Wednesday, April 23, 2008

class envy

my sister is taking a creative writing class at a community college near where she lives. i am sorely envious of this class. i want to take a creative writing class too! i want to get together on a weekly basis with fellow-writers and discuss our writing! i guess, if i'm honest, that's a bit of what we're doing here in the blogosophere, isn't it? however, it would be nice to do it in person. to be inspired by others. to get their feedback. the human, social, interpersonal interaction. that would be pleasant.

or would it?

the first week, my sister submitted some of her blog entries from the blog we write together. she submitted this one on vitamins and this one on making pizza together with her children, this one on the bread culture of the US vs. Denmark and a couple of others.

she got feedback from her classmates like:

--"too personal."

--"too out there."

--"too rambling,"

--"possible lawsuit on the horizon from the guy with the bad wig at the health food store."

what the #*¤&%???? seriously, people! have these people never read a single blog before? these are completely NORMAL entries. there is no question of libel or slander in them. it is the most absurd reaction i can imagine and further confirms my suspicion that the country of my birth has lost its last shred of common sense and apparently now its sense of humor has gone as well. it is seriously beyond comprehension to me.

it's clear that there are at least 7 people in iowa, the teacher included, who haven't really heard of blogs and haven't read them. even more interestingly, it makes me realize that those of us all pouring our hearts into cyberspace are actually forging a new genre. one that literary critics and even just simply readers will have to form a relationship to. it is a more personal way of writing. it is more "out there." yes, at times, we are rambling--but that's the nature of the beast, as it were. we're closer to a journal or diary style of writing. it's not journalism. and i think that people had better get used to it, because it's here to stay. because there is an authenticity blossoming here in the blogosphere that simply isn't to be found in other places.

if i were in the class with my sister, i'd bring this up and try to push my fellow readers/writers to expand their notion of creative writing, the keyword, after all, being creative. maybe i'm not so jealous of the class after all...


Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

My goodness, this is so sad. As you said it would be lovely to discuss writing with a group, in person, writers who exchange ideas. But only if they are open minded, have a sense of humour, and don't expect to see carbon copy of their own. After all, what's the point in meeting other writers if they only want to see you write exactly what they'd write? What's challenging in that? They don't even sound like genuine feedback anyhow, more like the most convenient way to squash the burgeoning ideas of somebody who's lived elsewhere, had experiences they never will, and who has opinions that upset their own foundations.

"forging a new genre"- yes, definitely. And those seven people and a teacher ought to adjust to it soon :)

Latharia said...

I'm often torn about the idea of taking a structured class for a process I believe to be very personal & organic. And that kind of feedback is useless ... then again, giving good feedback is an art as well!

Jaime said...

I've quite often felt the same conflict with photography classes... I'm always hungry for more information and learning, but I don't want to be told what to do. It takes the creative part out completely, and isn't that why we write and take pictures? To express our unique individuality!

julochka said...

maybe i must conclude that such courses are better in imagination, where they remain exactly what you would wish them to be. as dougas adams said in the hitchhiker's guide..."reality is frequently inaccurate."

thank you for your comments and helping me think this through.