’t everything, c) read a lot and internalize at least the basics, like how to spell things and use correct grammar, and d) have a fucking thick skin.
I most definitely didn’t have one when I started writing. Who would at seven? But once I started to get serious, I started going to writing classes, and any discomfort or offense I took, I kept to myself. And I used it. I was really hurt by a lot of the things said about my writing, but looking back, it either wasn’t that mean, or it was completely on target. And I knew I wanted to be a writer, so I just kept working.
My problem with college writing classes is that I waste money ($17 in copies last week and a bunch of people just missed class and asked me for an emailed copy later) on copies of stories that are generally not read until the day of workshop, not the night before, as assigned. No comments are written on them, because no one understands the concept of a useful critique. What is a workshop but a waste of time to the writer and the critiquer if the critiquer has only read the story once and only has about three general comments about the entire thing? No one even looks confused when they hand the blank story back to the writer. Thanks, guys.
I’m applying for NYU’s Writers in Paris program this summer. If I get in, I’ll be able to finish my workshop portion of my minor there and not have to take any more of U of A’s worthless undergrad creative writing classes. Everywhere I go, I still look to recreate my experience at NBF, which will probably never happen, but since this program requires a sample as the application, maybe the quality will be upped just a little.
And if not, who cares? It’s Paris!