Thursday, May 1, 2008

Something Different

Something I am not quite accustomed to has been happening lately. I've been taking a creative writing class, something I thought I would enjoy, and yet so far I have been confused the past few classes. Throughout my career as a student with writing assignments, since fifth grade in fact, teachers and peers alike have praised my work as "very accomplished". Lately I have been almost annoyed and hurt, yet, to my benefit, humbled somewhat.

Today we did what is called a poem imitation. We had to imitate this poem in every way we could besides using all of the actual words:

This Is Just To Say
I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast.

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold.

-- William Carlos Williams

This was my version...

I have questioned
the thoughts
that were in
your black eyes

and which
you had probably
meant to share

Forgive me
you are intriguing
so sweet
yet so cold

My teacher said to me, "It's ok... it's kind of too abstract... and not enough sensory images. You need to add more..."

Well, I'm sorry I like to write about emotion rather than "the tree is green."

Here is another example that I'm slightly confused about because I've never had this reaction after I read something in class:

*shrug of the shoulders* "Yeah.... ok... pretty good.... Any other volunteers?"

Now it's not that the teacher is unresponsive. Shortly after my apparently pathetic offering, someone else will raise their hand. In my opinion, their work is not much greater than mine, and yet the teacher laughs and praises them with much enjoyment.

I honestly don't get it -- partly because, in my last class, my college level teacher thought I was 100% material. She found my writing extremely creative and poetic, and told me so many times. In contrast, I feel as though I am completely uninteresting to this teacher. I feel as though he thinks I am bottom-rung fish-food as far as the world of writing goes. I also don't understand because, in his syllabus, my teacher wrote, "There is no right or wrong way to be a writer. If it is structured well, and it is creative, you will receive credit." I have never, before these past two weeks, had anyone who found me completely uncreative and boring.

I suppose everyone has a nemesis that can help you be stronger someday.

Something positive -- I have been tutoring for the American Heritage class. So far this week, I have tutored around 14 people.. and it is the most rewarding job I have ever had! I love being able to help students understand the material -- and it isn't boring to me at all. Some may think that hearing 14 - 20 hours a week of the same history may seem monotonous and repetitious, but I have found it interesting and stimulating. I also love being able to see the light come on in students' eyes as they begin to understand more and more what they need to and want to know. It has convinced me that I definitely want to teach.

However, if I can't pass my creative writing class with a more than satisfactory grade....


One Who Loves Good Writing said...

“Literary criticism can be no more than a reasoned account of the feeling produced upon the critic by the book he is criticizing.

"Criticism can never be a science: it is, in the first place, much too personal, and in the second, it is concerned with values that science ignores.

"The touchstone is emotion, not reason. We judge a work of art by its effect on our sincere and vital emotion, and nothing else.

"All the critical twiddle-twaddle about style and form, all this pseudoscientific classifying and analyzing of books in an imitation-botanical fashion, is mere impertinence and mostly dull jargon.”

D.H. Lawrence (British Poet, Novelist and Essayist, 1885-1930)

(It's a class, not a publishing company. Take your criticism well in the former, and you may someday find yourself at the door of the latter!)

Elizabeth said...

Except that I really don't care if I ever write poetry again:)

(P.S. Please, no more anonymous comments!)

Jess(ica) said...

Whether poetry, diary, or letter to a loved one, it seems the quotes left by "one who loves good writing" apply to many types of writing besides poetry =)

Elizabeth said...

true. I think I was just annoyed and distracted because I don't like anonymous comments:)

Jess(ica) said...

LOL, I am not a fan of anonymous comments either!! =)