My First Creative Writing Teacher Failed to Mention that I Sucked
August 16, 2012 § 3 Comments
She was a graduate student when I took her class, kinda like I’m a graduate student now, but she was in the creative writing program instead of in the English/rhetoric program (FYI: that’s what I’m in now). I took her class my second semester of my sophomore year. I remember walking into class on my first workshop day, wanting to puke. I had never had anyone read anything I’d written before and to have a class of 15 or so people read my stuff and criticize it IN FRONT OF ME was perhaps one of the first most humiliating things I’ve done.
I always read her blog because so far in all my searching, I’ve never found a lovelier one. And every time I read her stuff I remember her telling me about the first story I had ever written, how I needed to get rid of all my adverbs. I didn’t understand what she meant until years later, and when I realized, I realized, “HOW WAS SHE SO NICE? SO ENCOURAGING?” Especially when I wrote a dramatic and now super-uper embarrassing, full-of-adverbs personal essay about Ryan leaving. ON HIS MISSION. Yes, I was one of those spewing everything I felt onto paper kind of people. I still am, but I save it for the journal (or sometimes the blog).
And yet she still gave me hope, always. She’d say things like, “Great imagery here,” but in a nicer, more sincere and eloquent way because she is top-notch with her words. She taught me how to “braid” ideas together in an essay. One time she even asked for my power point slides about “atmosphere” because she liked them. She has this way of seeing that I crave as a writer and a teacher.
I remember all these details from her class because I really woke up in that class. I felt so excited, like I was learning all these significant secrets. The good kinds, of course, like “There is a pot of gold!” and “You have a twin sister who is a princess, which means you are too, which means you will live a luxurious life forever!!!!!”
One time she told us to take a new route home. Another time she told us to write about four found objects. Another time she told us to try something we’ve never done before and then write about it. (I wrote about singing out loud in public with my headphones on. I sang all day, in between classes.) I learned that writing was more than writing. Writing was a certain kind of being.
Anyway. I’m saying this because I’ve been so depressed about starting school again. My friend emailed me and asked me what classes I was taking. He said I should take a fiction class with the other creative writing kids. The thought of taking a writing class made me feel so hopeful again–about school, life. I’m not in the creative writing program, but I miss it. I miss it. So. (I might be taking a creative writing class in the fall. To get me through my other classes.)
I feel like I need to thank her for introducing me to all of this–a happier way of being.