The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Back to School– Day 3

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We got off to a running start here at Skidmore–I had two pieces of fiction to read and review as soon as I showed up on Sunday afternoon.  So we’re in full swing already.  This is really the only way to do it; start hard and keep charging.  It’s important to get that established early, too, because despite all the time we have, we don’t really have too much time.

I was hoping that I would land just about in the middle of the ability level for my workshop (I auditioned for and was placed in Advanced Fiction).  I wanted to show that I have some skills, but also that I still have plenty to learn.  Judging by the work I’ve read from my classmates thus far, I missed my mark.  I’m a bit below the middle of the ability level.  But that’s all cool.  Having to stretch myself more than expected may well mean that I’ll grow further, faster than expected.  That will make me a happy writer.  But I’ve got some classmates who have produced some deep, solid, multi-layered pieces that show excellent command of fiction skills–and their pieces were merely rough drafts!  I recall thinking the same thing early in my experience at Northwestern, and that ended up lighting a serious fire under my buns, deeping my desire to become a better writer as quickly as I could.  Nonetheless, the piece I have submitted for this round of workshopping is the deepest, solidest, most multi-layered piece of fiction I have written, and shows just about every fiction skill I have command of.  I know without doubt that I have taken the piece as far as I can take it.  I’ll be leaning on my classmates to help me find ways to take it further.  I’m anxious for all this to unfold, but I’m going to have to find a way to deal with all that excitedness since my turn to workshop won’t come around until late next week.

I commented previously that I think the vibes will be groovin’ from the various genres represented here.  I think we all can only benefit from being in the company of minds who don’t write what we personally write.  I’m getting the feeling, though, that I may be in the minority of those who hold a similar belief.  This is all becoming apparent to me by the reactions to the readings we have attended.  Some of my fiction cronies complained that last night’s poetry reading was dull, or that they couldn’t follow the poems, or that they quickly lost interest.  On the flip side, at least one poet told me that she really didn’t like the fiction reader or her material.  I found both to be worth the time, though it took me about half the reading to warm up to the fiction writer.

This rivalry between genres is nothing new.  The poets feel misunderstood, the fiction and creative nonfiction writers are scared to death of writing poems, the fiction writers resent the creative nonfiction writers because they have little regard for plot and point of view, the nonfiction writers are angry that the fiction writers get more attention (hell, the nonfiction writers are angry at anybody who would dare ask “If it’s nonfiction, how can it be creative?”).  I went through it first-hand at Northwestern, and of course fell on the side of the CNFers.  But I write in all three genres, so I don’t really have a “side” now.  I understand enough about poetry and fiction to feel comfortable critiquing and creating with poets and fictioneers, but my heart remains most true to CNF, wherein I received 75% of my training.  Ultimately, it doesn’t matter.  Effective writing makes use of all three genres.

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Written by seeker70

July 6, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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