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On the Craft


I’m shaking in class and i don’t know if it’s because the classroom is cold or if it’s because the class is about to critique the story i turned in last week. Turning it in was hard enough and now i have to sit here while they talk about the story. It’s a very personal story, i doubt it’ll see the public. Well it’s online somewhere so if you really want to read it, i guess you could find it if you looked hard enough.

We’ve already critiqued The Nightstalker’s story, it was a decent one. It gave me a chance to talk about Cormac Mccarthy, one of the best writers around. I think the professor was surprised at my knowledge of writing, but that’s ok, so was i. It’s funny that something like talking out loud about something can reveal things about yourself that you didn’t notice before. In all the college classes i’ve done, i never really participated in any discussions. I don’t like debating and i have it in my head that most people are dumb and the things they’re debating aren’t worth my time. But this writing class, this is different. I opened my big mouth and contributed and told The Nightstalker what i liked about his story and what he could fix and the class talked about his story for a long time. It was easy to open up and talk in front of the class because it was something i loved talking about. By the time we were finished discussing his story, i was pretty spent. And we still have to talk about Emo Kid’s story.

Emo Kid’s story was too short and i didn’t really get anything out of it so i wasn’t going to say much. I was pretty tired by that point, i’d barely passed a math test earlier and i’ve been up since 6am as usual. Remember, this is a 3 hour class. Anyway, i’m sitting there trying not to fall asleep and the professor says my name and says i’m being quiet, what did i think about the story?

Damnit. I did all that discussing and i revealed my knowledge and passion for writing earlier and now they’re gonna expect it with every discussion. I told them i thought his story was funny but it ended too quickly. He seemed to like that critique. Emo Kid’s a funny dude but just like any emo kid, he rubs me the wrong way. I want them to hurry up and finish talking about his story because there’s not a lot of class left and i don’t feel like waiting until next week to talk about mine. I tell myself the rest of the class really wants to talk about my story too.

I know i’ve been pretty arrogant about the other people in this class, but i feel differently about them now. It used to be a class of about 15 people; now it’s a class of 10. The impostors who weren’t serious about writing are gone (including the spastic black guy, thank God) and now it’s a class of writers who like talking about writing. However, we spent the beginning of class talking about Hemmingway and i can’t stand Hemmingway. He’s boring, like most classic writers. I can’t read classics, i’ve tried to read everything i’m “supposed” to read. The only ones i’ve read and enjoyed are Moby Dick and James Joyce’s stuff because they go crazy with the language and such.

Anyway, now it’s my story’s turn. I have to read the first page of my story aloud and i don’t do it well. It’s a sad story full of real memories so my voice almost cracks when i read it but i don’t think the class noticed. Then i keep my head down and let them talk about it. It’s a complex story, not conventionally written, but the class seemed to enjoy it. The professor uses words like ‘crafty’  and ‘risky’ and draws diagrams on the whiteboard of my story. HA. He didn’t do that for the other stories. Except for the inverse checkmark but he does that every class. He tells me the story could have easily become sappy melodrama but i successfully avoided it and exercised restraint in my storytelling. The class had tons of questions, it was a blast to hear people talk about my writing that way. A couple of times i went into daydream, forgetting that they were talking about my story. I tend to ignore people and i become disinterested pretty quickly sometimes. It’s not my fault, it’s theirs.

One girl said it was “bleak and beautiful”. It’s a sad story but i didn’t mean for it to come off as bleak. Maybe because i didn’t write the story like a romance, i threw it for a loop here and there. And the class noticed, they said it could have easily been “soft” but it wasn’t.

Then i spoke about my story and revealed where it came from and that the memories i put into the story were real, even though they didn’t think stuff like that actually happens. It was a cool experience, anyone who wants to write needs to take a class like this. By the time class was over, i was tired of talking about writing and tired of writing in general. I went home and tried to read a comic book and the narrative got on my nerves because i just spent 3 hours studying narrative.

And Diff…Good old Diff. I liked you better when i hated you. But you have redeemed yourself, even though you’re still a huge dork.

Diff was wearing a shirt with monkeys on it this time. He was respectful about my story and he understood it, it didn’t confuse him like it did a couple of people in the class. He stood up for my story and explained things to the class when they didn’t understand something. Then on the way back to my car, i hear footsteps behind me and i just know it’s someone from the class and they want to talk about my story. I think about speeding up so they can’t catch up because i don’t feel like making friends right now. It’s Diff and he tells me it was a really good story and i could tell it took a lot of guts for him to approach me like that. We talk for a second and he’s actually a cool enough guy, i don’t know why he acts like such a spaz in class. Anyway, Diff is on my good side now and Emo Kid and Pyle from Full Metal Jacket are on my bad side. Their notes on my story were kind of dumb and Pyle almost came across as hateful when he did his critique of it. Mongoloid. And Emo Kid is young, he probably doesn’t have much writing experience so he might be ok.

I’m tired of words now and i can’t believe i wrote so much about them. This blog is actually longer than the story i turned in.

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